Closing Conference of the Project “Women and Job Mobility: Obstacles and Solutions for Women in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Sector”
|From left to right: Mrs. Elizabeth Villagómez, Mrs. Marina Larios, Mrs. Nancy Pascall and Mrs. Mª Helena de Felipe Lehtonen|
AFAEMME sets up a Web page on the work opportunities for young women in the ICT sector
Text and photos: Lourdes Acedo.
During the Closing Conference of the Project “Women and Job Mobility: Obstacles and Solutions for Women in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Sector” that took place in Turin (Italy) in the conference room of the International Training Centre of the ILO in Turin (Italy), AFAEMME presented a new virtual tool that will help increase the number of existing women in the ICT sector.
Mrs. Mª Helena de Felipe Lehtonen, President of AFAEMME, made a brief presentation of AFAEMME’s role as a European project platform on gender equality and Mrs. Elizabeth Villagómez, AFAEMME’s Gender Expert, explained how to use the new section of the www.womenmobility.org Webpage where one can make inquiries on work opportunities for young women in the ICT sector, on the qualities necessary to develop a career in the ICT sector TIC and on the present situation of the sector in Spain, Italy and Ireland.
The event was divided in three blocks. In the first one, the objectives of the conference were exposed as well as analysing the role of women in the ICT sector; in the second block the new labour perspective for women in the ICT sector were presented, perspectives which were reflected in the Web page http://ict.womenmobility.org and in the third and last block the conclusions and recommendations reached in the project were exposed.
Mrs. Monica Rossi and Mr. Enrico Tezza, representatives of the International Training Centre of the ILO, said that the purpose of the project “Women and Job Mobility: Obstacles and Solutions for Women in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Sector”, which was co-financed by the European Commission, was to rise awareness on institutions and social actors so that they can take measures that favour the professional mobility of women within the information and the communication technologies (ICT) sector.
Between the main objectives of the project it was emphasized the "identification of the obstacles that limit the participation of women in the ICT sector and that prevent the development of a career within the sector and the study of the social abilities necessary to be successful in sector", problems that many women face.
Mr. Eddie Higgins, representative of the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union of Ireland, SIPTU, conclude that "it is a reality that there are few women who work in the ICT sector and it is necessary to foment their presence in this sector". For this reason it is necessary to focus on young women, as the main target, as they are most prone to stuffy engineering careers nowadays and are more familiarized with the ICT sector. He commented that the main obstacle that women face to develop a career in the ICT sector is the same one that in other sectors: the difficulty of conciliating labour and personal life, and more in a sector in which labour mobility is necessary to obtain continuous training in different countries.
For that reason, companies in the ICT sector, more than in any other, have to facilitate labour mobility programs: housing searching services in the new destiny country, the facilitation of information on the cultural customs of the country, schools search services for the children (if there were any), good economic compensation, etc.
Nowadays it is necessary to use the new technologies so it is easier for both men and women to conciliate labour and personal life. Internet offers a handful of options to work from a distance with no need to physically be in the office. This requires a commitment of trust, from the business owner, and of responsibility, from the worker.
The event also counted with the presence of Mrs. Nancy Pascall, Gender Policy Officer of the Directorate of Components and Systems of the European Commission, who said that "the number of women in careers such as engineering continues to be very low". Mrs. Brito-Marie Södenberg, representative of Winnet Europe proposed as a solution to the data facilitated by Mrs. Pascall that children should be educated in equality since primary school "to abolish the gender differences it is necessary to begin to educate well in primary school. It is necessary to educate in equality. And the second step is to eliminate stereotypes in the work place".
On the other hand, Prof. Vittorio Cappecci, professor of the University of Bologna, said that: "it has to be to proposed, in primary schools, mathematics and physics education systems that are applied practical things in order to create interest in students and to foment that in the future they decide to study careers related to the ICT sector ".
The event was also attended by the representative of the Department of Gender of Telecomitalia Media, Mrs. Paola Mastromarino; the representative of APID (Associazione delle Piccole Imprese Donna), Mrs. Giovanna Boschis; Mrs. Clara Collarile, Former General Director of the Office for Intervention in Economic and Social Matters of the Ministry for Equal Opportunities of Italy; Mrs. Marina Larios, representative of Witec and Mrs. Benedetta Magri, Coordinator of the Gender Unit of the ITC-ILO.
AFAEMME concludes with this event the project that has been developing throughout all 2007.
Its new project, that will be develop in partnership with International Training Centre of the ILO and EUROCHAMBRES throughout 2008, is called: "Add Value, Break Stereotypes” tries to help the companies of the private sector, in particular small and medium businesses of all the sectors, to understand the benefits of fighting gender stereotypes in the business market.