WWWhat? No ICT without you!

Bitten by digital? Mad about programming? Or interested in all aspects of information science? Then a course in ICT or STEM might just be the thing!

Towards a strong and fully inclusive digital economy!

As society grows more than ever interwoven with the digital world, the labour market cannot lag behind. Digital literacy, advanced skills and soft skills are more important than ever. Yet the figures reveal a significant gender gap: women only make up 17% of all ICT jobs in the European Union. 

The Belgian federal government, the FPS Economy, the private sector and other bodies have therefore drawn up a five-year plan to encourage more girls and women into STEM and ICT jobs.

The ‘Women in Digital’ strategy aims to: 

  • explore the how and why of the gender gap, 
  • raise public awareness, 
  • reache out to the most vulnerable groups.

The 5 strategic objectives of the “Women in Digital” plan

Only 7 in 1,000 women graduated in a STEM subject in 2020. The discovery of the digital world starts during childhood. So it is important to get girls interested in IT right from the start! Digital skills are first taught in primary school and used on a day-to-day basis throughout secondary school. As partner entities, we encourage students in the final year of secondary education to choose ICT and STEM subjects at college or university.

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Women make up 52% of the population in Belgium, but only 17% of them find their way into the digital sector! Recruitment of women into the digital sector or into jobs requiring digital skills must be supported. To achieve this, we gamble on career guidance or professional reorientation, so that women can consider a career change. We also encourage female entrepreneurship in the digital sector or sectors requiring digital skills.

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Very few women enter the ICT professions. At the same time, we can observe a higher rate of women than men leaving them. By removing obstacles and promoting an inclusive culture at work, we can retain women in a workplace where ‘lifelong learning’ is the norm!  We also address this issue by supporting work-life balance and eliminating the 19% pay gap. Finally, we ensure that women inspire each other’s success by building a strong peer community.

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Computer science and ICT are seen as masculine sectors. School books and the media still too often portray scientists as men. This project therefore aims to increase the visibility of female role models. In order to achieve this, we greatly increase the presence of women in the digital sector, on or off screen. We also organise special events and communication campaigns to further raise awareness. For extra impact, the FPS Economy promotes the cooperation between the public and private sectors.

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By inclusive, we really do mean ‘inclusive’! This means targeting women from vulnerable groups and giving them decent opportunities. The plan thus promotes cultural diversity in the digital sector, while making this sector attractive to women of foreign origin. As digital skills are constantly evolving, we also offer reskilling and upskilling to female entrepreneurs and managers, enabling them to remain relevant players in their field.

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The figures speak for themselves

Almost four times as many men as women work in ICT

0 %
Women
0 %
Men

Source : European Commission – Digital Scoreboard

Between 2015 and 2020, the number of women in ICT increased slowly

0 %
2015
0 %
2020

Source : Eurostat, European Union Labour Force Survey

There are still far more men graduating in STEM subjects than women

0
Women/
1.000 inhabitants
0
Men/
1.000 inhabitants

Source : European Commission – Digital Scoreboard

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"Never let yourself be influenced by gender roles or stereotypes. Choose where your interests and talents lie."

Ayla is a technical consultant and full-stack developer at AE. She writes code for IT applications, dealing with both User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX). She underlines what IT can do for people. She helped build a platform that has a positive impact on society. Ayla experiences the IT world as open to women and encourages everyone to be guided by their own interests and not by stereotypes.

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