Launch of Guidelines to increase and retain women in ICT

Launch of Guidelines to increase and retain women in ICT

Article by eSkills Malta Foundation published in The Sunday Times of Malta 01.04.2018

The eSkills Malta Foundation is the National Coalition forming part of the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs. Most of the Digital Coalitions host pledges to increase the participation of girls and women in digital jobs. As part of the Digital Agenda, the eSkills Malta Foundation has made this an important part of its objectives.

Throughout history, the roles of men and women in society the family and at work have not been structured in the same way. Women have often been denied the opportunity to change their unequal position in the world. Although society is constantly evolving there still exists a certain gender imbalance which has led to many negative effects in the labour market.

Unfortunately, all over the world, statistics are published much later than what one wishes, but this is only because various checks and balances need to tie up. 57% of tertiary graduates in the EU are women, but only a quarter of these graduate in an ICT related field. Furthermore, only 13% of these end up working in digital jobs. More worrying is that globally indications are that women’s participation in the digital sector is not improving significantly.

We need women to participate in ICT education and in digital professions. Women who work in the digital sector tend to leave it at a greater rate than men, so we must find ways to retain women who take up digital careers. Perhaps we need an evolution of working conditions in the ICT sector from a gender perspective. We should be encouraging more female digital entrepreneurs, only 14.8% of European start-up founders are female. On a positive front female leadership in Europe have increased from 13.9% in 2011 to 25% in 2015.

The Foundation is aware that, despite the evidence that allowing more women to enter the digital jobs market can create an annual € 9 billion GDP boost in the EU area, there is still a very large ICT gender gap in Europe. With this in mind, the eSkills Malta Foundation has researched the area and has come up with a set of practical guidelines that should be considered by the Digital Industry. The ‘Guidelines to Increase and Retain Women in ICT’ have been drawn up to help addressing the issue of the low percentage of women in the ICT sector. They are also aimed at all the relevant stakeholders, be they small, medium and large enterprises together with NGOs, gender equity advocacy coalitions, the media, educators, career advisors, the government and decision makers.

The launch will be attended by Hon Minister Helena Dalli, Minister for European Affairs and Equality and Hon Silvio Schembri Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy & Innovation. Both Hon members will be taking part in the panel discussion. The launch of the Guidelines will be held on Wednesday 11th April 2018 at the MITA Data Centre Sta Venera. Registration commences at 1030hrs.