As the chair of the Portuguese Section of IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE), I had the opportunity to participate in the IEEE WIE International Leadership Conference, in April 2015, in San Jose, California.
In the heart of the Silicon Valley, the attendees of this conference had the opportunity to create communities that fuel innovation, facilitate knowledge sharing and provide support through highly interactive sessions designed to foster discussion and collaboration.
WIE-ILC focused on providing leading-edge professional development for mid-level and senior women. The speakers in this conference came from companies such as Cisco, Intel, Xerox, AMD, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Symantec, Ericsson, among others and the sessions were divided in the following tracks:
- Innovation: skills to create new technology, lead innovative teams, foster creative cultures or develop disruptive technology;
- Empowerment: skills to help women advance in their careers;
- Entrepreneurship: skills around start-ups, business models, venture funding, finance or leadership communication;
- Executive Leadership: skills for team leadership, career management and advancement.
After an exciting week of knowledge sharing and interactive sessions, and as a recently hired collaborator at Bosch Braga, I wanted to understand which measures my company is employing to promote the diversity dimension regarding gender. It was a pleasantly surprise discovering that at Bosch, everyone has the same opportunities regardless of gender – and that applies to leadership roles, too. The equal opportunity policy is supported by projects and networks like “Women@Bosch” and “Forum FIT – Women in Technology” and by the equal pay principle. Also, Bosch offers many qualification and mentoring programs for women (Business Women’s Program and Mentoring programs).
Regarding numbers, it is very exciting to verify that Portugal is the 2nd country where the proportion of women is higher (Norway is first), and that there was an increase from 2012 to 2013. These numbers are great since many studies show that mixed teams, in which women and men cooperate at all levels of the company develop better products and services.