European women have never been better educated. However, only 35 % of top management positions in European enterprises with more than 10 employees are occupied by women (Eurostat data from 2014). In particular, in the so called STEM-professions (Sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics) women are highly underrepresented. Men are, on the other hand, underrepresented in education, care and social professions. As regions strong in economy and research, the Four Motors seek to unlock the potential of both, women and men.
To this aim, on the 8th of October 2018 a Four Motors conference on the “Empowerment of Women in Science and Business” in the delegation of Baden-Württemberg to the European Union explored good practice examples from the four regions. Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes presented the work of the foundation Ldigital as well as associated projects. These projects intend to foster the digital competences of girls and to support women in digital careers as well as to raise awareness for the topic by organizing events. The Catalan project presented equally focuses on digital vocations. DonaTIC.cat wants to promote gender equality in a digital society as well as encourage women to be part of the digital transformation in both vocational and private realm.
A broader approach is pursued by the “Women in STEM Careers” state initiative and alliance in Baden-Württemberg. Since 2010 Baden-Württemberg thereby intends to significantly increase the potential workforce in STEM careers by boosting the proportion of women in these jobs. The alliance encompasses 54 partners including employer associations, unions, business organisations, job agencies, women’s networks, universities, foundations and four ministries. In a similar vein, the Lombardian project “le ragazze possono” (girls can) promotes projects aimed at raising awareness and support women in their choice of STEM professions, inter alia through mentoring. The target groups are thus on the one hand girls aged 14 to 18 and on the other hand students and recent graduates in STEM. Both projects are accompanied by a communication campaign.
Although gender equality is one of the goals in the European treaties, neither the European Union nor the Four Motors for Europe have reached this goal yet. The Four Motors’ regions will hence cooperate and learn from each other in order to further improve.