Digitisation is one of the most significant trends shaping our future. It offers undreamed-of potential and a multiplicity of opportunities for Germany, for businesses and above all, for women. In Germany, women currently account for 17% of the workforce in the IT sector – one of the lowest figures in Europe. But to develop truly innovative digital solutions in the future, we need heterogenous teams. Different perspectives, varied skills and diverse people are the driving forces behind digital transformation; by actively combining them, we achieve collective success. We must seek to significantly increase the number of women involved in STEM work (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
The #SheTransformsIT initiative was launched to boost this undertaking. Initially proposed by Anna Christmann (Member of the German Federal Parliament) and Iris Plöger (Federation of German Industries), the initiative has swiftly grown: 50 female decision-makers involved in politics, business, research and civil society are now calling for a visible commitment to a broader, more diverse approach to digital transformation.
The goal is clearly defined – but in the decidedly male-dominated digital sector, we need a complete rethink. To achieve this, the alliance formulated a set of practical mandates for the business, media, political, education and research sectors.
In the business sector, #SheTransformIT regards high-tech companies as the ones that most need to take action. Flexible working hours and attractive incentives for funding specialist training could ensure that women in the sector become more interested in IT vacancies. In addition, women should be actively encouraged to set up digital businesses – by a public procurement service with equal gender representation; by involving more women investors in venture capital funds; by voluntary reporting on the number of women in receipt of funding.
In the world of media, gender discrimination takes highest priority. It is vital to clear people’s minds of stereotypical perceptions and stop these narrow views from spreading any further. In the future, more women should have a presence in the digital public sphere, creating female role models that will encourage others to explore new horizons.
From a political viewpoint, the aim is to involve many more women in digital policy-making. Above all, more diversity is needed in procurement, especially when awarding projects for digitisation and AI systems. But while policies can provide the framework, the transformation itself must be driven by society as a whole.
Education has huge potential for supporting the initiative’s goals. True to the motto “Women and Technology? YES!”, supporters of the campaign would like to see coding initiatives for girls that will stimulate their interest in digital jobs. Computer science should play a more prominent role in schools, encouraging the development of digital skills at an earlier stage. Inspiring content could help raise girls’ awareness of digital opportunities and create motivating role models for them.
Following on from education, there is also a lot of work to be done in the research world. In the future, more women should be involved in research, and overcoming the gender “data gap” should be made a key research objective. Computer science topics should be incorporated into all kinds of degree courses, just as other subjects should be introduced into IT courses. Boosting networking opportunities between female students and digital businesses is another goal. Existing degree courses should be transformed by introducing attractive new ways of teaching and learning. At the end of the day, degree programmes must be modernised, becoming more interdisciplinary and more diverse.
Frankfurt School offers a wide range of programmes on IT & Digitisation, designed to enable you to make important decisions about and play a leading role in the ongoing digital transformation. We’re delighted that so many of our graduates are women. Have confidence in us; have the courage to engage – digitisation needs more women!
Would you like to support the initiative? Join the LinkedIn group and become part of the growing network.