Verizon chief product development officer Nicola Palmer (pictured) argued the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) expected to be sparked by 5G won’t reach its full potential without input from more women.
At Qualcomm’s recent Snapdragon Summit, Palmer told Mobile World Live 4IR could transform a wide range of verticals including industry, healthcare and education. But she warned “it’s not going to be as good as it could be if you don’t have half the population’s voice equally represented in making all these changes” to fundamental technologies including networks and devices.
She continued: “And that’s the best case scenario. Worst case scenario you’re really going to see the bias and you’re going to exclude some very important things.”
Palmer said it is important for the technology industry to press on with gender diversity initiatives, flagging efforts to encourage young women as critical. She highlighted falling college graduation rates among females in STEM fields such as computer science as “a problem of epic proportions”, adding losses begin as early as middle school.
“It’s all a matter of how do you reach the population and keep them on the track so they don’t lose the interest and ability that they have,” said Palmer.
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