How the EU plans to close the gender gap in digital skills
One of the key reasons Europe is falling behind in its digital transformation is a shortage of digital skills. At an event last week, MEP Maria de Graça Carvahlo said that tackling this shortage could boost Europe’s digital economy and close the gender skills gap.
Industry stakeholders have already called for better digital education in Europe. They argue that this is essential to boost capacity and provide opportunities, especially for women.
We are living in an increasingly digital world, so it’s crucial that everyone has access to the economic opportunities this can bring. Digital technologies are central to economies and to society, so providing a strong digital education is now a must.
The EU has already approved a €2 billion package to fund projects related to the digital transition, and the subject is high on the list of priorities. A recent survey suggested that 30% of workers fear their job prospects will be affected by the ever-changing demands of technology.
As part of the Digital Decade targets. The European Commission hopes to provide at least 80% of Europeans with essential digital skills for 2030. In addition to this, it plans to focus on closing the gender gap in several areas, including ICT specialists, who are currently mostly men.
Another area the EU aims to work on is digital education. Leading industry figures and EU policymakers have agreed that strengthening education is important and that countries need to take a comprehensive, cross-border approach to STEM education.
Policymakers argue that, currently, the way ICT and other STEM subjects are taught in schools is stopping women from participating fully in these fields. Additionally, social expectations, parents, and teachers, all play a role in underestimating girls’ capabilities.
This can negatively affect their interest in the subjects from an early age, which has an impact on their education and job prospects in the digital economy.
MEPs say that making sure girls receive a strong ICT education from an early age would help to combat perceptions and encourage girls to take an interest in the subject.