Innovation Station: How GE’s camp in Algeria is breaking ground on equality in the workplace
Earlier this year, when GE announced its goal of having 20,000 women in technical positions by 2020 – an increase of about 36 percent, from 15,000 currently – it emerged as a central pillar of company strategy around the world.
The concept behind the Women in Tech campaign is clear; gender balance in the workplace is mandatory. Diversity benefits everyone – according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD], increasing the participation of women in the labor force can boost the economic output of a country by five to 12 percent.
In support of the initiative, GE in Algeria organized its second “Be Innovative Camp.” Held on April 22, the camp saw more than 500 students- coached by 20 GE employees volunteers- from the universities of Koléa, National School of Polytechnics, INELEC Boumerdes, and USTHB meet for a full-day workshop, looking at innovative ways to help close the gender gap.
The students were tasked with presenting potential solutions to the low representation of women in science and technology to a jury composed of Touffik Fredj, CEO of GE North Africa West Africa, Meriem Benziane, Communication Leader, GE North West Africa and Wafaa Khammar, GE Power Project Manager.
“GE places diversity and, in particular, the development of women in the professional world at the heart of its strategy. If they account for a quarter of our employees, only 18% of them hold technical positions. In a world where diversity of profiles represents an economic imperative, we wanted to make young Algerian students aware of this and encourage them to think together of ways to attract more young women to science and technology studies, and what strategy companies will need to develop in order to attract and retain these profiles,” said Touffik Fredj, CEO of GE North West Africa.
According to the OECD, women account for 13-24% of employees in engineering and IT, and only 17% to 30% of them in management positions. A key concern in the report is that 40% of women graduates in engineering eventually leave the sector or never integrate the professional field.
Click here to read more about GE’s Women in Tech initiative.