It’s not rocket science – closing the gender gap in STEM

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It’s not rocket science – closing the gender gap in STEM

Summary

“By advancing women’s equality, $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025,” said Dharmendra Kanani, Director of Insights at Friends of Europe, moderating the debate ‘It’s not rocket science – closing the gender gap in STEM’ in Brussels on 12 November 2019. Given this huge business case alone, based on statistics from a recent McKinsey report, and Europe’s urgent need for IT professionals, he asked four panellists to share their thoughts on bringing more girls and women into STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Closing the gender gap in STEM

About

About

While women represent half the population, their representation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) lags behind. Women comprise less than 30% of the world’s researchers and only 35% of STEM students. Despite increased awareness and scrutiny about gender equality in technology, progress remains slow.
Solving gender imbalance in STEM requires confronting gender stereotypes, increasing recruitment transparency and improving work conditions. Real progress can only be achieved with women. The cooperation of policymakers, civil society and private sector organisations is imperative to reaching gender equality in tech and avoiding discrimination.
This Policy Insight is part of Friends of Europe’s Digital, Skills & Inequalities, which help think through the implications of the digital revolution, taking the widest possible stakeholder and community perspectives and experiences to bear upon the policy thinking and developments that will be required. We work across policy areas taking a whole society, whole economy approach – to enable policy thinking and developments to be fit for a digital 21st century.


Artist: Juliette Brocal is an animation student & illustrator from France (original source: womenyoushouldknow.net)

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Schedule

Schedule

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It’s not rocket science: closing the gender gap in STEM Expand It’s not rocket science: closing the gender gap in STEM

While women represent half the population, their representation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) lags behind. Women comprise less than 30% of the world’s researchers and only 35% of STEM students. Despite increased awareness and scrutiny about gender equality in technology, progress remains slow.

Strengthening women’s involvement in STEM could help fill the gap between the supply and demand of tech jobs required to transition to a digital economy, leading to widespread benefits. However, girls are frequently discouraged from pursuing tech degrees and often have less access to formal education, lowering their qualification for high-level digital work. Given tech’s bias towards men, women have reduced chances of pursuing careers in the sector – and when they do, they face specific workplace challenges.

Women’s involvement in STEM in not only good for them – it is good for everybody. When women are involved in leadership, better decisions are made. When they are involved in coding, better code is written.

Solving gender imbalance in STEM requires confronting gender stereotypes, increasing recruitment transparency and improving work conditions. Real progress can only be achieved with women. The cooperation of policymakers, civil society and private sector organisations is imperative to reaching gender equality in tech and avoiding discrimination.

  • How can the EU help countries close the gender gap in STEM?
  • What barriers must be dismantled so that more girls can attain the education required for high-skilled digital work?
  • How can institutions, civil society and businesses work together to reduce gender imbalance in STEM?

Moderator

Dharmendra Kanani

Director of Insights at Friends of Europe

End of debate
Speakers

Speakers

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Dharmendra Kanani

Director of Insights at Friends of Europe

Show more information on Dharmendra Kanani

Prior to joining Friends of Europe, Dharmendra Kanani was director of policy at the European Foundation Centre (EFC). He was the England director at the Big Lottery Fund, the largest independent funder in the UK and fourth largest in the world. Dharmendra has held senior positions in the public and voluntary sector and advisor to numerous ministerial policy initiatives across the UK.

Olivier Crouzet
Olivier Crouzet

Head of Pedagogy at Ecole 42

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Olivier Crouzet designed the pedagogical model of Ecole 42, the tech school founded by Xavier Niel: 100%-project-based, without any teacher or lecture. Students debate, exchange ideas, try, fail, try again, to reach the goal. This new, advanced training methodology has been a success and the school is in the process of creating campuses in 20 countries across the world. The school has pledged to attract more women in STEM fields. In five years, it has doubled the number of female students, aiming to reach 35% of women in the school by 2020.

Photo of Stefaan Hermans
Stefaan Hermans

Director of Policy Strategy and Evaluation in the Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture at the European Commission

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Stefaan Hermans was Head of Cabinet of Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility in the Juncker Commission, where he helped her promote vocational training and lifelong learning, as well as ensuring equal opportunities for all on the labour market. He is now Director of Policy Strategy and Evaluation at DG EAC, the directorate in charge of developing best practices in education policy, gathering and disseminating knowledge, and advancing educational policy reforms at the national and regional levels. He previously worked as Head of the Universities and Researcher Unit in DG Research and Innovation.

Trudy Morgan
Trudy Morgan

Technical Coordinator at United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in Sierra Leone, Vice-President of the Sierra Leone Institution of Engineers and Co-Founder of Sierra Leone Women Engineers

Show more information on Trudy Morgan

Trudy Morgan is a civil engineer and has worked on projects both in Europe and in Africa. She led three international teams across 17 countries, designing and constructing buildings. As Technical Coordinator of UNOPS, she worked on the landslide remediation project following the collapse in 2017 of Sugarloaf Mountain in Sierra Leone. In 2017, Trudy was awarded Female Engineer of the year by the Next Einstein Forum. She’s the first female Vice President of the Sierra Leone Institution of Engineers and co-founded the “Sierra Leone Women Engineers” organisation. Most recently, she made history as the first African female Fellow of the prestigious Institution of Civil Engineers.

Photo of Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke
Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke

Founder and President of Women’s WorldWide Web and European Young Leader

Show more information on Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke

Lindsey currently leads W4 (Women’s WorldWide Web), Europe’s first crowdfunding platform dedicated to connecting and empowering girls and women around the world through education, microfinance and mentoring. With a focus on Sustainable Development Goal 5b, W4 promotes girls’ and women’s equal access to Information and Communication Technologies. In 2009 Lindsey won the Independent MBA Student of the Year Award and she was named a ‘Women in IT Role Model’ by the European Commission in 2013. In 2018 Lindsey joined the Board of Directors of the Women’s Economic Imperative to take forward the work of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment.

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