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An inclusive and diverse workplace keeping everyone connected

17 June, 2020 - Yangon

Diversity is an integral element needed in our everyday lives especially in the workplace. Different diversities in various backgrounds should lead to inclusions in our society - for there is beauty in variety.  (Quote is by Michael Eisner, Former CEO of the Walt Disney Company)

International Telecoms Week for 2020 falls between June 14 to 17. Just like the theme of this year #KeepingTheWorldConnected, we welcome this week by highlighting how diversity and inclusion in the workplace is important for moving forward and making our lives better, by keeping us all connected.

 

In tech, diversity is critical as it enables companies to create better and safer products that take everyone into consideration, not just one section of society. A report recently released by McKinsey shared the great insights that diverse companies can perform better, attract better talents, drive workplace engagement and able to retain workers better than companies that do not focus on diversity and inclusion. Still, women remain widely underrepresented in Technology related industry and in particular IT related roles.[i] and Myanmar is also not an exception.

An exclusive International Telecoms Week Op-Ed written by CBO, Daw Yin Yin Htay @ Caroline
An exclusive International Telecoms Week Op-Ed written by CBO, Daw Yin Yin Htay @ Caroline

 

Telecoms is a sector traditionally dominated by men. According to "The State of Women In Tech 2020" report by Dream Host, nearly 90% of the all Information Technology patents were made by male invention teams from 1980 to 2010.ii Moreover, it is stated that women are more likely to be in junior positions than men.

Building Telenor Myanmar since 2014, we started out with a hypothesis similar to Eisner: that there is power and creativity in diversity and management make great efforts to create diverse workplace. We have 40% women in our workplace, and 30% women in our management team with coming from diverse background. Nurturing a diverse and inclusive workplace is a fundamental part of Telenor’s DNA and unique corporate culture of Telenor Myanmar which our colleagues take pride for that.

Telecommunications is an industry that is both tech-intensive and people-driven, physical and digital – especially in emerging markets like Myanmar. As a major employer, we are mindful of crafting HR policies and avoiding bias in our recruitment policies. We need better people, and they can be of any ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or with any physical disability and standing out as a true Equal employment opportunity employer in Myanmar.

Among people with disabilities in Myanmar in 2014, hardly half were employed. This makes the rate of employment in this group 20 percentage points lower than the majority population. This is why we earlier this year introduced Telenor Open Mind in Myanmar, a program aimed at facilitating job opportunities for people with disabilities (PwDs) in the telecoms industry. Currently, we have three team members who have joined us through the program. This is an opportunity to build a career in the corporate world and these employment means they are taking responsibility for their livelihoods and contributing back to the community as taxpayers. Telenor prioritizes diversity in the workplace and encourages other public and private organizations to also hire more people with disabilities.

While this is a week of telecoms, June is a month of Pride. Diversity and inclusion must extend to all minorities. According to global statistics  by Glaadv, more than 40% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people and nearly 90% of transgender people have experienced employment discrimination, some form of harassment or mistreatment. This type of misbehavior and discrimination should not be tolerated by any business.  Training, communication and policies are key, but fostering inclusion is a management responsibility.

At Telenor, we’re in the business of “reducing inequalities”. We connect and include.  Since telecom operators invested in Myanmar in 2013, mobile technology has become accessible to everyone. We can now stay connected and get faster information no matter where we live in the world. Over the past months as we’ve been fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, that connectivity and inclusion has been more important than ever at the professional as well as our personal level.

Now as restrictions are being lifted and life returns to a “new-normal”, we see that many of the habits formed, remain. Myanmar’s already rapid digital evolution has accelerated further.  

We would like to welcome the International Telecoms Week by renewing our commitment to keep Myanmar connected. #KeepingTheWorldConnected is an imperative for growth, development, inclusion and of course reducing inequalities.


[i] Women in Tech Statistics by CIO Analytics - https://www.cio.com/article/3516012/women-in-tech-statistics-the-hard-truths-of-an-uphill-battle.html

ii State of Women In Tech 2020 by Dream Host - https://www.dreamhost.com/blog/state-of-women-in-tech/

iii Handbook of Employing Persons with Disabilities by MOSWRR and JICA - https://www.myanmar-responsiblebusiness.org/pdf/handbook-employing-persons-with-disabilities_my.pdf

iv Digital 2020: Myanmar Report by Data Reportal - https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2020-myanmar

v The Value of LGBT equality In the workplace by Glaad - https://www.glaad.org/blog/value-lgbt-equality-workplace

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