Women in STEM

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Women in STEM

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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.


Credits: CC/Flickr – STARS/Kristian Buus

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Women in STEM Expand Women 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?

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Dharmendra Kanani

Director of Insights at Friends of Europe

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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.

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