Putting Diversity and Inclusion on the Agenda

Putting Diversity and Inclusion on the Agenda

Putting Diversity and Inclusion on the Agenda

2 / 10 - 2019

She is passionate about diversity, engaged in ways of learning, and she wants to get more girls into the tech business. She is the Microsoft IT Girl of the Year 2019, and now Ebtisam Mohammedsalih also started as our new IST HR Project Assistant within tech - diversity and inclusion.

The story about Ebtisam Mohammedsalih is truly inspiring! When she talks, her enthusiasm and passion for diversity and inclusion is impossible to miss. She wants to send the message that IT is for everyone; no matter the gender, background or previous experience. This message is something she will now focus on in her new role as HR Project Assistant within tech – diversity and inclusion at IST.

Currently, Ebtisam also is on her last year at the Software Technology programme at Linneaus University. From the beginning she noticed that the number of male students within the programme was far higher than the number of female students; something she found remarkable in the “equal” Sweden.

IT Girl of the Year 2019
“She's passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion. With a great commitment to education and how ways to teach should be adapted in order to reach more people, she is already today a role model. She is brave, welcome challenges and what she says touches. It is with great pleasure Microsoft chooses the IT girl of the year and looks forward to inspire more people together with the winner Ebtisam Mohammedsalih."  - Microsoft's motivation to the IT girl of the year 2019

In March 2019, Ebtisam won the prestigious award IT Girl of the Year in a competition held by Microsoft. The purpose with the competition is to highlight female role models within the IT business and to inspire more female students to choose technology and IT as their field of education. Ebtisam will also be the ambassador for Microsoft and a role model for IT students and girls interested in technology.

According to Ebtisam, one of the reasons that she won is the fact that she has a different background and that she wasn’t originally interested in IT at all. “I think many girls can be exactly like me! I can be the first of many, I can be the one that takes the first step”, she says.

Being a Role Model
One year ago Ebtisam started to work as a programming teacher at Hello World!, and through this she hopes that she can be a role model for the younger girls, something she didn’t have herself. A role model for Ebtisam is not how you would normally describe a role model – as powerful, 100% correct, always on time and basically perfect. For Ebtisam a role model is weak, makes mistakes, trips and falls - someone who young girls can recognize themselves in. She also wants to encourage young girls to be role models themselves, and to dare getting into tech. “If you don’t try something you don’t know if it's for you.”

Diversity and Inclusion at IST
The IT business is, in general, one of the most gender segregated businesses, and diversity and inclusion is the key to attract more women.

"We have a good mix of women and men in the company today, but like many other tech companies we need to do more. Not least on the developer side,” says Mathilda Wirenstrand, HR Manager at IST. “We want to have a corporate culture where everyone can be themselves. This is an important factor in attracting both female and male employees.”

Today IST has approximately 50 women working with different tech roles, and 14 different nationalities are represented within the company, but there is always room for improvement! With Ebtisam leading the diversity and inclusion projects, IST takes an important step - and we are very happy to have her onboard!