While we all acknowledge that in recent decades there has been a general struggle to attract more women into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers, and this and this leads us to believe that our collective efforts have helped to increase the percentage of women, particularly in leadership roles, a recent study concluded that the gender gap for women in technology as a whole is actually worse today than it was in 1984.

The study, led by Accenture and Girls who Code, showed that 50% of women abandon technology careers by the age of 35 and that women are leaving tech roles at a 45% higher rate than men. Only 21% of women in the study said they believed the technology industry was a place they could thrive; sadly, that number falls precipitously to 8% for women of color.

And unfortunately, this gender gap in the tech sector is still not sufficiently explored. In Italy – as an expample of the country where our organization operates – we know that women are even less represented than in the labour market as a whole, but how this gender gap is perceived and experienced in their careers, is still said too little. An examination is needed to identify the key factors that are currently strengthening the gender gap; starting from the numbers and awareness of what is happening in these areas today represents only a first step, a push, to then find concrete solutions that can really help bridge the gender gap that can no longer be ignored and that risks denying us all those opportunities and benefits that inclusion would bring. The so-called digital divide, understood both in terms of access and use or training, is based on a series of stereotypes that continue to reinforce the perception that the technology sector is not a space for girls, young women and women. The gender gap is not only found in terms of representation or salary, but tech workers say that, in their sector, more than in the traditional one, men are struggling even to accept that women hold management roles, as if they were not. Moreover, one of the most common barriers to access in the tech world is the self-exclusion that women impose themselves. The lack of so-called “role models” or
inspirational models to look at is one of the reasons why today we struggle to have a balanced representation in the world of tech and STEM, and it is therefore important to work to build this narrative, bring and tell more and more female models in these areas. Another fundamental aspect, which negatively affects the narrative of the tech world experienced by women, is that related to the family management. Family burdens are perceived as an obstacle between women workers and career goals. Clearly it is not a new issue and not relegated to the tech world: in analyzing time management, it emerges that tech workers who have children or care for other people, mostly have to do it alone, adding a number of unpaid working hours which often makes reconciliation with the main job unsustainable.

Progress towards gender equity can only be ensured by providing accurate and relevant data in order to develop and implement effective strategies to reduce such inequalities, and through joint action and shared governance processes between public institutions, companies, educators and civil society.

– In order to create equal opportunities, it is necessary to promote a change in culture and organisational models to encourage and promote women’s leadership and to ensure that there is no discrimination and unequal treatment from the operational levels and then at any level of managerial growth. For this we must work on two macro levels: countering, starting from family and school, social conditioning and gender biases that discourage girls to focus on the study of STEM disciplines and ensuring that in companies and in the functions of the technology sector, we fight against gender discrimination.
– It is necessary to work from an inclusive, quality and equal education that promotes pathways free from gender bias and stereotypes, as well as promoting awareness-raising pathways for society, families and public and private institutions, so that appropriate measures are implemented to make technologies tools for greater
gender equality.
Informatics must be integrated into the education system to ensure that the digital revolution does not intensify inequalities and exclusions. Resources and training should be available to teachers and students in order to develop digital literacy skills and ensure that all technology is used effectively and fairly to contribute to learning and close the digital divide gender.
Do not think of nursing work as an exclusively female load. To turn the tide, it will be essential, therefore, that the status quo ceases to be such and that women, finally, do not feel all the weight on their shoulders.
Implement “blind hiring” practices that eliminate personal biases in the talent selection process. This practice consists of removing personal information during the selection process, changing the language in job advertisements to eliminate sexual prejudices in favor of male candidates, using different recruitment committees, recruiters trained to eliminate bias in the recruitment processes and use algorithm created by different teams that can support the candidate identification process. It would be necessary to disassemble the bias present in the algorithms to open gender data, that is in their production particular attention should be paid to the definition of gender so that then the analysis of data, as well as data governance, can
take into account and enhance the differences in habits, behaviors and man/ woman’s ways of thinking.
Governments should integrate computer education and digital technologies into national curricula and actively support and promote the participation of girls in these subjects to ensure that they have equal access to future employment opportunities.
Develop a gender-free career guidance model that includes work on soft skills. It is interesting to show the female references that use new technologies, to be taken as an example and inspiration for young women. Raise awareness, among students and their families, of career opportunities in computer science, more generally in STEM, and offer training, promote mentoring events using female role models.
Strengthen the link between the education system and the work system with short exercises, of different types depending on the educational level, the complexity of the activity and the skills for which the training takes place.
– With regard to companies, through a social dialogue with the government and workers’; representatives, they should support cohesive schemes of social protection that help stimulate the economic development and productivity of workers also in the STEM sector, especially among young people. Increasing the
competitive female workforce requires providing diverse opportunities to girls and young women – especially in high-growth economic sectors such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and “green” energy addressing the gender pay gap and providing flexible working conditions combined with adequate labour protection. In particular, such protection should include paid maternity and parental leave for both parents.
Technology and the Internet must be a catalyst for the empowerment of girls and young women rather than causing their profound economic exclusion. This means that girls and women must have equal access to new technologies, they must develop skills and knowledge to be able to use them and be involved in the creation of digital tools and solutions. Without this, digital tools will be alien to the needs, desires and rights of girls and women – unable to help them become the leaders and agents o tomorrow’s change. Without the effective participation of girls in ICT, future digital economies will only reproduce the current gender disparities in ownership, use and representation in the technological workforce.
– It’s crucial to make investments to improve the quality and effectiveness of general education and vocational training – Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). To this end, it is essential that investments in TVET are gender- changing and youth-sensitive, and that they bring together partners from the public and private sectors (especially employers).

Improving women’s access to STEM jobs, as well as having a positive impact on society itself and economic growth, would make them part of the transformation of the society they live and feed.


Accenture and Girls who Code Survey 2021
Correll, S. J. (2001). Gender and the Career Choice Process: The Role of Biased Self-
Assessments. American Journal of Sociology, 1691-1730
Mulas, M. (2014). Maschiacci: La costruzione del genere nel lavoro informatico. Regina