There is a particularly important ally in overcoming gender stereotypes and the gender pay gap: the study of science, technology, engineering and math. This is because two thirds of the professions of the future will be based on STEM subjects. According to a recent report by international consultancy firm McKinsey, in the coming decade in Europe the number of jobs connected to this sector will grow by 20%: however, the number of women working in these fields is still low.
A worldwide study by UNESCO has shown that less than a third of female students choose a study pathway in the STEM subjects. Professional orientation is still largely influenced by gender stereotypes that take shape as early as elementary school and, often unconsciously, determine girls’ educational and future career choices.
This gender gap not only hinders women’s professional opportunities, it is also to the detriment of companies, research and, more generally, society as a whole. According to the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE)1, reducing gender inequality by encouraging the presence of women in STEM working environments could increase2 GDP per capita in the European Union by 2% by 2030, and by between 6.1% and 9.6% by 2050.
In order to promote female empowerment in the STEM fields, the United Nations General Assembly made February 11 The International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
Enel’s firm commitment
For years Enel has been committed to promoting STEM subjects in order to overcome gender stereotypes and spread the importance of the culture of science and technology, which should be increasingly integrated with humanistic culture in the professions of the future.
In the last six years more than 20,000 female students have taken part worldwide in open and innovative educational initiatives that have involved many Enel colleagues as testimonials and role models.
It is now well established that inclusive environments promote innovation and sustainability and that taking full advantage of everybody’s unique and multiple talents is good both for people and for company performance. For this reason, investing in Diversity and Inclusion and promoting gender equality are also essential for business.
Enel further underlined this commitment by joining the “Equal by 30” campaign which has seen organizations commit to ensuring gender equality in terms of pay, leadership and opportunities in the renewable energy sector by 2030. The Group’s commitment to these issues has been acknowledged by the relevant indices such as Equileap and Refinitiv and, at the beginning of 2022, for the third year running, by the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index 2022, which rates the top 325 companies worldwide in terms of gender inclusion initiatives and transparency.
Enel is also the only company on the FTSE MIB40 to be included in the European Top 20 ranking.
STEM initiatives in Italy
The first place where girls are inspired is in school and for this reason Enel promotes numerous initiatives for girls in middle and secondary schools.
There are several inspirational STEM projects: from Tech TALKS by national and international female trailblazers from the worlds of science, culture and business, who have shared the stories of their own study backgrounds and professional careers, to the Sistema Scuola Impresa (School Business System) project, in partnership with Elis, which sees young female managers in the STEM fields from various companies meet and talk with students in schools all over Italy.
Through STEM inclusion projects, like pathways for transversal skills and orientation (PCTO) by School4Life and Train for the Future, Enel has entered into direct contact with schools, integrating the study pathways with work experience in companies. Some initiatives, like Brindisi Brilla, have been created for areas where there are higher levels of academic disadvantage and a greater need to spread awareness of the importance of STEM subjects for young people’s future careers.
There are also various STEM technical pathways for female school pupils and university students created in partnership with other organizations and universities. Here Enel proposes new training models with closer ties between secondary schools, universities and the industrial ecosystem in order to promote the digital skills that the world of work requires. Examples include IBM’s P-Tech, the Tech Camp digital education workshops in partnership with Elis, the coding workshops with ADA LAB and the “Cosa farò da grande” (What I will do when I grow up) initiative in partnership with Unindustria and aimed at middle school pupils in Civitavecchia. Finally, with the Milan Polytechnic University the first ever Second level Master’s course has been organized to train new graduates as experts in Smart Grids.
Many students have taken part in external events such as “L'eredità delle Donne” (“The Legacy of Women”), the festival that invites generations of female scientists, economists, business people, politicians, writers and artists to reflect on issues including STEM subjects.
A sustained commitment in Italy can also be found on social media channels with the #STEMyourself campaign that accompanies numerous initiatives launched in relation to The International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
A global plan
There are also numerous STEM initiatives in other countries, such as: meetings at universities in the United States, Central America and Greece to present our Group and professional careers that are currently in demand; STEM-themed workshops in Spain with the successful Orienta-T format and Ella te cuenta (“She tells you”) aimed at younger pupils; and the STEM Talent program in Peru for professional orientation at secondary schools.
In Mexico two facilities, Villanueva and Magdalena II, have opened their doors with virtual tours while in Colombia the “Plan Semilla” offers training and work opportunities to women experiencing social disadvantage and also holds STEM summer camps for the children of employees.
In Brazil there is a volunteer program, “Mujeres de Energia Program,” which is part of the “Rede do Bem” (literally, the “Network of Good”). Here women who work in technical sectors share the stories of their careers with female university students, pupils at secondary schools and technical colleges, encouraging young women to consider STEM pathways and technical professions.
This rich panorama of initiatives takes full advantage of knowledge, experience and corporate skills in order to benefit the future generations that will continue to create shared prosperity in a world that is even more sustainable and inclusive.
 The European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) was founded in 2010 in order to promote and enhance gender equality in the EU
 The EU Report on “The Overall Impacts of Gender Equality”