The number of people working in the IT sector is growing rapidly, but the proportion of women is declining
Women in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), including information and communication technologies (ICT) are significantly under-represented.
According to the Ministry of Investments, Regional development and Informatization of the Slovak republic the IT sector is suffering from a global chronic shortage of ICT specialists. Women are under-represented at all levels of the digital sector in Europe. Despite the fact that the digital sector is growing rapidly, creating incrementally thousands of new jobs each year, the proportion of women in this sector is declining. Although there is a demand for ICT skills as well as rising unemployment, the EU is expected to suffer from a digital skills shortage by 2020. 52% of the EU population are women, but they represent only 17% of all ICT specialists and earn 19% less than men for the same work. In Slovakia, women only represent 13.7% of all ICT specialist, placing our country below the EU average.
According to the study of the European Commission Women in the Digital age, the annual productivity loss for the European economy of women leaving their digital jobs to become inactive is calculated to be about 16.2 billion EUR.
The international project PRACE, in which Slovakia is represented by the Centre of Operations of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and which covers many of the HPC activities in Europe, brought attention to the examples of successful women working in this field in the Women in HPC publication. This publication is focuses on progress in the field of HPC and also on successful women in HPC sector. The number of women working in HPC is growing day by day, said Dr Sylvie Joussaume, the Chair of the PRACE Scientific Steering Committee.
In Slovakia, the AjTyvIT organization contributes to improving the balance of women in the IT fields by organizing educational events and courses for girls and women.
An IT community portal – robimeit.sk – publishes interviews with women in IT, bringing inspirational stories to the audience.
At the National Competence Center for HPC in Slovakia we follow the equal opportunity standards and adhere strictly to the anti-discrimination principles. We hope to join in the effort to increase the number of women studying or working in the IT field in our activities during the following year.
UN Women announces the theme for International Women’s Day, March8th, 2021 (IWD 2021) as, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” On this occasion, the National Competence Center for HPC in Slovakia would like to extend the best wishes to all women and men to find the courage to challenge and lead our society to a positive change.
Text: Halyna Hyryavets, Centre of Operations of the Slovak Academy of Sciences