Women's participation in the tech sector will provide a boost to the economy and allow for full participation in society. The European commission strives to encourage and empower women to play a more active role in the digital age through many actions and initiatives.

Woman looking at tactile map of Europe

Fewer women are interested in participating in the digital sector, be it higher education, jobs or entrepreneurships. The recent study on Women in the digital age confirms this worrying trend with only 24 out of every 1000 female graduates having an ICT related subject - of which only six go on to work in the digital sector. The findings of the study show that there is a decrease in this number when compared to 2011. The study also found that if more women were to enter the digital jobs market, it could create an annual EUR 16 billion GDP boost for the European economy.

Actions to increase the participation of women in digital

In view of the findings from the study, Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner in charge of Digital Economy and Society has outlined actions as part of her strategy that will facilitate an increase in the participation of women in the digital sector. The actions will focus on three main areas:

  • challenging stereotypes;
  • promoting digital skills and education;
  • advocating for more women entrepreneurs.

Her strategy outlines actions related to the focal points and will be implemented in the course of the next two years.

Digital4Her

The Digital4Her conference took place on 19 June 2018 where measures were taken to get more women into the digital sector. 20 IT companies co-signed a declaration committing to provide an inclusive and gender-balanced work culture and environment. The European Network for Women in Digital, an online database was launched at the event, and organisations working on girls/women in the digital sector can network and collaborate on ideas and experiences in this field.

A short working report on gender representation in audiovisual media was published on this occasion. The Commissioner announced that data on gender efforts of Member States will be measured and published in the annual Digital scoreboard of the European
Commission Digital Economy and Society Index. Ten prizes were awarded to the 10 women-led startups that were invited to pitch their projects at the event.

No Women No Panel

Commissioner Gabriel also launched the No Women No Panel Campaign, supported by other Commissioners, an initiative which aims to bring awareness on gender balanced in panels. She committed to participating in panels to which she is invited only if there are at least two of the under-represented gender.

Digital Skills Awards

The Commissioner also presented the special prize to a project that promotes digital skills for women and girls at the Digital Skills Awards 2017 to highlight this issue in all possible opportunities.

Background

Women are under-represented at all levels in the digital sector in Europe. Although the digital sector is rapidly growing, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs every year, the share of women in this sector is decreasing. Despite an increasing demand for ICT related skills and the soaring unemployment – the EU is projected to have a high shortage of digital skills by 2020.

The study published in 2013 on Women active in the ICT Sector shed light on the prevailing problem of the negative trend of women's participation in the digital sector. With a growing need for diversity and innovation in an increasingly digitalised world, this issue needs to be emphasised even more.

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