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First woman to head UNESCO urges tech companies to do more for women in tech

Mar 07, 2023

[Shenzhen, China, March 7, 2023] Tech companies need to help women take center stage in the ICT world, according to the first female Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova.

Irina Bokova

Irina Bokova, UNESCO's first-ever female Director-General 

"Technology companies have a huge responsibility to promote gender equality and women's empowerment," Bokova told Huawei, in an interview for Transform, the thought leadership magazine of the company.

Published shortly ahead of International Women's Day on March 8, the newest edition features Nobel Prize-winning scientist Ada Yonath, former Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland Mary Coughlan, and other female leaders whose accomplishments in politics, computer science, art and medicine are an inspiration to young women around the world.

In its pages, women leaders encourage young women to pursue their dreams, especially those who aspire to enter information communications technology (ICT) or other traditionally male-dominated fields.

"Don't be deterred," said Catherine Chen, an Executive Member of Huawei's Supervisory Board. "If you're interested in science, math, coding, or any technical subject, pursue it." In her article, Chen quotes writer and poet Maya Angelou, who said, "I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels."

In addition to encouraging young women to follow their dreams, the latest edition of Transform looks at how tech companies can help make those dreams a reality.

Bokova points out that technology today is ubiquitous. "It is about our health and education. It is about the quality of our work, and the environment. It's about truly everything." Helping women succeed in tech therefore has the potential to change nearly every aspect of the world’s economy, and indeed, modern life.

This mindset underpins Huawei's own Women in Tech initiative, now in its third year. Gavin Allen, Transform's Editor-in-Chief, says the initiative aims to promote and invest in female leadership and skills in all industries – but especially in science and technology.

Although women are making steady economic progress, improvements are happening too slowly. According to forecasts by The World Economic Forum (WEF), at the current pace of change, it will take more than 130 years for women to achieve overall equality, while sexual equity in the workplace will not occur for another 200 years.

Huawei hopes that raising awareness of women's empowerment and equality can help shorten that timetable.


Published every two months, Transform is an online and print magazine that runs video interviews, newsmaker profiles, and feature articles that examine the relationship between technology, business, and society. A PDF of the magazine can be downloaded from the web site, and a hard-copy edition is available in some geographic locations and upon request.
Each edition is about one topic. Recent examples include cyber security, healthcare, and sustainability.
For more information about Transform, please contact Transform Editor Winter Wright (, or Editor-in-Chief Gavin Allen (

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