Women in executive positions: making a difference with International Women’s Day
At TSS, we see diversity and gender equality as a priority. Our ambition is to have a gender balance that reflects the world around us and a workplace where both men and women have an equal opportunity to succeed in every function and being rewarded equally. We are convinced that such a workplace is the most effective in achieving the company’s goals.
International Women’s Day
The TSS management team consists of three men, and three women which we decided to have a chat with on this special day.
Ingrid Szabo is Chief Global Services officer, heading up our production and delivery organization. Petronella Klingofström is Chief Quality officer, and Nina Nilsson Chief Revenue officer leading marketing, sales, account management, and customer service.
What does gender equality mean to you?
Petronella: To me the family part is important. You should be able to have a life, a family if you want to, but still be able to have a career. Traditionally that has negatively impacted women predominantly. It is important that a family policy at the company supports working parents with the same rights and obligations for men and women.
Ingrid: It lies in the word equality, doesn´t it. We should be given equal opportunities. I have often worked in male-dominated environments but have mostly positive experiences. Actually, it can be an advantage when you are not one of the masses – be one of few instead of one of many. Still, competence needs to precede gender.
Nina: I agree with both of you. And, apart from being the right thing and a fundamental human right, it is also the smart thing if you want to run a profitable business. Studies have proven diversity in leadership having a direct correlation to profitability.
Sweden is often seen as an International role model when it comes to gender equality, with a long history of early adoption of legislation like parental leave instead of maternity leave (1974) and gender discrimination in workplaces becoming illegal (1980).
The business sector, on the other hand, is a heavily male-dominated field. On the average board of a Swedish stock market company, about one in three were women in 2018 – a great increase compared with a few years earlier. In fact, if this development continues at the same pace, the boards of listed companies in Sweden will be gender-equal within ten years.
In your professional roles, is it common to see women?
Nina: In marketing and customer support yes, at least in Sweden, in leading sales roles less than 20%. But looking at you, Ingrid, my perception is that your role is much more male-dominated.
Ingrid: Yes, manufacturing engineering and especially electronics attracts mostly men; on the logistics side, there are again more women. However, we see more and more women pursuing technical educations, and on the production floor, there are many women. I think a generational change is happening as we speak.
Petronella: My experience is that Quality is often dominated by women, but men still dominate the higher leadership positions. My background is on the IT side, where you see mostly men.
One way to drive change is to foster role models and networking. Do you have any female professional role model that has played a role in your career?
Ingrid: I spontaneously come to think of two previous managers, who were very successful in their positions, and I felt that you can have a career as a woman. TSS is actually my first job with a management team consisting of half women, half men.
Petronella: Back in the days, it was not very common for men to take parental leave, but luckily, this has changed. I remember a media situation once when a higher male manager in a large Swedish company announced that they were to split it 50-50. It created a log of discussions, and people were questioning how a manager could take that much time off; how would it go. But he just responded to the doubts with a simple: ” If parents cannot share the maternal leave, that means that a female manager could never take such a position or she would have to give up family”. Discussion over.
Nina: I cannot think of an individual, more of situations that have meant things to me. But professionally, I very much appreciate a more informal network of women in leading positions in life science companies here in Stockholm. We meet regularly, nowadays during the pandemic also for virtual after-works.
This year’s theme is Choose to Challenge and International Women’s Day, described as “A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world. “ #ChooseToChallenge #IWD2021
– On women in healthcare leadership:
– Women in business report by Grant Thornton:
– Gender equality in Sweden
– International Women’s Day official website
– United Nations