Tech ‘Too Important To Be Left To Men’ Says Neelie Kroes

Neelie Kroes launches new campaign to get more women involved in technology ahead of National Women’s Day

The technology industry is too male-dominated, European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes has said at an event to highlight National Women’s Day.

The leader of the EU’s Digital Agenda program has said that more women need to get involved in the technology industry, saying that “ICT is no longer for the geeky few – it is cool, and it is the future! Only 9 percent of app developers are women? Come on! Give coding a try, see how fun it can be!”

Kroes’ comments came as she attended an event to promote the Every Girl Digital initiative aimed at attracting role models to inspire young women and girls interested in technology to study and pursue careers in ICT.

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The campaign looks to build on recent research by the EC 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.

“Tech is too important to be left to men alone! Every week I meet more and more inspiring women in tech,” Kroes said.

“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!”

The EC research also found a striking imbalance between the genders working in the technology sector. It found that less than 30 percent of the European ICT workforce is female, and this could fall further as the number of qualified candidates is dropping, with just three percent of female graduates having a degree in computing, compared to ten percent of men.

Some areas of the technology industry are particularly under-represented, with a mere nine of every hundred app developers in Europe being female. Only 19 percent of ICT managers are women (compared to an average of 45 percent in other service sectors), with 19 percent of ICT entrepreneurs being female, again much lower than in other sectors (54 percent). However, female tech entrepreneurs earn six percent more on average than other sectors, and are more satisfied with their jobs, although they do report a higher stress level.

The EC study proposes that attracting more women to the technology industry could be a perfect way to fill the skills gap currently encountered by many employers. It states that Europe could soon face a shortage of up to 900,000 ICT workers which could be filled by female candidates, and that if there were as many women in so-called ‘digital jobs’ as frequently as men, the European GDP could be boosted annually by around €9 billion, higher than the GDP of Malta.

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