Brussels, 3 March 2009
"The signing of this Code of Best Practices is a first step towards making high-tech jobs cool for girls and getting more women into the ICT sector. I congratulate those companies that today have the courage and conviction to commit to this Code, that will enrich the ICT sector by making it more female-friendly," said Viviane Reding, EU Telecoms Commissioner. "However, the ICT sector is only starting to realise the scale of the issue and how important it is to attract women, and to close the skills shortage we are facing in Europe. The ICT sector in Belgium currently faces a shortage of 10,100 IT qualified staff, in Poland 18,300, in Italy 2,800, in France 4.300, in Spain 41,800 and in Germany even 87,800! I call on other ICT companies to follow suit and sign the Code for Women and ICT by the end of this year."
Today, Commissioner Reding has overseen the signing of a Code of Best Practices for Women and ICT by five European and multinational companies: ALCATEL-LUCENT, IMEC, ORANGE-FRANCE TELECOM GROUP, MICROSOFT and MOTOROLA. This results from industry talks launched by Commissioner Reding on International Women's Day 2008 (IP/08/392). The Code aims to attract girls at school or university to the high-tech sector but also retain and promote women already working in this sector through:
The European Commission will closely monitor the implementation of this Code and will assess it in a year's time. "Such good practices need to be complemented by firm targets. One practical way to do this is to boost the representation of women in the Boards of ICT companies", said Commissioner Reding. "Today only 7% of board members in the 116 major ICT companies are women. Therefore, let's set ourselves a target to double this by 2015."
To raise awareness about Europe's female potential for ICT, Commissioner Reding launched in 2007 the "Shadowing Initiative" (IP/07/305) now organised yearly. On a Shadowing Day, young girls follow a successful woman from the ICT sector (engineer, executive or politician) through a typical working day, meet male and female ICT experts and get a taste of what it might be like to work in the ICT sector. In 2008, more than 100 girls took part in this shadowing initiative (IP/08/392).
In October 2008, at the Global Meeting of the Women's Forum for Economy and Society in Deauville, Commissioner Reding met other female leaders from politics and industry calling for more women with ICT skills ('Cyberellas', MEMO/08/631).
Today's signature of the Code of Best Practices on Women and ICT was accompanied by the conference "Cyberellas are IT!" in Brussels where Commissioner Reding presented a short clip on the shadowing exercise which took place in Lyon in November 2008. The videoclip "ICT is wicked" will be distributed to schools around Europe and is available online:
More information can be found at www.ec.europa.eu/itgirls.