Increased participation of women in the tech sector will boost the economy and allow for their full participation in society. The European Commission's initiatives encourage and empower women to play a more active role in the digital age.

Woman looking at tactile map of Europe

Fewer women are interested in participating in the digital sector, be it higher education, jobs or entrepreneurship. The Commission's study Women in the digital age (2018) confirms this trend with only 24 out of every 1000 female tertiary graduates having an ICT related subject - of which only six go on to work in the digital sector. The study's findings show 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, the Commission outlined a strategy to increase women's participation in the digital sector, focussing on:

  • Challenging digital gender stereotypes;
  • Promoting digital skills and education;
  • Advocating for more women entrepreneurs.

Women in Digital Scoreboard 2019

The Commission’s Women in Digital (WID) Scoreboard monitors women’s participation in the digital economy. 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.

As of 2019, the Women in Digital (WiD) scoreboard is an integral part of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). It is the benchmark for the strategy and an important measuring tool that enables setting informed and relevant targets.

Some of the key findings of the WiD 2019 scoreboard show that:

  • Just like last year, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg, and Denmark have the highest score on the WiD Scoreboard.
  • Women are the least digital in Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, and Italy marking no change from last year.
  • There is a strong correlation between the WiD Index and the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). Member States who lead in digital competitiveness are also leaders in women in digital.
  • Luxembourg, France, and Spain are more advanced in women in digital than in overall digital.
  • There is a gender gap in all the 13 indicators at EU level. The gap is largest in ICT specialist skills and employment.
  • Only 17% of ICT specialists are women. The same ratio for STEM graduates is 34%.
  • Women in the information and communication sector earn 19% less than men.
  • In digital skills, there is a gender gap of 11%. The gap is higher for above basic skills and especially for those above 55 years

Explore more WiD

Member States' Declaration of commitment on women in digital

Twenty-seven EU ministers and Member States’ representatives plus Norway signed the Declaration of commitment on Women in Digital at Digital Day on 9 April 2019. The aim is to raise the political priority of women's under-representation in the digital economy, so that:

  • Every Member State has a cross-sectoral national plan on women in digital (stand-alone or integrated in their existing digital agenda); 
  • All Member States celebrate Girls and Women in ICT Day on the same day across the EU to raise awareness of the contribution women can make to the digital economy; 
  • Actors from the private, public and non-profit sectors work in a coordinated way to tackle the problem’s diverse manifestations.
  • Monitoring and indicators on the evolution of women’ engagement and participation in the digital economy and society continuously improve, helping set informed national targets aligned with the Scoreboard indicators.

Declaration on an inclusive company culture

The Commission encouraged companies to close the digital gender divide in their organisations by signing a declaration of commitment available for signing online by CEOs.
Twenty-three IT companies have signed a declaration committing to provide an inclusive and gender-balanced work culture and environment.

Sign the declaration

CEO signatories

The European Network for Women in Digital, aims to connect like-minded organisations working on girls/women in the digital sector, helping them to network and collaborate. 

No Women No Panel

The No Women No Panel Campaign, supported by a number of European Commissioners, aims to bring awareness to gender balance in panels.

Digital Skills Awards

Commissioner Mariya Gabriel presented the special prize to a project that promotes digital skills for women and girls at the Digital Skills Awards 2017.

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 suffer from a shortage of digital skills by 2020.

Useful Links

Progress by country