18th January 2022

How We’re Empowering Women All Over the Industry with Vodafone’s Women in Technology Network

Rubi Kaur
Senior Solution Architect and Chair of Vodafone Women in Technology Network

I'm really proud of the Women in Technology community network at Vodafone, a platform we’ve created to represent all the fabulous women here. We’re growing and learning so much every day, and it’s a real hive of activity where we network, share ideas and all feel empowered to achieve even more.

We’ve welcomed men to the community as well, whose allyship and advocacy are so important in our quest for gender equity. I am so happy to have established such a diverse and inclusive global committee, whose members are working together to break down the barriers women face in tech.

As the network Chair, last month I hosted a live event, Follow HERe, at which senior female leaders shared their personal career journeys. It was a window into the challenges they have met and overcome, and a real inspiration to us all to forge ahead in our careers.

Our network’s mission statement is "We will support, encourage and empower all women in tech to be incredible #VisibleTechWomen". I’ve invited some of our members to share their insights into how we’re working toward that mission, below.

Tejaswi Katam
Head of IoT Innovation & Certification and Member of Vodafone Women in Technology Network

I have always believed gender diversity has specific benefits in technology settings, which could explain why tech companies are increasingly investing in initiatives that boost female participation and opportunities in the industry. As a woman with a background in tech, I was very enthusiastic about joining our Women in Tech community.

It has been a truly inspiring experience. I am a mother and I have a leadership role, so it was excellent to get a chance to be mentored by another ‘mum-leader’, as well as connect with many talented women at Vodafone who have become role models to me. I’ve gained so much insight, namely that women should not be adapting to fit in, but rather setting our own pace and rules, and hopefully bringing more empathy to the workplace.

The need for diversity at work is no longer up for discussion. Tackling this issue in STEM begins with early education in schools. It is so important to me to work for a company like Vodafone, which is so active in promoting diverse hiring and encouraging female leadership. 

Julia Veall
Senior Manager Asset Management and Member of Vodafone Women in Technology Network

As a woman in IT for over 30 years, I have fought, cried, adapted and had to find resilience to remain true to my authentic self. The next generation of women in tech need to be supported by all genders and allowed to succeed, fail and succeed again without having to be concerned about who they are.

The Women in Tech network has made me more aware that my story is worth sharing. It’s given me a sense of responsibility to support others and become a role model, as there were so few for me when I started out. I feel it is up to women like me to change other women’s perceptions about tech and make them see how many roles and skill types are available to them – it’s not just coding!

Being a member has also helped me widen my own network both inside and outside of Vodafone. I’ve spoken on external panels and led forums for women considering a career in Asset Management, and developed my career and skill set further as a result.

Kevin Smith
Senior Standards Strategist and Member of Vodafone Women in Technology Network

For 21 years I have worked with many inspiring female colleagues and leaders at Vodafone, but it was working on Vodafone Foundation’s amazing ‘Instant Schools’ project that really highlighted to me the gulf between male and female opportunities. Then, after hearing so many stories of females in our industry via our Women in Technology network, I realised how truly global this problem is – gender pay gaps and seeing far fewer women than men in leadership roles is an issue that’s far from limited to developing countries. 

So I think we’re looking at a huge opportunity here. Solving this problem will benefit not just women, but employers, colleagues, society – even the planet! I'm proud that Vodafone champions this important initiative, and am humbled and honoured to have been invited to show support.

Being a male ally helps to raise the visibility of women in technology and make my male colleagues aware of the opportunities that working with them provides. This is how we will create a more diverse and well-rounded technology base from which to deliver Tech2025… and beyond!

Bryan Dobson
Senior Chapter Delivery Manager and Member of Vodafone Women in Technology Network

I was honoured to be invited to join the Women in Tech network. I was brought up as the only male in a family of women and really it just feels natural for me to be part of this. I am enjoying sharing the great female success stories I learn about through the network, and appreciating getting a more up-close look at the things that either motivate or worry women in their working lives.

I also think we have a bigger challenge on our hands in getting women interested in tech in the first place. If a company actively drives the support of women in tech, as Vodafone is doing, it helps to proliferate the message that there are opportunities all over this industry, irrelevant of gender.

Being part of Women in Tech has benefited me on a personal level too. It’s enlarged my network, especially across parts of the company I might not normally get to engage with.