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Women in the Digital Era: Inclusion, Equality, Leadership.11 min read


Technology must work for everyone and must represent the requirements and needs of us of all. Women are half of the world’s population, and as such, they need to be an integral part of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aims. Goal 5 is to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls.

It is important that a substantial number of female professionals join the workforce, and that organizations put more effort into supporting and promoting them throughout their careers.

Recruiting more women into the technology industry is an obvious and a great solution today. The need for tech professionals is not the only reason, nor is it the most important argument, for achieving better gender diversity in technology. A lack of women in technology can lead to a decrease in performance and profits, creating a missed opportunity for those businesses.

Literature examining the impact of women in the workplace, specifically women collaborating on teams and in leadership roles, demonstrates the need for and impact of having more women in technology. Greater gender diversity in technology can impact businesses’ bottom lines.

For Huawei, closing the gender gap that exists in the digital sector is now a “top priority”. Huawei’s aim is to inspire a new generation of women to work in technology and encourage the value of diversity, inclusion, and equity in technology.

Like many other tech companies worldwide, Huawei has launched numerous diversity initiatives focusing on nationality, gender, age, race, and religion and, emphasizes gender equality in employment and prohibit gender bias, in strict compliance with all applicable international conventions as well as local laws and regulations. The company also prioritizes the selection of female managers and helps them advance their careers.



Technology is helping close the gender gap and empower women. Technology can be the key to providing equal opportunities for women around the globe. At the same time, ICT remains an area where women commonly experience discrimination and exclusion from access to digital jobs to cyber harassment, a lot remains to be done in order to achieve a level playing field. The digital age will create opportunities for everyone regardless of gender.

The barriers to women accessing and having careers in the tech industry must be broken down. This needs to start at the grassroots level, through education and training, giving girls and young women the opportunities and skills to enter the tech world. This will not happen overnight, but Huawei wants to do what it can to encourage this transformation.

Women make up 47 percent of all employed adults in the U.S., but as of 2015, they hold only 25 percent of computing roles, according to data from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). Of the 25 percent of women working in tech, Asian women make up just 5 percent of that number, while black and Hispanic women accounted for 3 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

All this despite the fact that the growth of STEM jobs has outpaced the growth of overall employment in the country, growing 79 percent since 1990 while overall employment has grown 34 percent, according to data from Pew Research Center. Despite national conversations about the lack of diversity in tech, women are disproportionally missing out on this boom.

Huawei plays its part in trying to encourage and inspire young girls and women to become scientists, tech experts, innovators, and leaders of the digital age and, it confirms and proves that women must be on a level playing field when it comes to the tech world – as well as other areas of life – and more than that – they can be technology leaders. But it only happens when creating equal opportunities, break down barriers, and put inclusive policies to work.

We are seeing some justified updating of history already, with women finally being recognized as scientific pioneers in so many fields. Through #HuaweiI4Her campaign, there are concrete ideas to truly unlock the potential of women and girls interested in science and technology.



Huawei is proud to support Women Leaders. They believe that by creating and supporting role models, and leadership in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) it is a win for Huawei and society by helping foster women’s success in all technology-related fields and organizations.  Huawei has many women leaders of note but here are a few that are globally leading in the ICT field. 

Meng Wanzhou (Sabrina Meng)

Ms. Meng Wanzhou (Sabrina Meng), Huawei Deputy Chairwoman, CFO

Sabrina Meng is a global leader and she has a master’s degree from Huazhong University of Science and Technology.  She joined Huawei in 1993 and has held several senior positions including Director of the International Accounting Dept, CFO of Huawei Hong Kong, and President of the Accounting Management Dept. Ms. Meng now serves as CFO of Huawei and Deputy Chairwoman of the Board. Her work includes focusing on advancing financial management for many of Huawei’s business units and departments globally.

Most recently, Ms. Meng was caught in the middle of a geopolitical feud, as she was arrested in Canada in 2018, requested by the US government. Her arrest was requested by the US justice department, which accused her of financial fraud. She is still fighting extradition to the US, with evidence showing that her arrest was simply a pure political move by the US government.  

It is sad to see Ms. Meng being used as a political pawn.  This must have been a terrible nightmare and taken a toll her entire family.  The world is stronger when we cooperate. During a time of great crisis we could accomplish great social good by supporting each other, especially Women Leaders who are making a difference in the world.


Catherine Chen, Huawei Director, President of the Public Affairs and Communications Dept

Catherine Chen joined Huawei in 1995 and has served as Chief Representative of the Beijing Representative Office, Vice President of the International Marketing Dept, Deputy Director of the Domestic Marketing Management Office, a member of the Board, President of the Public Affairs and Communications Dept, and Corporate Senior Vice President.   

Catherine Chen believes in the power of technology to support inclusive societies. In a recent video, Catherine discusses in length about how the recent public health crisis has made the world realize of the many challenges we continue to face, and, how we must use technology to make the world a better and safer place.

“Technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence, cloud, and big data will be more frequently used in the future to better society for all people and to support our planet. At the moment, there are big differences between countries around the world, from a technological perspective. Half the world’s population is still without an internet connection and one billion people don’t have access to mobile broadband.”

Catherine continues to be very proud of the work that is being done around education and the environment. She continues to emphasize Huawei’s critical role in helping make the world a better connected place.


Joy Tan Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Huawei Technologies USA

As the Senior VP of Public Affairs, Ms. Tan is responsible for setting and executing Public Relations and Government Relations strategies for Huawei USA. She and studied Biology at Tsinghua University in Beijing and holds a Master’s Degree in Neuroscience from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where was a PhD candidate. She holds an MBA in Marketing from the University of Texas at Dallas.  Joy has served as the President of Global Media and Communications for Huawei, setting and executing media and communications strategy for the entire company from 2014 to 2019. Before joining Huawei, Ms. Tan worked at Verizon and TXU Energy.

I have had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Tan several times.  She always impresses me with her wisdom and leadership style.  Her leadership efforts have allowed Huawei to become one of the top 100 brands in the world.  Women leaders like Ms. Tan are changing the perceived conception about who can lead and what qualities are necessary to break down barriers and show everyone what women can – and should – achieve if given the chance.


 Huawei Believes Women add great value to Science and Tech

“Science reflects the people who make it. The world needs science, and science needs women and girls”.

There is a call for all companies, especially those who are in the ICT sector, to have a vision of having more female scientists participate in technological innovation, and to  promote more diversity in science and technology.

  • Women’s leadership is more in line with the contemporary transformational leadership model, which take advantage of women’s good communication skills. ‘Cooperative power’ replaces ‘dominant power’.
  • R&D teams needs to be diverse, including women’s perception of technology and special contributions, in order to meet the needs of all human beings for technologies and products.

Women’s inclusion and empowerment in science means bringing in a different and complementary point of view that has the potential to produce a high positive impact on the final output for human progress. For Huawei, they uphold standards to have female scientists as part of their R&D fields such as for 5G research.


Digital skills are in serious demand due to the digital skill gap widening in addition to the need for women in digital leaders. The job market is booming, and Huawei is starting to focus on growing through digital advancements. There are several benefits from working in digital and plenty of jobs to be filled by women.

With the digital sector having an impact on businesses and consumers, ICT companies are expanding their teams and focus on hiring talented professionals. Not only will this help with closing the gender gap but will also meet the demands of the digital sector as it is increasingly growing.

It is urgent to develop females’ digital technology skills

  • The issue of gender discrimination in particular needs to be addressed. Women can also learn STEM majors and show leadership in the technology industry. Huawei promotes the spirits of strugglers and do not measure employee contributions based on gender.
  • Cultivate female students/scientists to understand and yearn for the technology industry, provide career guidance in advance, and encourage more female talents to join the technology industry

A great example of this is by having company initiatives to develop female technology skills, such as Huawei’s Seeds for the future and ICT Academy programs.


Women continue to be left out of senior positions in many global corporations.  It is refreshing to see Huawei’s commitment to Women in Leadership Roles.  We have made progress with Women in Leadership Roles, but we have a long way to go. Women still face great inequality when it comes to working. We also continue to be paid less than our male counterparts. According to the World Bank, “women earn on average about 60% to 75% of men’s wages. If the pay gap between men and women were to close, the world’s GDP could grow by $12 trillion by 2025.”  Additionally, women makeup 40% of the global workforce and in some counties over 50% of the workforce.

According to Catalyst, The Share of Women in Senior Roles Globally is Increasing Incrementally.  29% of senior management roles are held by women and that is the highest number to date.  Global Corporations are also listening because 87% of global businesses have at least one woman in a senior management role as of 2019.

Our future will be marked by scientific and technological progress, which can only be achieved when women and girls are creators, owners, and leaders of science, technology, and innovation. Bridging the gender gap in technology is vital to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and for creating infrastructure, services, and solutions that work for all people and, it is time to close the gender gap.

I applaud Huawei for supporting talented women in their senior leadership.

About the Authors

Debra Ruh

Debra Ruh

Chief Executive Officer

Debra Ruh is the CEO of Ruh Global IMPACT.  The UN President’s office invited Debra to address the United Nations General Assembly at the Conference of State Parties 9th session on May 13, 2016.  Selected as the North American representative for UN ILO Global Business and Disability Network (GBDN). US State Department global speaker and ambassador since 2018. Nominated as Global Goodwill Ambassador in 2018.  Author of three books, Inclusion Branding (available in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Voice via Audible), Tapping into Hidden Human Capital, and Finding Your Voice using Social Media.  Learn more at or

She is a global influencer, with over 300,000 followers on social media. Co-founder of award winning #AXSChat one of largest tweet chats in the world with over 8 billion tweets. Named in the “Top 5% of Social Media Influencers” and “Top 0.1% of people talking about Disability Inclusion and Accessibility” by KLOUT, #15 in Digital Scouts, and Top 100 Global Digital Influencers in Sept 2018.  Debra has been featured on CBS, ABC, NBC, Washington Post, INC, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Huffington Post, NY Times, Christian Science Monitor, and more.

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