April 22nd – RGI Group celebrates the International Girls in ICT Day, a day dedicated to drawing attention to the need for more girls and women in the ICT sector and raising awareness about women under-representation in this field, as well as encouraging more girls and young women to actively pursue careers in STEM.
With technology playing a crucial role in our society, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields of studies – indicated with the acronym STEM – are the object of increasing attention in education and in the economic scenario. Therefore, STEM students and graduates represent the future innovators and leaders in the most game-changing industry of our present – but research has shown that there are still many steps to be made in terms of girls and women representation.
Among the many studies on this topic, an insightful report published by Assolombarda titled “Osservatorio Talents Venture e STEAMiamoci sul Gender Gap nelle facoltà STEM” (Talents Venture and STEAMiamoci Observatory upon Gender Gap in STEM university courses) analyses and explains the numbers related to STEM students in Italian universities during last years, tracing a scenario where even if female students enrolled in university are a majority (55%), when it comes to the STEM courses the situation is completely inverted.
The most significant numbers of the study, which help understand the scenario and outline the status of women representation in Italian university are:
– In STEM degrees only 18,3% of the total number of female students choose STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) courses, against 61% of male students.
– In the most recent academic year female students accounted only for 37% of total students enrolled in scientific faculties, against 63% of male students.
– The gender gap highlighted by university enrollments is also reflected in the labour market, where, one year after graduation, employment levels for males after earning a STEM degree reach 91,8%, while it is 89,3% for females.
– Among the fields included in STEM, engineering is key. In recement years, the number of female students enrolled in engineering courses, from IT engineering to biomedical and environmental engineer grew fast, shifting from 20,9% in 2009/2019 to 24,1% in 2018/2019.
Anyways, gender gap in STEM and ICT is not an only an Italian problem, as it is widely spread across Europe and the world. The report explains that Italy is one of the best in Europe in terms of women representation, with the percentage of female students above the European average (16%). Therefore, considering Europe, the best performing country is Liechtenstein, where female students enrolled in STEM courses are 39%, followed by Greece (23%), Serbia (23%) and Germany (22%). On the other hand, the lowest performing countries are the Netherlands (7%) and Belgium (7%).
Filling the gender gap is more and more important, and when it comes to ICT companies can really make a difference to overcome the gender stereotypes and cultural bias that undermine girls’ choices to study STEM subjects at university, creating an inclusive and diverse workplace, ensuring gender equality, and exposing young women to positive leadership role models.
It is crucial to support every initiative that could empower girls to make mindful choices about their future careers and creating an equal workplace and encourage young women to pursue STEM-related studies and careers in ICT, as that is the key to increase female presence in these disciplines and leadership roles.