Earlier this month, three Socitm delegates travelled to Sweden to deliver a Leadership, diversity and skills workshop session to the Linked Organisation of Local Authority ICT Societies (LOLA).
This was a fantastic opportunity to share best practice and work collaboratively with our international counterparts while learning from other organisation’s experience at a global level.
Martin Ferguson, Director of Policy & Research; Nadira Hussain, Director of Leadership Development & Research and Vice President, Sandra Taylor began the session by updating members from Belgium, Sweden, The Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand and the USA about the work that Socitm are doing to support this key policy priority area. Each nation then discussed the various initiatives and strategic efforts being undertaken in their countries in line with the topic.
With policy theme champion, Sandra Taylor, taking up Socitm Presidency in June, the workshop was perfectly timed. Not least because the group were able to exchange their views on a series of ‘hot topics’, including how we can we encourage girls and young women into tech, particularly tech leadership.
In Swedish municipalities the rate of women in leading positions linked to digitization is increasing and Socitm were keen to learn about the changing practices adopted by Sweden over the last 20 years which have resulted in a dramatic reduction in the sector gender gap.
Nadira Hussain said: “LOLA was born out of an understanding that by working collectively and collaboratively, common benefits could be achieved for public sector organisations, their members and the citizens they serve globally. This is a view that Socitm supports wholly on a local, national and international level.
“The workshop really brought this philosophy into focus and highlighted the huge possibilities our LOLA membership creates.
“In terms of gender equality alone, Sweden is so much further ahead than the UK. It was fascinating to hear about the strategies deployed to promote and protect the roles of women in IT, including equitable salaries, shared parental leave and the right to more flexible working. This sharing at international level opens up real prospects for us to achieve better outcomes for everyone and mirrors the sharing ethos at the heart of Socitm,” she said.