Nordic Centre for Internet and Society

SHE conference at Oslo Spektrum

On Wednesday, April 19, the SHE (Social Human Equity) Conference was held at Oslo Spektrum. Co-director of the Nordic Centre, Professor Christoph Lutz, was in the panel of the session “Innovation and Technology – Embedding Diversity in Tomorrow’s Solutions”.

The SHE Conference (Social Human Equity) was held at Oslo Spektrum on Wednesday 19 April. Together with Mahsa Shams (Sopra Steria), Javad Mushtaq (Co-funder and CEO - MAK Diversity Equity and Inclusion), and Live Melkild (student NTNU), Christoph served as a panelist of the session “Innovation and Technology – Embedding Diversity in Tomorrow’s Solutions”.

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Image credit: Ingvild Hauge, Sopra Steria

About the session - inclusion in the tech industry

The session was hosted by the IT company Sopra Steria, at the SHE Young stage from 11:00-11:45. It was well attended, with a full room of about 100-150 in the audience. The session included 8 speakers, and Christoph, Mahsa, Live, and Javad served as panelists in the middle part of the session. The theme was “Embedding diversity in tomorrow’s solutions”, as it focused on diversity and inclusion in the technology sector. For example, the contributors touched on topics such as why it is important to have more diversity, not only within companies in the technology sector, but also for society on the whole. See some takeaways from the session below:

  • A lack of diversity and inclusion in the technology sector is problematic because it can lead to discrimination of disadvantaged user groups and biased products. To exemplify, Christoph noted how Google Image search often reinforces stereotypes. Even though Google has addressed some of these issues, there is still a long way to go. For example, if one searches for terms like “football player”, it shows almost exclusively men. 
  • The tech industry lacks diversity. Within the industry, there are only around 30% women and even less individuals with culturally diverse backgrounds. This is an important contributor as to why technology does not represent and reflect everyone, and some are left behind when it comes to understanding our digital solutions. 
  • Diversity is needed to build our future, and will also be a competitive advantage for companies. Technology and digitalization are transforming our society and the way we live and work, and it has the potential to play a key role in creating a better future for all. But that requires that different people with different backgrounds are included in the design and development of our digital future.

The SHE Conference

The bulk of leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs, are still to this day based from the same overrepresented group. Hence, the SHE Conference is aimed at promoting a greater diversity, particularly in business, “until all are included”. The Conference is a great arena for agenda setting, and with equality as the driving force, SHE is aimed at empowering people to make business fair for everyone.