Women in the Digitalisation Era
Yekaterina Inozemtseva about new opportunities and challenges
One of the sections of the 'Role of Women in Developing Industrial Regions' forum in Novokuznetsk was dedicated to the topic of equality in the context of digitalisation. Yekaterina Inozemtseva, Director General of Skolkovo Forum, told about the new opportunities and challenges of the new economic order and about how to involve more women in technological field of activity.
Yekaterina Inozemtseva - Director General of Skolkovo Forum
As stressed by Ms. Inozemtseva, Russia is one of the leading countries in terms of digitalisation. The new economic order gives many equal opportunities to people irrespective of their gender and age. Digitalisation provides universal access to information, remote work, and training programmes. It helps reduce risks when starting one’s business and structure it in a new way. Thanks to such opportunities, it becomes easier for women to combine professional and household duties and fulfil their potential equally with men.
Transition to a digital economy results in not only new opportunities but also new challenges and forms new requirements for specialists.
Digitalisation contributes to the change in profession map. Most part of work is automatised today. Some professions disappear and new occupations requiring greater STEM skills emerge instead of them.
According to studies conducted in different countries, only about one fourth of women worldwide have necessary skills in STEM-related fields.
Thus, girls amount to only 34% of those who enter technical higher education institutions and only 26% of postgraduate students there. The share of women among those who work in the profession they were trained in is even less. This shows that there are still certain challenges faced by women when choosing their career path.
Girls have opportunities for realisation of their potential in technical, engineering, and mathematical fields but are not always confident enough.
Yekaterina Inozemtseva listed several basic reasons of low share of women in STEM. They include social factors forming the interest of girls to mathematics and natural science subjects, school or university environment, and the existing stereotypes and prejudice.
According to Ms. Inozemtseva, today it is important to inspire girls’ love of the technical sciences from early childhood and then maintain their interest. It is necessary to spread more information about women who made success in STEM and not to ignore the problem related to stereotypes about technical sciences as only a ‘male’ field.
Different countries fulfil a variety of projects on closing the gender gap in STEM.
The leading higher education institutions of the world carry out initiatives on supporting women who chose technical occupations including scholarships, grants, and mentoring programmes. The number of communities of women who are active in STEM is gradually increasing.
According to Yekaterina Inozemtseva, it is important to pay much attention to professional involvement of women who return from their maternity leave. It is necessary to create proper conditions for women to combine professional and family life, be able to upgrade their skills and recover competencies they lost during their leave.
Ms. Inozemtseva told about Women in Digital Economy project, which is currently implemented within the Council of the Eurasian Women’s Forum under the patronage of Valentina Matvienko, Chairperson of the Federation Council.
The project is aimed at achieving two primary goals. The first one is promoting the development of entrepreneurial skills and knowledge of women so that they could integrate in the new economic order. The second one is popularisation of women’s entrepreneurship including technological one. Yekaterina Inozemtseva supervises the project. She invited all those wishing to take part in its fulfilment.
Anna Repina, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov