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International Women’s Day 2021: Voi acknowledges the gender gap in tech and transport and is committed to closing it

A woman in a helmet standing in front of a Voi warehouse in a white t-shirt with the Voi logo on the back

The tech and transport industries both come with systemic gender gaps. Working at the intersection of the two means we have both a tremendous responsibility but also a huge opportunity to ensure our workplace advances gender equality but also that our service serves and improves mobility for women.

In order to deliver an inclusive service and sustainably transform how we move around cities, we know that a diverse workforce is essential. We’re on the forefront of transforming urban mobility, why shouldn’t we be at the forefront of promoting equality within our field as well?

We still have a long way to go, but we are taking action to make sure we increase female representation at Voi and in the transport and tech sectors. Here are some examples of how Voi is promoting female leadership and participation in our workforce:

Promoting and hiring female leaders

To achieve a higher level of gender diversity within Voi, we know that we must look at our hiring practices. By ensuring diverse representation in the recruitment process, COO and Co-founder, Douglas Stark, has made this a topic of focus. Amongst all recent hires, 42 percent have been women. This in a business unit consisting of roles in operations and engineering, roles that normally are considered quite challenging to have gender diversity in.

To add to that, 50 percent of our General Managers are female, in an industry that has historically been dominated by men. Why is this important? We asked, Hans Waagoe, VP of Market Operations, who stated:

When I build my team, it’s important for me to put together a balanced and diverse group of leaders. We serve a widely diverse customer base, and our workforce should be a reflection of this. We know that representation matters, and in order for us to attract, retain and promote female leadership, we need to walk the talk. It’s all about putting in the effort, creating the right environment and establishing role models.

We asked Christina Moe Gjerde, General Manager for Finland and Norway at Voi, how she considers diversity when building her teams:

Female representation in this industry is crucial, the leadership in my region consists of 55% women for a reason. But personally, my passion for diversity and inclusivity goes beyond gender. It’s equally important to consider diversity of backgrounds and life experiences in our recruitment processes. Building a team with different perspectives on what mobility challenges our users might have makes it possible for us to build a stronger service that caters to all needs.

Reverse mentorship program

But it goes beyond hiring practices, we also know that we must promote diversity and knowledge sharing within the company. Last year, Voi launched a mentorship program, where members of the management team were mentored by employees of another gender and field of expertise. The objective was to create a forum for sharing knowledge, perspectives and innovation from varying parts of the organisation.

Unconscious bias and diversity training

Educating our managers and employees is an important step to raise awareness. In 2020, we launched a program for all managers, focusing on unconscious biases in hiring processes and decision making. We also host lunch seminars, available to all employees to address biases in the workplace and how we can mitigate them. Voi consists of employees from over 50 nationalities, and we want to ensure that every person who walks through our doors feels that they are treated fairly and equally, regardless of who they are or where they come from.

Our Chief People & Culture Officer, Caroline Palm, elaborates on why education matters:

Educating our managers in matters of diversity and unconscious biases is key to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce. It’s not enough to say that we value diversity, we have to ensure that we have the proper tools to assess qualifications and performance in an objective way.”

Networks and collaboration

Voi is the first micro-mobility operator to join Women in Transport, a non-profit organisation that works to make the transport sector a better industry through diversity, gender parity, and inclusion.

Now, more than ever in this fast-changing, fast-growing sector, the transport industry needs to attract and retain capable, motivated people,” said Richard Corbett, General Manager for UK, Ireland, and Benelux at Voi. “We need to become more collaborative and innovative in how we approach our industry’s challenges and create a culture where everyone can thrive. We are committed to empowering women to join the industry and to bring together the diversity of thought and experience that will create the strongest, most successful micro-mobility services going forward.

Diversity and equality is a matter that affects every company in transport and tech, and we have a responsibility to create an industry for all, no matter gender or background. Together, we can make a difference. There is still plenty of work to be done to bridge the gender gap in micro-mobility, and for us it starts with encouragement, empowerment and education on all levels.

We firmly believe that our diversity is what makes us unique. We need people from all backgrounds and genders to achieve our mission – cities made for living, free from noise and pollution.

We appeal to people of all genders and backgrounds to have a look at our job openings here.

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