& cplSiteName &

Light Reading's 2017 Survey of Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas
9/18/2017
50%
50%

For the technology industry, 2017 may very well be remembered for being an inflection point as it relates to women in the workforce. The year has already generated an unprecedented level of discussion, action and awareness around issues relating to discrimination, sexism and company cultures -- the effects of which are still playing out.

Women in the next-generation communications industry, a subset of the larger tech world focused on network operators and the companies that serve them, are feeling the effects of "Silicon Valley syndrome" as well:

  • 80% of women in comms have felt treated differently because of their gender
  • 80% have seen incidents of unconscious bias play out in their company
  • 58% think the industry has gotten better for women over the past 20 years
  • 60% think that their company does not have a problem with diversity and inclusion
  • though 74% would say the industry at large does

These results, from Light Reading's 2017 global survey of women in comms, illustrate the dichotomy that women in comms often face. The comms industry is an exciting space to be in, generally with interesting work, competitive pay and ample opportunity for advancement, but there are still a lot of challenges associated with being a female in what remains a male-dominated space.

This is the first time Light Reading has undertaken a survey like this, and we officially launched it at the end of April this year -- timing that was purposeful. It was a few months after former Uber engineer Susan Fowler published a memo on the interworkings of Uber that set the Internet on fire with discussion of the toxicity at the startup and other companies like it. It was also well after Elephant in the Valley, a survey of 200 senior women working in Silicon Valley, was published, painting a rather bleak picture for women in tech. (See Uber's HR Nightmare: Company Investigates Sexual Harassment Claims and Tales From the Valley: Bias, Sexism & Worse.)

We wanted to know if our niche of the world, the next-generation communications industry, was as bad as the tech world at large. Is it hard for women to advance in comms? Are toxic cultures, discrimination and sexual harassment the MO here as well?

These are some of the questions we set out to answer. More than anything, we also wanted to hear your personal stories of surviving, even thriving, in comms. And, you did not disappoint! We had a modest 160 women take our survey, but they came from all parts of the world, all levels of experience and many different companies and job functions. The results were illuminating, at times discouraging, but also hopeful about the future for our industry.

We admit that hindsight is 20/20, and there are questions we could've asked better to give you more room to tailor your response, but the results of our survey -- which we plan to replicate on an annual basis -- speaks volumes to where we've been, where we're going and how we will get there. By understanding the lay of the land, we can start to improve it. If nothing else, by quantifying the problems, the industry can no longer ignore them.

Against this backdrop, we've broken the survey into our respondents' demographics, perceptions, experiences and opinions. Make sure you read to the end where our survey takers also shared their anecdotal experiences and personal stories with us. Click on the table of contents below to read on.

[Ed. Note: Numbers were rounded off to the nearest whole number for clarity, so some totals will not equal exactly 100%.]

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Lesac
50%
50%
Lesac,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/2/2018 | 7:39:43 AM
Comment
Very interesting
Women in Comms Audio
Archived Audio
Twitter Feed
Women's Watercooler
Discussion Boards
December 22, 2017 3:58:57 PM
UN Women HeForShe
spc_Dunphy
October 24, 2017 7:10:11 AM
Better Online Communication Makes Organization Sense
shirawinget
April 27, 2017 1:54:38 PM
Do you know women in tech?
Sarah Thomas
March 5, 2017 12:08:01 PM
Swedish Mansplaining
ErynLeavens
March 3, 2017 3:24:50 PM
Women's History Month
Sarah Thomas
February 24, 2017 12:15:59 PM
The career-break penalty
Sarah Thomas
February 17, 2017 10:25:33 AM
Risk taking differences
Sarah Thomas
February 17, 2017 9:51:21 AM
Upcoming WiC Events!
Sarah Thomas
Contribute Here
Women in Comms Poll
WOMEN IN COMMS: SHARE YOUR STORY WITH US
WiC wants to hear your stories, experiences and impressions of the comms industry.

Take our short survey here!
Infographics
AppDynamics highlights the tech segments where women are the most prevalent and showcases a few making a big difference in their field.
Women in Comms Video
LRTV Interviews
Sprint's Nolan Buzzes About Automation at the 'Hive'

10|23|18   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


DENVER -- Tracy Nolan, president of national sales, strategy and operations for Sprint, says companies need to support women in the shift to network automation to lessen the potential jobs impact. Reskilling will be necessary as automation increases, explains Nolan. One avenue of support companies can provide is through continuing education opportunities and ...
LRTV Documentaries
The Telecoms.com Podcast: Innovation, OTTs & the Smart Home

10|16|18   |     |   (0) comments


Scott and Jamie are joined by special guest Mary Clark -- CMO of Synchronoss -- this week. Playing to some of Mary's many strengths, they focus on the relationship between operators and their customers, especially in the areas of product innovation and customer experience. Mary offers insights into how this stuff gets discussed at the top table and the challenges ...
LRTV Custom TV
Intelligence & Virtualization at the Edge With QOS Networks

10|3|18   |   04:52   |   (0) comments


QOS Networks works with enterprise organizations with the challenge of dispersed locations across the nation or the globe. With specialties around delivering and designing SD-WAN and network virtualization services, QOS helps companies have intelligence at their network edge.
LRTV Documentaries
The Telecoms.com Podcast: Scraping the Barrel

8|14|18   |     |   (0) comments


With 'the talent' all on holiday we're left with Jamie and Ray for this week's installment. The dynamic duo both had a chat with a senior Ericsson bod about its cunning US 5G investment plans, and Jamie updates us on what Samsung is up to -- namely its AI efforts, 5G and a seemingly pointless Bixby. Lastly, Ray ponders the vacant Cisco position in its service ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Cisco's Yvette Kanouff: How We Get Real Results From Network Automation

7|10|18   |     |   (0) comments


Cisco's top service provider executive is moving quickly to create value for carrier class software in a hardware-based business and helping her customers reach unheard of levels of automation in their networks. Watch this most recent conversation with Yvette Kanouff to find just how well Cisco's service provider business fits in with the rest of the company's ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Matrixx VP Outlines Her Career-Making, Changing Skills

6|20|18   |   3:57   |   (0) comments


Technology can be learned, but critical thinking, decision making and verbal communication are the career-making skills that are transferable and crucial in a digital transformation, says Jennifer Kyriakakis, Matrixx Software's co-founder and VP of marketing.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Parallel Wireless Founder Reflects on Tech

6|13|18   |   6:52   |   (0) comments


Parallel Wireless is focused on making networks more flexible under the guidance of Co-Founder and VP of Development Kaitki Agarwal, who shares her thoughts on the industry's most game-changing technologies – past, present and future – as well as offering advice for other female founders with a great idea.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu's Sales Director: Be Your Own Champion

6|6|18   |   3:59   |   (0) comments


Heidi Westbrook, Fujitsu's director of ICP and North American Carrier Sales, shares the secrets to advancing in comms with a work/life balance in tact, including networking, self-advocacy, unapologetically pursuing the next step and more.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Treseder: Be Seen, Be Heard, Be Decisive

5|30|18   |   6:50   |   (0) comments


Lori Treseder, director of mechanical engineering at Infinera, discusses everything from improving power in the data center to empowering young women to pursue technical careers in the comms industry.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Metaswitch VP Talks IMS & Career Refreshes

5|23|18   |   5:12   |   (0) comments


Service providers are refreshing their IMS and looking for real cloud native IMS functions, according to Micaela Giuhat, Metaswitch's VP of product management, Cloud Native Core, who shares her thoughts on everything from container-based approach to VNFs to her experiences and advice as a leading woman in comms.
LRTV Documentaries
AT&T's BCE Keynote: 5G & SDN Worlds Colliding

5|17|18   |   18:07   |   (0) comments


At the Big Communications Event (BCE) 2018 event in Austin, Melissa Arnoldi, president of Technology and Operations at AT&T, spoke about AT&T's path to 5G and the important role software plays. 5G will eventually have a significant impact on how businesses work and how they engage with their customers.
LRTV Documentaries
Leading Lights 2018

5|15|18   |   2:32   |   (0) comments


A recap of the 14th annual Leading Lights Awards in Austin, TX. Congratulations to all the winners!