'The ICT sector must find a new gender balance if it wants to avoid underperformance and a huge skills shortage in coming years.
Can anyone name a woman who set up and run their own huge ICT company? In that hall of fame, the names you think of are Jobs, Gates, the Google guys, the Skype guys, Zuckerberg and his friends. It’s time we saw a woman on that list.
From classrooms to boardrooms to garage start-ups: my message is the same. There is no point in getting half of Europe digital. There is no place for macho nonsense in our digital future.
Let’s get Every Woman Digital!'
Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda
- the joint DG INFSO and Hungarian EU Presidency Budapest Conference 2011
On the one hand, the ‘traditional’ sectors in which women are employed are concentrated in the manufacturing industry, with around 85% of total female industrial employment. On the other hand there are the newly emerging ICT sectors, with 15%, and cutting-edge industry (aeronautics, chemical industry), where women are represented only to a small extent.
The Eurostat study on labour forces in the European Union shows that, of around 200 million people employed or exercising an economic activity in the European Union, more than 44% are women. On average, more than 14% of employed women work in industry, with this percentage rising to 25% or more in some countries.
It should be also noted that women represent around 65% of part-time workers in Europe. (European Parliament Report on the Role of Women in Industry).
In 2005, there were 6.6 million employed persons (or 3.4% of total employment) working in the EU-25 in high-tech knowledge-intensive services (KIS), which include post and telecommunications, computer and related activities, and research and development. Hightech manufacturing, which includes manufacture of computers, communication equipment and medical equipment, accounted for 1.1% of EU-25 total employment in 2005 (2.2 million persons employed).
Women were, in general, under-represented in high-tech manufacturing and in high-tech KIS sectors in 2005 . However, the proportion of women employed in these sectors was higher in the new EU Member States, such as Lithuania (51.8% women in high tech manufacturing and 53,8% women in high tech KIS) and Hungary (52.5% women in high tech manufacturing and 40.5% women in high tech KIS). The lowest percentage of women working in high-tech manufacturing was in Netherlands (26%), Finland (28.4%) and Sweden (29.8%). The lowest percentage of women in the high tech knowledge intensive sectors was in UK (24.6%), the Netherlands (25.5%) and Austria (28.1).
ECWT's response to the challenge
The ECWT actionplan will be based on a Regional Mapping of stakeholders, resources, good examples that will be carried out through the European Directory for Women and ICT supported by the European Commission DG INFSO to be launched in October 2009.
The Code of Best Practices signed by Aclatel-Lucent, IMEC, Miucrosoft, Motorola and Orange FT and presented to Madame Viviane Reding, Commissioner for the Information Society and Media the 3rd of March 2009 presents a number of best practices.
The British Computer Society (BCS) and Equalitec, UK, Member of the ECWT has during recent years taken a lead role in finding new solutions to recruiting and retaining girls and women in the ICT an related sectors. Their latest publications and presentation of findings and research results:
Women and IT Scorecard