Shirin Dehghan, co-founder and chief executive, Arieso

An engineering graduate, Shirin Dehghan, founded location-aware network optimisation fi rm Arieso in 2002. She started her career developing radio propagation products for a UK startup, before joining Vodafone as a research engineer.

At Vodafone she was responsible for the development of WCDMA simulation and business modelling and served on Vodafone UK’s 3G auction team, where she provided technical input to the UK board.

Like other women profi led on this list, Dehghan argues that hard work and talent can more than overcome obstacles for women looking to progress in the industry. However, she offers the following qualifi cation: “I would say that the women who are successful in what is such a male-dominated industry are generally very tough skinned since they have clearly show they are the equals of—and in most cases better than—their male colleagues. It may well be that these women do this subconsciously, in order to compensate for our wider lack of representation in the industry.”

She argues that this lack of representation is an issue that needs to be dealt with in, and by, the industry by encouraging more girls to pursue careers in engineering. “Unfortunately, the low number of girls graduating from top universities with engineering qualifi cations is a challenge,” she says.

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