Measures to support female entrepreneurship in the digital world

Measures to support female entrepreneurship in the digital world

As of 2019, the Women in Digital (WiD) scoreboard is an integral part of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) and an essential tool for monitoring Member States’ performances and the employment of women in the digital economy. However, in some Member States such as Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Italy, the gender gap is still evident. Furthermore, only 17 % of information and communication technology (ICT) specialists in the EU are women and only a small proportion of women attend degree courses in the IT sector.

In a question to the European Commission submitted on 25 August 2020, Italian Member of European Parliament (MEP) Gianantonio Da Re of the Identity and Democracy Political Group (ID), asked the European Commission what programmes and solutions is the Commission proposing “to raise awareness of the new market requirements and strengthen the digital skills of women?” and “what specific measures does [it] intend to take to increase the number of qualified female managers in emerging areas such as cloud computing, engineering, data management and artificial intelligence?”

These questions were responded to by the Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, on behalf of the European Commission. His response emphasized that “the updated Skills Agenda for Europe of 1 July 2020 aims at making sure skills provision is inclusive and in line with needs” and that “the Skills Agenda sets an ambitious objective on digital upskilling and reskilling by 2025, 230 million adults, 70% of the population, should have at least basic digital skills and will also support ICT-Jump-Start trainings to provide short-term intensive ICT training, with a focus on gender-balanced participation”.

Commissioner Schmit explained that “as stated in the EU Gender Equality Strategy, it is of utmost importance to take into account women and girls in the digital transition” and “in its action on increasing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) graduates and fostering transversal and entrepreneurial skills, the Agenda aims to raise the attractiveness of STEM and ICT studies and careers, including focused activities on countering gender stereotypes and perceptions”.

He further reported that “the recently adopted Digital Education Action Plan 2021-2027 considers gender equality as a transversal topic that is promoted through many actions and offers a dedicated action to support women in pursuing studies and careers in STEM and the digital field, such as dedicated activities and content for young girls at primary, secondary and higher education level”.

Finally, Commissioner Schmit stated that “under the April 2019 Women in Digital Declaration, Member States committed to boosting women’s participation in the digital and technology sectors”. He additionally added that “the European Social Fund Plus will support the development of digital skills at all levels and for all, including women” and “the proposed Digital Europe Programme aims to build the strategic digital capacities of the EU, strengthening investments in supercomputing, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and the development of advanced digital skills”.

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