26 European Member States and Norway have signed a declaration to encourage women to play an active and prominent role in the digital and technology sectors. They will work closely with the public and private sectors and civil society to achieve equality in tech.
The signatories of the Women in Digital Declaration will take action at national level in the following areas:
- Create a national strategy to encourage women’s participation in digital;
- Encourage broadcasters to promote a positive public image of women in digital;
- Establish a European Girls and Women in ICT day;
- Stimulate companies to combat gender discrimination at work;
- Advance a gender-balanced composition of boards, committees and bodies dealing with digital matters;
- Improve monitoring mechanisms and data collection in order to set improved targets.
Welcoming the signatures, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel said:
We are delighted to witness the Member States’ overwhelming support to the Declaration on Women in Digital and its commitments. Taking action to include more women in the digital sector, recognising the value of their contributions and talent is essential for constructing an inclusive, competitive and dynamic Digital Europe. Together, at all levels, we must approach this paramount issue as a common goal that spans disciplines and sectors. This Declaration is a solid step forward in the shaping of our digital Europe driven by our values, amongst which equality between men and women must stand high.
The low participation of women in the digital economy has complex and multifaceted roots. The main obstacles are gender bias and socio-cultural constructs, which at different life stages dissuade girls and women from taking up Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) studies and careers.
Women can be encouraged to participate actively in the digital economy by, for example, combating digital gender-related stereotypes, promoting role models, motivating girls early on to explore STEM studies, stimulating the re-skilling or upskilling of women, mentoring schemes, or improving the image of ICT jobs.
Signatory Countries of the Declaration
The following countries signed the Declaration on Digital Day 2019: Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Cyprus, France, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, The United Kingdom and Norway.
Other countries have joined since the launch of the initiative:
The EU is facing an unparalleled shortage of ICT professionals. Women account for 52% of the European population, yet hold only 15% of ICT-related jobs. Only 1 in 6 ICT specialists is a woman in the EU, and only 1 in 3 STEM graduates is a woman. Increasing women's visibility and empowerment in the digital economy would drive economic growth and wider social progress. Today’s Declaration builds on the Presidency conclusions of 6 December 2018 on gender equality, youth and digitalisation and the Declaration on gender equality signed by 27 Member States on 12 October 2018.