Closing the Digital Gender Gap
Technology has the potential to reshape the world we live in. The European Union has recognized this by allocating 20% of the €750 billion NextGenerationEU budget – a total of €150 billion – to the digital transformation of Europe’s industry and society. But with just 17% of women working in the ICT (Information and Communication Technology) branch, Europe’s tech start-ups are still overwhelmingly dominated by men.
Despite the impact of COVID falling disproportionately on women, 92 out of 100 investor dollars in Europe still go to all-male tech start-up founders. In spite of good intentions, Next Generation EU risks reinforcing a general tendency to a growing digital gender gap and gender lifetime earnings gap that leaves women behind in terms of access to jobs, education, and opportunities. The good news is: We can still turn the situation around if we change the training and funding system.
The first panel targets issues of stereotypes and exclusion from the tech world and ways to overcome them. According to the motto “Fix the digital sector instead of ‘fixing’ the women”, the following experts discuss the current situation and outline possible solutions:
- Christiane Canenbley (Deputy Head of Cabinet of Executive Vice-President Vestager responsible for Europe Fit for the Digital Age)
- Francesca Bria (President of the Italian National Innovation Fund, economic advisor and digital policy expert),
- MEP Maria Graça Carvalho (EPP, Member of the ITRE, AIDA and FEMM Committee) and
- MEP Alexandra Geese (Greens/EFA, Member of the IMCO and BUDG Committee, Green coordinator in the AIDA committee, initiator of the campaign #halfofit).
The second panel is focused on the topic of “Tech Career Training” and will discuss the importance of tech education targeting adult women, who need greater workforce inclusion today – not in 20 years. Hearing from tech pioneers in women’s and minority tech education in Europe, the panelists are:
- Dr. Nakeema Stefflbauer, founder of the initiative “Frauen-Loop”, who will debate with
- Rosanna Kurrer, Co-founder of the cybersecurity-upskilling training “Cyberwayfinder” and
- Tolúlọpẹ́ Ògúnrẹ̀mí, founder of Coders of Colour in the U.K. and an NGO
The final panel discusses how we can invest in the future of women. Focused on why receiving funding is much more difficult for women than for men, why all-female start-ups still seem to be at a disadvantage, and what needs to change for women to receive more investment in the future, we welcome:
- MEP Eva Kaili (S&D), Chairwoman of the European Parliament Panel on the Future of Science and Technology (STOA)
- Shiva Dustdar, Head of Innovation Finance at the European Investment Bank,
- Nora Bavey, Partner at Unconvential Ventures, a public angel syndicate and
- Mariana Duarte Silva, entrepreneur, Village Underground Lisboa
This initiative was created by
Alexandra Geese, Member of the European Parliament
Dr. Nakeema Stefflbauer, Founder of Frauenloop