Girls in Tech
A Call to Action for the Industry, Policymakers & Educators
In current times, in spite of the indisputable need to have far more women involved in IT & tech careers, the gender imbalance in the industry still remains far more stagnant than mobile. In this regard, a central issue to recognize is that gender imbalance in the tech field does not just suddenly surface at a time when young women embark on their careers. Rather, career expectations are molded at a very early stage in life and become further entrenched as girls grow up. A clear cognizance of this issue has led to this white paper being produced by the eco Association and released on the occasion of International Girls in ICT Day 2022. The paper is founded not just on top-notch research studies, but also on insights from 15 role models from IT & tech companies and associations in Europe, the US and Africa. Based on the findings and insights, the far-reaching white paper not only sets out lessons and recommendations for companies, but also key policy guidelines for policymakers & educators.
As the paper spells out, there are far less women than men employed as specialists in the Internet industry: In the US, just 26 percent of all tech professionals are women, while in the EU the figures hover just above 18 percent. The roots of this imbalance are embedded at an early age, with girls’ confidence starting to dip at the age of six, while by the age of 15, a startling ten times more boys than girls are interested in becoming tech professionals. It is therefore imperative for the whole of society to get to grips with the issues holding girls back in the tech field: this is the multi-faceted challenge that the white paper seeks to address.
“At DE-CIX, we ensure the visibility of the women we have in our workforce. We are very proud of this diverse culture and we shout it out. Our Women in Tech are getting up on stages, they are speakers at conferences and in webinars, so that the whole world out there sees this vibrant diversity that we value so much.”
CPO DE-CIX and eco Association
“From what I have seen – especially for those girls who have already been stereotyped and who have been told that technology is for boys and men – when that technology is baked in into what they love doing, then those fears and those stereotypes can melt away.”
Senior Director, Training and e-Learning at the Internet Society
“We are currently experiencing a shift of values in our society. I see the co-design of new, hybrid work models in connection with work-life balance and homeschooling concepts as extremely exciting for a career in the tech industry.”
Regional Vice President Sales Germany, Member of Executive Board Germany, Equinix
“Inspiration for girls really comes down to play, to joyful interaction with technology – whether that’s video games, learning to code, or having fun with those new quasi robotic LEGO pieces. Having those opportunities available to girls from an early age is extremely important. This is a thing you’re going to need when you grow up, but it’s not just used for adult things. This is something that can be fun. This is something that can be played with.”
Head of Compliance, TCX; Working Group Chair, i2Coalition Diversity & Inclusion Initiative
"At eyeo, we are able to shift the imbalance continuously to the better. We’re proud that, over the last 10 years, we doubled the female ratio of employees from around 20% to now over 44%."
Chief Operating Officer, eyeo
"The best way to describe the tech sector is: Open, dynamic, innovative, and in constant motion. There is room for new ideas and progressive solutions and you can really feel how something is happening in the tech sector. This sense of a fresh breeze is inspiring and sets off future-oriented ideas."
Fieldfisher Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten GmbH (Law Firm)
“Digitalization offers a multitude of versatile fields of work with a great deal of creative freedom and enormous opportunities for advancement – with the development of artificial intelligence or the topic of cybersecurity being just some of these facets.”
Technical Vice Director, ITZBund (German Federal Information Technology Centre)
Image: © C. Daitche
“There are so many other jobs in IT besides the cliché of the ‘nerd in the black hoodie’ and I am convinced that every person with an interest in digital topics can find their niche.”
Consultant at Azola
Contents of the white paper
- Executive Summary
- The Crux of the Matter
- Facts & Figures
- The Digital Gender Gap: A Vicious Circle
- Call on IT & Tech Companies for Action
- A Digital Education Agenda for Policymakers & Educators
Request for the white paper
More on this topic from eco
It’s no secret that, in the Internet industry, there are currently far less women employed as specialists than men. But luckily, for any company who may in the past have assumed that many women don’t want to work as tech specialists, there is now strong evidence of what can make a real difference in recruiting and retaining women. This is the subject of a study published by the eco Association: "Women in Tech Across the Globe: A Good Practice Guide for Companies".