Huawei Releases Digital Gender Gap Report in Southern Italy with Local University
Tech by Her: the results of the study commissioned by Huawei on the digital gender gap in Southern Italy
The research conducted by the University of Bari Aldo Moro has highlighted an improvement in the rate of digitization and digital inclusion of women, although more in terms of the use of digital tools than in the possession of specialist skills and employment
Bari – May 26, 2023 - During an event held yesterday at the Petruzzelli Theater in Bari, in the presence of the Mayor of Bari, Antonio De Caro, Huawei and the University of Bari Aldo Moro presented the results of a study on the digital gender gap in Southern Italy, commissioned to the University by the company as part of "Tech by Her", an initiative aimed at promoting female leadership in the world of technology.
The research, sponsored by Confindustria Bari|BAT and conducted under the scientific direction of Giuseppe Pirlo, Full Professor of Information Processing Systems at the University of Bari and Rector's Delegate for the Third Mission, showed that:
- 23.7% of the responders to the survey (of whom 55% are aged between 36 and 65) followed a training course in the mathematical-scientific-technological area;
- the trend of the responders denotes a growing attention towards STEM disciplines, linked to the greater demand for these roles in the market. In fact, as many as 37% of non-graduated women believe technology is essential in transforming their work, while over 81% of all respondents believe that digital transformation has influenced their career path and that therefore the possession of digital skills is an enabling factor for professional development;
- technology has gained greater importance in both daily personal use (social media 83%, online payment apps 66.3%, home banking 65.8%, PA services 57%), especially since the Covid-19 pandemic, and work-related use, although in this area the most used softwares are writing (79.5%) or calculation (46.5%) to the detriment of programming (23.7%) or augmented or virtual reality apps (12.1%);
- as many as 72% of the respondents associate positive emotions with mathematics (interest, curiosity, fun, relaxation), against 28% who feel anxious or afraid of the subject, while 90.4% believe that a good knowledge of it is useful for the acquisition of computer skills. However, the scarce presence of these women in STEM university courses or industries, such as ICT, leads us to think that they are still discouraged by cultural barriers, which keep stereotypes and prejudices alive, or other obstacles such as the absence of digital inclusion programs, from continuous training to Diversity & Inclusion initiative in both public and private organizations.
"The impulse provided by Covid-19 to digitization both in the private and public world - underlines Professor Anna Maria Candela, scientific director of the project - has made the acquisition of digital skills necessary to consciously manage the new reality. The results of the survey show an improvement in the digital inclusion of women and girls also in the South of Italy. These data essentially concern the use of digital tools but do not indicate an equal improvement regarding specialist skills or employment in the ICT field. In fact, also at a national level, the number of women who have access to training, careers and opportunities in the digital sector is still limited, with visible consequences such as gender inequality but also, and above all, scarce value attributed to female skills with significant impacts on the country's productivity. Furthermore, for the majority of the interviewees, one of the causes of this disparity can be attributed to gender stereotypes that consider technology a men’s thing".
During the event, the docu-film "Tech by Her - Technology narrated by women" was also presented, created with the aim of providing inspiring female models to encourage women to increase their participation to the ICT world and the digital economy. Through the voices of the protagonists, the documentary tells the story of women who, through technology, have innovated in their reference sector, brought about a positive and significant change in their territory and beyond, improving the quality of life of many people, triggering an evolution process of our society. The docu-film also recounts a world of difficulties and challenges that women find themselves facing on a daily basis, in the absence of sufficient initiatives and policies aimed at encouraging them to make their valuable contribution.
“Gender diversity in the tech industry is extremely important because it can significantly increase the innovative reach and quality of solutions that the industry is called upon to develop in order to address current global challenges,” said Wilson Wang , CEO of Huawei Italy. “In the digital age, we need more women leaders who, with their typical strength and ability to lead digital economy, serve as an example and inspiration to many other women who have been discouraged throughout their lives by certain system barriers. Through Tech by Her, Huawei wants to give visibility to these positive role models, to create awareness in women and encourage them to become leaders in the world of technology".
During the event, Fabi Saad, the Brazilian entrepreneur supporting the initiative who, with her app "Mulheres Positivas", soon available also in Italy, offers concrete support to employment and female empowerment, awarded the companies of Apulia and Basilicata regions which have obtained the certification of gender equality, whose purpose is to promote the adoption within companies of policies aimed at facilitating women's access to the labor market and to leadership positions.
Through the "Women in Technology" platform, Huawei is committed to creating opportunities for women to build a more digital and inclusive society through different categories of initiatives. In particular, the Tech by Her program aims to support women's leadership in technology by sharing examples of role models and success stories, giving a voice to women protagonists of the ICT world through events and forums, promoting gender equality together with employees and partners around the world.