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International Women’s Day 2018: fostering a greater female presence in the digital sector

By Gender EqualityNo Comments

The International Women’s Day 2018, held on March 8th around the world, has served as a platform to demand an increase in the participation of women in the digital sector.

According to the new study “Women in the Digital Era”, there is currently an increase in the gender gap in the participation of men and women in the digital sector in education, professional careers and entrepreneurship.

In line with this uneven situation and coinciding with the International Women’s Day 2018, European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel (in charge of Economy and Digital Society in the EU) explained her strategy to increase the participation of women in the digital sector.

The strategy proposed by the Commissioner is based on three fundamental pillars:

  • Fight against gender stereotypes and promote role models concurring with the International Women’s Day 2018

For the European Commissioner, the problem lies in the lack of female references in the technology sector. Although the EU has already legislated on this matter, the media do not reflect the current reality.

This is due, fundamentally, to the fact that audiovisual content is mostly made by men. For this reason, the Commissioner proposes to evaluate and improve the situation by promoting gender equality in the audiovisual sector.

In addition, women in the cybersecurity sector only represent 7% of the sector’s workforce in the EU. For this reason, Mariya Gabriel has started the campaign “No Women no Panel” to encourage the presence of women in the discussion forums, in which she will participate only if there is at least two people from the less represented gender.

  • Allow, promote and motivate girls to learn digital skills and take STEAM courses (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics).

Statistics show that only 24 out of every 1,000 graduates in the STEAM fields are women. The society needs to raise this small number and, for this, specific actions are being implemented from the EU.

For example, there is already the “EU Code Week” (in 2018 it takes place from October 6 to 21), in which 46% of women already participate. The goal is to reach 50% in 2020.

In addition, in 2017 a special prize was presented that promotes digital skills in women and girls called “Digital Skills Awards“.

  • Allow and encourage more women to participate in digital entrepreneurship and innovation

The female gender is underrepresented in digital start-ups. In particular, there are 23% of female employees in this type of company and only 19% of digital entrepreneurs are women.

Therefore,  two initiatives at European level that aim to help reverse this situation have been implemented:

  1. WeHubs, the first European community that connects business ecosystems in support of women entrepreneurs in the digital sector.
  2. EU Prize for Women Innovators, which recognizes the work of women entrepreneurs in the digital sector.

The gender gap in the digital sector is a cause for concern since, by 2020, the EU will have shortages of qualified personnel in digital areas. Therefore, matching up with the International Women’s Day 2018, it is important that the European institutions promote the role of women in this sector.

If you wish to know more about the International Women’s Day 2018, please click here.