Brussels, 6 March 2014
“Tech is too important to be left to men!”
Europe's digital economy and app sector are booming, but where are the women?
Facts about women in the digital economy:
European Commission Vice-President @NeelieKroesEU said:
"Tech is too important to be left to men alone! Every week I meet more and more inspiring women in tech."
“ICT is no longer for the geeky few – it is cool, and it is the future! Only 9% of app developers are women? Come on! Give coding a try, see how fun it can be!"
"We wanted to provide a platform for women to tell their stories about getting ahead in tech. And there are so many success stories out there – so please share yours and help us to inspire the next generation!”
Join the campaign: Check out this collection of video's at ICTLadies. You can make your own video with your story about life in the digital sector. Share your video to the "Every Girl Digital" Facebook page.
The European Commission launches today a campaign to find and celebrate role models to encourage young women and girls to study and pursue careers in ICT. The Commission is inviting women (and men!) to create a video and share their own digital success story to inspire girls and women to think about tech.
Women can have great careers in technology, as testified by the inspirational women who kick off the campaign:
Monique Morrow, @mjmorrow, from Switzerland, says IT is a path she never thought she would take. But her ability to solve problems got her into the field; since then, IT has taken her across the world, across many domains, offered her many interesting experiences, she really enjoys it and thinks it's fun;
Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke, @WomensW4, from France, works in ICT for development. She talks about a transformative power of ICTs as catalysts for women empowerment and how connecting Bangladesh to the digital era brought her to what she is doing now. Her advice for girls? "Do IT, do IT, do IT"!
Sofia Svanteson, @sofiasvanteson, from Sweden, advises young women considering a career in tech to keep an open mind about what technology can be used for. She thinks that progress in tech cannot be for the sake of technology itself; when something is user-friendly and meaningful, that's when it can change peoples' lives for the better. Sofia finds it amazing to be part of this process.
Also sharing their stories are Eva Berneke, from Denmark, Anneke Burger, from The Netherlands, and Naomi Shah, from the United States. Find more inspiring stories here.
This campaign builds on a Commission study on women in the ICT sector, which found that the best way to get more women into tech jobs is by giving visibility to inspiring tech professionals, thus turning them into role models. Identifying career paths to inspire can also help women already working in technology stay in the sector throughout their career.
Attracting more women to tech careers is an economic imperative. If women held digital jobs as frequently as men, the European GDP could be boosted annually by around € 9 billion (1.3 times Malta's GDP), according to the study. Organisations which are more inclusive of women in management achieve a 35% higher Return on Equity and 34% better total return to shareholders than other comparable organisations.
Women are also particularly underrepresented in managerial and decision-making positions. Although this is a general problem, the percentage of female bosses in ICT is much smaller than in other sectors: 19.2% of ICT sector workers compared to 45.2% of non-ICT sector workers have female bosses.
Women entrepreneurs in the ICT sector earn 6% more than women non-entrepreneurs in the same sector. Women entrepreneurs in the ICT sector are more satisfied with their jobs, have a stronger feeling of a job well-done and earn more than women employees non-entrepreneurs in the ICT sector. On the negative side, however, they report a higher stress level.
To compound the problem, women leave the sector mid-career ("leaky pipeline" phenomenon) to a greater extent than men. Indeed, 20% of women aged 30 years with ICT-related bachelor degrees work in the sector, whilst only 9% of women above 45 years old with these degrees do so.
Meanwhile, employers report they have trouble finding ICT professionals and Europe could soon face a shortage of up to 900 000 ICT workers – potentially missing an opportunity to fight massive unemployment and risking its digital competitiveness.