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European Education Area

Quality education and training for all

Digital Education Action Plan – Action 13

Women’s participation in STEM

Fewer women are interested in participating in the digital sector, be it in higher education, jobs or entrepreneurship. The Commission's study ‘Women in the digital age’ (2018) confirms this trend, with only 24 out of every 1,000 female tertiary education graduates in the European Union (EU) having studied an ICT-related subject.

Women are still less likely to have specialist digital skills and work in this field compared to men, as only 18% of ICT specialists in the EU are women (‘Women in the digital age’, 2018).

Boys and girls are almost equally likely to work in a science-related field, yet available data (‘Women in the digital age’, 2018) shows that only one in three STEM graduates is a woman. 

The pace of change is not promising – the share of women in ICT jobs in the EU increased by only 0.5 % between 2012 and 2016 (European Institute for Gender Equality, 'Women and men in ICT: a chance for better work-life balance', 2018).

Objectives 

To encourage women´s participation in STEM studies and careers and to ensure enhanced inclusion of women in the digital economy, the European Commission will support young female students to develop their digital and entrepreneurship competences.

It will also seek to increase the inclusion of women in digital and STEM study fields and careers, including as entrepreneurs.

Key activities

  • make training in digital and sustainable entrepreneurship skills available to girls at secondary education level via a dedicated online learning platform (European Institute of Innovation and Technology Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs))
  • girls and women E-STEAM* festivals organised in different EU Member States will enhance digital and entrepreneurial competences among girls and women and boost their confidence to use them creatively to spot opportunities, innovate and create value for society
  • new higher education programmes offered for engineering and information and communications technology based on the interdisciplinary STEAM approach. This includes building on the EU STEM Coalition to support the establishment of national STEM platforms and disseminating the results of Erasmus+-funded projects and good practices available within the European Universities alliances

Expected results/deliverables 

  • By the end of 2027 – engage 40,000 young female students in training on the circular economy and digital skills

Timeline 

Beginning in 2021, until 2027.

Funding

This action is funded by the EU’s Horizon Europe, Competitiveness of Enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (COSME) and Erasmus+ programmes.

Get in touch 

To find out more about this action, get in touch with us by email at EAC-DIGITALEDUCATION@ec.europa.eu.

Follow @EUDigitalEdu on Twitter for the latest news and developments on this action and the whole Digital Education Action Plan.


* STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue and critical thinking.