“True diversity, however, isn’t down to the presence of more women or people of different sexual orientation, religion or culture in the company – diversity means having the courage to promote a culture of freedom and dissent within the company”
How to bridge the gender gap
Two thirds of the jobs of the future will be in the field of science and technology. It is predicted that 756,000 new jobs based on digital skills will be created in Europe by 2020. And yet the number of women studying STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is still low, especially in the Mediterranean countries. This gender gap has a negative impact on career prospects and deprives industry and research of a valuable asset: there are still too few female startups.
As Ciorra explains, “almost all household products are chosen and bought by women but designed by men, which means the input of a female point of view is needed in order to improve the experience, usability and appeal of the product. This is only one example of how companies are depriving themselves of the crucial added value that women can provide. What’s more, even though technology has no gender, it’s not clear why this concerns men and why there are so few women on STEM courses. All this is impoverishing the sector.”
There are many reasons why STEM faculties are unattractive to female students. Two in particular, says Di Carlo. “The lack of role models to provide inspiration and the fear of making mistakes and putting yourself on the line. The family pressure that leads girls to believe right from when they are small that they have to be perfect (by getting top marks at school for example), creates a deep fear of risk and failure. Boys, on the other hand, are taught to play hard and aim high. This prompts them to take more risks, simply because they are used to doing so. In other words, girls are brought up to be perfect and boys are brought up to be brave.”
“Lack of courage is one of the main reasons why women are under-represented in STEM subjects and in positions of power, wherever you look”
In such an environment it is easier to see how important the challenge launched by Enel’s Women in Tech really is – promoting the best women-only startups not only to enrich the energy sector but also to close a gap that every day makes the world a poorer place.