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 a meagre 6 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.
Increasing the participation of women in the digital sector
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.
She 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 she is invited to only if there are at least two of the underrepresented gender.
Commissioner Gabriel 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 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 – 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 emphasized even more.