The telecoms industry has a woman problem

So many suits.
So many suits.
Image: AP Photo/Manu Fernandez
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At the Mobile World Congress, a huge telecoms trade show in Barcelona, you can see just about any phone currently made, as well as senior execs from across the industry. A much rarer sight at the expo this week, however, is women. Of the 41 bigwigs listed as keynote speakers, for example, only 12 are women.

Trade shows like this tend to be front-loaded, with the biggest announcements scheduled early in the week. At the Mobile World Congress, half of the women appearing at keynote sessions during the week were on a single panel on the final day of the fair—which happened to be on women in technology.

Russell Reynolds, a headhunting firm, estimates that only 12% of execs at telecoms companies are women. In that light, a keynote lineup with 30% women is, surprisingly, ahead of the curve.