Seán Kelly MEP and leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament has called for increased supports for girls and women in computer science, as the EU celebrates Code Week and European Week of Action for Girls this week.
“More than half of female secondary school students in Ireland say they are not given enough information about STEM subjects, while only 17 per cent of the 8 million digital technology experts in the EU are women,” the Ireland South MEP warned.
“The lack of participation of women and girls in the digital economy is not only down to lower interest in STEM and ICT,” he said noting the issue also includes “distorted perceptions, stereotypes and lack of role models” to inspire girls.
“It is vital that girls are well-informed of the many opportunities available to them in the STEM sectors. There remains a severe shortage of skilled ICT professionals across Europe, and there is a clear solution to this – we must encourage girls to pursue their talents in STEM subjects,” said Mr Kelly, a former teacher.
Women’s voices are sorely lacking in the world of technology, which causes significant loss on all fronts – economic, societal and human capital, according to MEP Kelly.
As part of EU Code Week and the European Week of Action for Girls, Mr Kelly hosted the Greenlight for Girls group in the European Parliament for the Generation Code exhibition yesterday (Tuesday).
“Greenlight for Girls seeks to promote inclusive education on STEM subjects and encourage girls to pursue studies in these fields.
“Coding is an increasingly important skill that girls are still not being encouraged to engage in. There is a significant gender gap among technology experts, while 40pc of enterprises recruiting ICT specialists report difficulties in getting qualified people.
“We need to be equipping young women with the necessary computing skills and encourage their studies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM),” Mr Kelly underlined.