'It's about merit ... nobody wants to be the token woman,' says Ericsson boss
THERE'S no room for quotas in business or politics and appointments should be based on merit, the newly appointed managing director of Ericsson Ireland Zelia Madigan said yesterday.
"What you need in any organisation is a good mix of men and women," added Ms Madigan (38), who took up the role as the Ericsson Ireland boss just two months ago.
"It's about the balance, after all. No one wants to get a job because she's the token woman."
Ms Madigan studied engineering in Trinity, despite technology not being pushed as a career option for women when she was at school, she told a Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT) seminar in Dublin Castle yesterday.
Ms Madigan added that her love for technology started early and at the age of nine she was programming on her father's Amstrad computer.
She joined Ericsson in 2000 in an engineering role, and later became country manager. She has worked in engineering, sales and commercial roles both in Ireland and globally.
The CWIT event was attended by over 400 technology executives who took part in networking, workshops and panel discussions.
The CWIT, now in its seventh year, was created to help attract and retain women in the technology sector.
The keynote speaker at the event was Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, the global vice president of sustainability and corporate responsibility at Ericsson.
"If we are serious about bridging the digital divide, connecting the next billion and engaging women in ICT, empowering women must be a prioritised part of our own strategies," she said.
The event was sponsored by Ericsson, which employs over 1,500 people in Dublin and Athlone in a number of roles including research and development and global services and sales.
Emer Coleman, chair of the Open Data Governance Board, which is advising the Government on a national strategy for its Open Data Initiative, said that having a digital footprint is important for women.
"Women need to become more visible and male colleagues need to be part of the solution," she added.
A graduate of University College Cork, Ms Coleman left Ireland in the mid-2000s and worked in open data policy in the UK as well as a number of other countries.
She was the architect of the London Datastore, whereby information about London was made freely available to all on a range of digital platforms including apps, a programme driven by Boris Johnson.