LIVE FROM MWC21 BARCELONA: Industry executives noted diversity and inclusion in the ICT sector had significantly increased in recent years, but highlighted the need for more efforts in closing the digital gap to meet societal and business needs.

In a panel discussion, GSMA director general Mats Granryd (pictured, far left) emphasised the mobile sector was on a good trajectory to enhance diversity and inclusion, as all operators were working hard towards the goals.

“We can see that overall in the world the number of women who are using a mobile device and connected to internet is actually increasing. It’s now just 50 per cent fewer than men”, he noted, explaining this compared with a gap of nearly two-thirds in 2017.

While highlighting “good progress” on the numbers, Granryd explained companies need help to become “more diverse and then more profitable”.

Vyacheslav Nikolaev, president and CEO of Russian operator MTS (pictured, far right) concurred, adding operators need help from governments, industries and organisations like the GSMA to achieve their diversity and inclusion targets.

He also explained companies will need to increase their sustainability efforts in the near future to meet growing expectations from investors and customers.

Alix Jagueneau, head of external affairs and industry purpose at the GSMA (pictured, second from right), also emphasised expectations from investors for industry players to be “more transparent, more diverse and more inclusive”.

She pointed to a number of moves made by the industry group in the field, explaining gender equality had “always been a big priority for the GSMA”, which thus pushed its members to operate “in a responsible way”.