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Neelie Kroes criticises lack of women in ICT

image of EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes
EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes
Today is International Women’s Day and Neelie Kroes, the European Union Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, has drawn attention on her blog not only to the opportunities that ICT can provide for women, but also to the dearth of women employed in ICT.

She writes:

I think every woman should have the tools and skills she needs to take control of her own life. Not to be trapped by social expectations, financial dependence or a lack of the right skills.

There’s no doubt for me that ICT is a powerful tool here. Not only is it the key to tomorrow’s labour market, with ICT skills in strong demand. But it can also help achieve your life goals, whatever they are.

From the confidence to use an online forum to find out about family health problems – to the web design skills that can turn that hobby into a viable business: ICT can help you for every kind of profession and for every kind of life ambition. And improve your salary prospects too: today the gender pay gap is equivalent to women working 59 days a year for free: and ICT is one way to catch up, as women in the ICT sector earn an average of 9% more than women in similar positions in other sectors.

So it’s disappointing that women aren’t keeping up. Yet less than 30% of the ICT workforce are women! We should be doing everything we can to change that, and to encourage more women to access those opportunities. It’s not just good for equal rights – it’s essential to our competitiveness.

Neelie Kroes ends her post by saying that she’s going to be talking in the European Parliament on Girls in ICT Day and hopes to have lots of fresh ideas by then.

We wish you luck in your quest, Commissioner.