The 150-year march toward gender parity in telecom

Ericsson's Ciricia Proulx and Rogers' Tess Van Thielen weave statistics and real-world examples into the conversation to explain why there's still a long road ahead to achieve gender and diversity parity in business.

Kelsey Ziser, Senior Editor

May 31, 2022

The 150-year march toward gender parity in telecom

AUSTIN – Big 5G Event – In this fireside chat during the Women in Telecoms workshop, Ericsson North America CMO Ciricia Proulx and Rogers Communications VP of Advanced Services Tess Van Thielen share their perspectives and experiences about why diversity is important for business, how the industry can move in a more positive direction to support diversity and why studies show it could take nearly 150 years to reach gender parity in the workforce.

Proulx and Thielen weave statistics and real-world examples into the conversation to explain why there's still a long road ahead.

"There's a perception that there has been such a strong desire to hire female or diverse talent, but if you look at the numbers as you go up in leadership, that's not the story they're telling," said Proulx. "If you look at telecom, entry level we have about 37% female and by the time you get to more senior leadership it's less that 27%, so it's actually going down and is even lower if you look at additional diversity … Unless we're having those conversations and the male leadership is understanding the impact, we won't progress."

Here are a few highlights in this fireside chat:

  • A look at female representation and diversity in telecom (01:52)

  • Estimating female representation at the Big 5G event (05:25)

  • How to share personal experiences to create change (06:00)

  • Gender parity in the workforce will be achieved in 139 years (07:08)

  • "Women vote with their feet" – telecom loses women that don't receive adequate support (11:23)

  • Internal programs and initiatives that support diversity (12:10)

  • Challenges that remain: "tightrope/double bind," and "prove it, then prove it again" (18:10)

  • Having honest conversations and finding support from coworkers (25:31)

  • Explaining "gender deafness" (29:17)

  • Parting professional advice (31:50)

Check out more news from the Big 5G Event here.

— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Kelsey Ziser

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Kelsey is a senior editor at Light Reading, co-host of the Light Reading podcast, and host of the "What's the story?" podcast.

Her interest in the telecom world started with a PR position at Connect2 Communications, which led to a communications role at the FREEDM Systems Center, a smart grid research lab at N.C. State University. There, she orchestrated their webinar program across college campuses and covered research projects such as the center's smart solid-state transformer.

Kelsey enjoys reading four (or 12) books at once, watching movies about space travel, crafting and (hoarding) houseplants.

Kelsey is based in Raleigh, N.C.

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