“The quality, relevance, and impact of the products and services output by the technology sector can only be improved by having the people who are building them be demographically representative of the people who are using them.”
Tracy Chou — Software Engineer at Pinterest
Giving women the prospect to pursue and succeed in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)occupations helps to balance the gender wage gap, creates a representative and diverse STEM workforce, and generates superior products and services coming out of the STEM industries. Although progress toward gender parity in the workplace has been observed in many sectors, female representation in STEM still trails behind.
Eurostat data shows just how large the gap is across Europe.[i]
Similarly in the U.S., women are heavily outnumbered in STEM professions- accounting for only 28% of the workforce. Disparities are especially marked in some of the future’s fastest-growing and highest-paying positions, such as engineering and computer science.
There are countless vacancies at any given time in the STEM field. In today’s markets, underpinned by a rising demand for science and technology, this number is steadily on the rise. STEM careers are widely considered to have a high degree of job security; they are “future-proof.” The STEM fields themselves are constantly changing, as the evolution of innovative technologies in response to social change, climate change, and other global issues is interminable. A STEM career necessitates an elevated level of creativity and flexibility, as well as technical knowledge, and should attract both skillful girls and boys.
It is observed that girls face systemic hurdles and bias throughout their schooling, as they are unconsciously maneuvered into specific fields of studies and away more profitable ones. [ii] We are seeing a mounting body of evidence depicting this. As Joan Hall affirms, “my own research, co-authored with Katherine V. Phillips and and Erika V. Hall, also indicates that bias, not pipeline issues or personal choices, pushes women out of science – and that bias plays out differently depending on a woman’s race or ethnicity.”[iii]
This is where WOMEN in TECH – Global Movement, a Global Non-Profit Organization on a mission to empower 5 million women and girls in tech by 2030, comes in, to help level the playing field.
Through its international network and consolidated efforts, WIT has set up a range of practical initiatives, including a Social Impact School, Mentoring, Digital Literacy Education programs and a Global Talent Hub, connecting promising talents with choice vacancies in STEM.
KVALITO is a proud partner and event host for the first onsite WIT meeting in Switzerland.
WIT and KVALITO teamed up to launch a highly engaging kickoff meeting in KVALITO’s Basel headquarters in October 2021, the first of a nationwide series planned by WIT.
The air bristled with optimism and excitement as fifty collaborative professionals from a colourful mix of science and technology sectors got acquainted in a positive space and learned about WIT’s effective initiatives and activities. It was a bonus that this event was ‘in-person,” a treat for all. A buoyant atmosphere provided an added boost to the productive networking that resulted. Fresh ideas were exchanged, experiences shared, and actions discussed, connecting people with a shared vision.
As Safia Agueni, WIT Switzerland Chapter Ambassador summarized: “What we are driving with WOMEN in TECH – Global Movement is so important, and we count on each of you to join us as a member, volunteer, partner or sponsor, to make an impact and bring more girls and women to embrace TECH and shape the future world.”
Magdalena Kurpierz (CEO and founder of KVALITO) mentioned, “it is important not just to speak about women in STEM but also put action into place. Many exciting developments are happening in this space to encourage and empower girls and women to recognize their potential and have a seat at the table. KVALITO is a proud partner of WIT, and we look forward to more collaborations ahead.”
[ii] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Employed persons by detailed occupation, sex, race, and Hispanic or Latino ethnicity,” Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey, Table 11, 2019. https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.htm