European Commissioner Vice-President Neelie Kroes has blogged about it again: women are still under-represented in the ICT sector.
I continue to find it troubling that women are under-represented in the ICT sector at every level, and particularly in decision-making positions. And the situation doesn’t seem to be getting better.
I’m worried when people assume that ICT careers wouldn’t offer exciting opportunities for women. But if women are going into the sector and not being made to feel welcome, well, that worries me even more...
We need to make sure we aren’t putting barriers in the way of anyone, in particular that we aren’t keeping women from fulfilling their potential. And in particular that girls and young women, at the stage of career planning, are aware of what they can achieve in this sector...
Although we don’t know exactly what the under-representation rates are, she did write a ‘charged’ comment in an earlier blog, when she said: ‘Can anyone name a woman who set up and run their own huge ICT company? In that hall of fame, the names you think of are Jobs, Gates, the Google guys, the Skype guys, Zuckerberg and his friends. It’s time we saw a woman on that list.’
In this week’s blog, the vice-president describes efforts in the European Union (such as the European Commission's Code of Best Practices for Women and ICT). She also refers to a recent meeting with European Parliament colleagues, who asked themselves why are women deterred, and what could be done about it.
It’s useful to know what the group concluded at the meeting. Is it because women do not feel welcomed? Is it because ICT professions are still generally associated with men? Or is it because - as one commentator put it - this passion is more common in men than in women, and that maybe it's better to just accept that many women would rather work in a different field?
The meeting’s conclusions will feed into a ‘bigger gathering’ in October. Meanwhile, the vice-president asks: Do you share these concerns? What do you think the European Commission, the industry and our education system could do about them?