European Commission released a new report about Women in the Digital Age – evidence indicates there is still a growing gender digital divide

Image from Azer News

Image from Azer News

The European Commission released a new report titled “Women in the Digital Age,” which “aims to identify key factors and trends in the participation of women in ICT and its dynamics and analyses the practices enabling women’s participation in the digital world.” Based on data trends and a qualitative analysis, the report indicates that strong unconscious biases about gender and technology persist, regardless of the rapid economic achievements of the digital transformation.

The report gathered information from public and private databases, including data from Eurostat, the European Institute for Gender Equality, the Eurobarometer, Stack Overflow and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Some of the main results indicate that:

  • There is a negative trend in the number of people with formal ICT-related education in both genders, however, the gap between men and women increased slightly.
  • There was a slight growth both for men and women in digital jobs employment. However, the growth rate was higher for men, resulting in a wider gender gap. Additionally, the effect of tertiary ICT-related studies on employability was only positive for men.
  • European women presented a drop-out rate for digital jobs four times higher than the one for men between 30 and 44 years old.
  • Only 14.8% of start-up founders were female. The European state with the highest rate of female entrepreneurs was Lithuania reaching 39.5%.
  • Gender inequality in leadership positions is still almost twice that of inequality in the general labor force.

The report additionally presents some of the main challenges and barriers that women face to pursue technology careers. These include unconscious biases, problems related to personal life, low transparency and inclusiveness in business policies, the lack of role models, entrenched stereotypes, weak business networks and gender differences in the sector of activity.

Overall, the report states that bridging the gender digital divide requires strategic changes on the entire organizational culture, education and social awareness, innovative and coordinated solutions that are constant and sustained, and local implementation to global visibility and commitment.

Source: European Commission