Recent studies published by the United Nations indicate that less than 30% of management positions are held by women, a proportion that has made very little progress since 1995, or that in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) women are still underrepresented, since only a third of the world’s researchers are women.
What’s more, the lack of gender diversity in the technology sector has, according to some experts, a cost for the whole of the European Union (EU) that exceeds 16,000 million euros per year. A lack of diversity that in Spain means that 83.9% of digital positions are held by men, according to Eurostat data from 2017.
Along these lines, the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities points out that the demand for new registrations in these degrees has fallen by more than 30% in recent years, 26% in the case of men and 33% in that of women. All this at a time when the European Commission (EC) warns that in the next few years there will be more than a million unfilled jobs in the countries of the Union due to the lack of technological profiles.
In this situation, the Strategic Council of ‘Women and Engineering’, a project of the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAI) to incentivize, promote, motivate and excite girls and young people so that they know the opportunities offered by the sector, has published a Declaration calling for an educational change to promote the participation of women in the STEM field.
The text recalls that one of the fundamental challenges of our society is to provide a “comprehensive and balanced training that incorporates with sufficient breadth and intensity “science and technology, as well as strengthening the digital skills of students of all genders equally and at all educational stages.
Great deal for an educational change
“It is It is urgent and essential to launch a great alliance that promotes a paradigm shift in education and in the family environment, with the clear objective of reversing the current situation. Only from a profound change in education will we be able to face the challenges of all kinds that technologies represent and the great development potential that they represent for our society “, he emphasizes.
The signatories of the document highlight that in a world in which connectivity is increasingly important, it is not only about acquiring skills and knowledge to use different technologies, but about “awaken interest in knowing how they work and being able to innovate and develop new technologies” which, to a large extent, will condition progress in all areas of our life.
“Our commitment to generate new vocations in these competencies will allow us to get involved in the construction of the future”, affirms the group of women who are part of this project, which advocates achieve “a more egalitarian and structured society, where opportunities for a better quality of life reach the greatest number of citizens “.
Likewise, he remarks that at a time when technological development is “continuous and increasingly rapid”, science, technology and engineering are essential vectors to make these opportunities available to all people equally.
Therefore, it warns that if we do not get present and future young generations, and especially women, are interested in these subjects, there will be “an elite minority who will create the technology, control its operation and purpose of these new discoveries “, consequently designing a future without diversity and, therefore, without the richness that it brings.
“TO future tailored to a few, but to which we will all have to adapt, and all“says the text, which concludes by highlighting that the ‘Woman and Engineering’ project has” a clear transforming and integrating social vocation that, in the second decade of the 21st century, is already urgent “.
Leading women in the sector
The Strategic Council ‘Women and Engineering’ explains that this statement has as objective to normalize the participation of women in the field of engineering and technology and disseminate what science and technology contribute to the Sustainability of the planet and the quality of life of people.
This organ is made up of women who are leaders in the sector, such as Elena Salgado, former Vice President of the Government; María Vallet, vice president of the RAI; Nuria Oliver, academic at RAI and specialist in Artificial Intelligence and Data Science; Sara Gómez, director of the project; Cristina Álvarez, CTO of Banco Santander; Almudena Bautista, IDOM partner, and Elena García Armada, CSIC researcher and president of the Marsi Bionics company.
Likewise, it also has among its ranks Isabel García Tejerina, former Minister of Agriculture; Cristina Garmendia, president of COTEC; Natalia Latorre, president of Shell Spain; Blanca Losada, president of Fortia; Elena Moral, director of the AVE Meca-Medina in Talgo; Loreto Ordóñez, CEO of ENGIE; Isabel Pardo de Vera, president of ADIF, and Ángeles Santamaría, CEO of Iberdrola Spain.
In presenting the Declaration, Vallet highlighted that This project aims to open a range for children and young people to know the full potential of STEM careers, while García Armada stressed the importance of being able to motivate and inspire all those girls who still do not know that “true social progress is built from science and research.”
Along these lines, Pardo de Vera stressed the need to communicate the satisfaction that, despite their complexity, STEM careers give to women who are benchmarks in the sector, like all the signatories of the declaration. “I want to convey optimism and encourage young Spanish women to join them“, he claimed.
For his part, Santamaría stressed that Europe is championing the leadership of sustainability, but added that to achieve the ambitious objectives set, engineers are needed to work in the sectors of the future and provide efficient and innovative solutions. “We will need humanist engineers to lead this transformation“, he added.
Oliver, who highlighted the “immense” opportunity that artificial intelligence offers us to have a positive social impact, stressed the importance of attracting hundreds of thousands of young people, especially girls, to “this fascinating field in which we are literally imagining, designing and creating the future: a future full of hope and prosperity. “