Today is International Girls in ICT Day – an opportunity to get more women of all ages and background interested in computer science. Currently, women represent just 30% of Europe’s ICT workforce; yet 90% of all future jobs will rely on digital skills.
It’s clear we need a common European effort to spark, promote and maintain female interest in technology, whether to ensure the future talent pipeline within the ICT industry, or simply to equip women with the skills they’ll need to succeed in Europe’s future workplaces.
Policymakers are increasingly conscious of the need to prepare Europe’s youth, especially girls and young women, for new job opportunities within the evolving digital economy, and several MEPs have lent their support to efforts to close the digital skills gap. But everyone needs to play their part. For many years we’ve been working to strengthen the role of women in technology. This year, we’ve teamed up with non-profit organizations, governments and industry leaders to raise awareness of STEM and ICT careers amongst young women, as part of our #MakeWhatsNext campaign celebrating female innovators throughout history and motivating the next generation to make their mark in ICT.
We are organizing 50 trainings and mentoring sessions across 27 countries in Europe, giving 7,300 girls and young women access to digital skills workshops to prepare them for the digital economy. We want to help these young women become creators, rather than just consumers, of tech, by teaching them computational thinking and problem-solving skills. The objective is to help close the gender gap in the field of computer science and to introduce the potential pioneers of tomorrow to women already doing great things in tech today.
Writing in EurActiv today, Microsoft’s Director of Citizenship Europe, Sylvie Laffarge, highlights the importance of such efforts, not just for women’s individual achievements, but for Europe’s economic prosperity as a whole.
“Empowering girls and young women to strive for excellence in their careers goes hand in hand with successfully building a Digital Single Market in Europe. The more people equipped with the skills they need to succeed in tomorrow’s workplace, the more we can adapt to the transformative power of technology while keeping our economy growing,” notes Sylvie. “Simply put, when women win, everyone wins.”
To learn more, read Sylvie’s full opinion article in EurActiv.