Integrating the gender perspective in digital learning, combating gender stereotypes which inform the ways in which ICT is taught, and attracting more girls to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and information and communication technologies (ICT) study fields, are key educational solutions to the existing digital gender gap, according to the European Parliament’s study.

The study The underlying causes of the digital gender gap and possible solutions for enhanced digital inclusion of women and girls was commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the FEMM Committee aiming to discover the links between the different factors (access, skills, socio-economic and cultural), which prevent women from having equal access to digital technology, and to suggest solutions to address the digital gender gap.

The problem of digital gender gap is rather serious in both education and labour market in Europe: according to European Commission’s Study on Women in the Digital Age, in 2015, women made up 13% of the graduates in ICT-related fields working in digital jobs compared to 15% in 2011. It is also noted that women in general tend to be less informed than men about new technologies and more likely to be victims of severe forms of cyber violence.

European Parliament’s study insists that states have a responsibility to ensure the provision of public services (education, employment and health) in ways which enhance gender equality and equal access. The study also recommends to develop training and learning methodology on ICT literacy and its evaluation, in a participatory way ensuring that it is relevant to the needs of the learners.

ETUCE welcomes the study’s conclusions but also highlights the crucial importance of the sustainable initial and continuous teacher training on ICT for inclusion. Education personnel need to be better equipped to use ICT as a tool for personalised learning in inclusive settings and to promote gender-sensitive approaches to teaching various subjects and advising students on the choice of study and career fields.

You can find ETUCE’s views on digital gender gap here and here.