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.

Declaration on Gender-Balanced Company Culture

The European Commission has established a declaration to encourage companies to adopt a hands-on approach to close the digital gender divide in skills, inception of technologies, and access and career opportunities. The declaration was first launched at the Digital4Her event in June 2018, and can be signed online at any time by CEOs.

Sign the declaration

Digital4Her

The Digital4Her conference took place on 19 June 2018 where measures were taken to get more women into the digital sector. 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. Twenty IT companies co-signed a declaration committing to provide an inclusive and gender-balanced work culture and environment.

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.

Women in Digital Scoreboard

The European Commission has launched an annual scoreboard to monitor women's participation in the digital economy, on the occasion of the birthday of Ada Lovelace, considered as the world's first computer programmer. The Women in Digital (WID) scoreboard is one of the actions to assess women's inclusion in digital jobs, careers and entrepreneurship initiated by Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society. The Scoreboard assesses EU countries' performance in the areas of internet use and internet user skills, as well as specialist skills and employment, based on 13 indicators.

The WiD scoreboard is one of the actions put in place to assess women's inclusion in digital jobs, careers and entrepreneurship, initiated by the Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, Mariya Gabriel. The scoreboard assesses Member States' performance in the areas of Internet use, Internet user skills as well as specialist skills and employment based on 13 indicators.

The index allows four main types of analysis:

  • General performance assessment: to obtain a general characterisation of the performance of individual Member States by observing their overall index score and the scores of the main index dimensions.
  • Zooming-in: to pinpoint the areas where Member State performance could be improved by analysing individual indicators.
  • Follow-up: to assess whether there is progress over time.
  • Comparative analysis: to compare countries in similar stages of digital development so as to flag the need for improvement in relevant policy areas.

Explore more WiD

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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