Today DEL4ALL celebrates Women and Girls in Science Day!
According to the She Figures 2021 report, the number of female doctorate graduates keeps growing, indicating that efforts to close the gender gap in higher education have been working. In fact, in 2019, several European countries had female majorities in science and engineering.
At regional level, scientist and engineer women were the majority in 13 EU regions:
- five regions of Spain: the North-East (53%), North-West, Canary Islands and East (all 52%) and Centre (51%),
- two regions of Poland: Eastern (54%) and Central (51%),
- North and South-East Bulgaria (57%), Madeira in Portugal (57%), Northern Sweden (56%), as well as Lithuania (55%), Latvia (53%) and Denmark (52%): all three single regions at this level of detail.
The gender gap issue in specific industries
Despite the positive tendency and continuous growth of the number of female doctoral graduates, the under-representation of women in senior academic and decision-making positions continues to hinder economic growth in European countries. While women tend to be over-represented in the field of Education, they are still under-represented in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Engineering, Manufacturing & Construction. Moreover, the recent Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 (European Commission, 2020b) emphasized that gender segregation in subject choices can contribute to women’s under-representation in higher-paid sectors and over-representation in lower-paid sectors.
Solving the gender gap problem
Solving the issue of under-representation is a complex undertaking. There is no one solution as each EU member state deals with a set of cultural, economic, and geographical challenges. Nevertheless, according to collected data, the path to diminishing these inequalities starts at an early education level and continues and continues through a holistic support system. There is a growing need for policies supporting women’s participation in STEM fields such as state-appointed maternity leaves, punishing discriminatory workplace behavior, and anti-biased recruitment laws. Luckily, thanks to digitization, we are now operating with an array of tools that enable flexibility and accessibility with the potential to empower more girls and women joining the field of science. Ensuring that these tools are used to further education while simultaneously targeting support towards under-represented groups is essential to establishing equality across economic sectors.
Last year DEL4ALL organized a webinar titled DEL4ALL Women in Science World Café featuring prominent female experts Perrine de Coëtlogon, Advocate of Blockchain & Open Education, Universite de Lille, Angeliki Dedopoulou, Senior Manager of EU Public Affairs, Huawei, Prof Carmen Holotescu, Director & Dean, Center for Open Education and Blockchain, University Ioan Slavici, Timișoara, Prof Athina Karatzogianni, Professor in Media and Communication, University of Leicester, Alessia Messuti, Learning Innovation Officer, International Training Centre of the International Training Organization, ILO, and Dr. Natalie Smolenski, Vice President of Global Digital Credentials, Hyland.
During the event, speakers discussed achievements in the field of emerging technologies for education and shared their thoughts on the ongoing effort to encourage more women to take a role in the STEM field.