On the third year of SMART4ALL, project partners took the initiative to establish a network of female professionals in the area of Smart technologies, services, applications and businesses with emphasis in the geographical area of South Eastern Europe*, through the Smart4All network of European Digital Innovation Hubs.
The recent study on Women in the digital age confirms the worrying trend that only 24 out of every 1000 female graduates having an ICT related subject – of which only six go on to work in the digital sector. The findings of the study show that there is a decrease in this number when compared to 2011. The study also found that if more women were to enter the digital jobs market, it could create an annual EUR 16 billion GDP boost for the European economy. Although the digital sector is rapidly growing, creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs every year, the share of women in this sector is decreasing. A significant point is that women’s participation in the tech sector will not only provide a boost to the economy and allow for full participation in society, where women are underrepresented.
Without being a contractual obligation of the consortium, in March 2022 the initiative came as a reaction to the recognition of the underrepresentation of women in the smart technologies sector and of the fact that fewer women are interested in participating in the digital sector, be it higher education, jobs or entrepreneurships. However, it was noticed that more than 30% of the consortium partners and the funded consortia are represented by women, which is an encouraging fact for promoting equal opportunities and boosting women’s presence in the field of digital innovation.
The aim of the SMART4Women initiative is to establish this network that will support female professionals, researchers and entrepreneurs, through professional development and social events and at the same time outreach to young women interested in the digital technologies, services, applications and business field. The network was established with a group of female professionals among the SMART4ALL partners, creating a framework for the women involved in the project. This core of female professionals active in the project are reaching out to the overall ecosystem, specifically to women that have been involved in the Smart4all community and wish to voluntarily contribute to some of the activities mentioned below. Smart4all will initially support these activities which may continue after the project stops.
- Empower SMART4ALL female professionals to develop professionally and socially
- Outreach to women/girls interested in smart technologies field.
- Network with local/regional/national initiatives