International Girls in ICT Day – Breaking Barriers

April 25, 2024


Today, technology drives almost all innovations that shape our world. Yet, behind the scenes lies a harsh reality – in the Netherlands, only 16% of technical roles are filled by women. (Teamrockstars) This International Girls in ICT Day, we’re shining a light on the challenges faced and the opportunities for progress within the Dutch Tech space. 

International Girls in ICT Day was set up by the United Nation’s specialised agency, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), to encourage girls and young women to pursue STEM education and careers.  

Infographic showing some of the statistics mentioned above.

The Numbers

  • 0,8% of all investments since 2008 went to startups with only female founders. (Techleap)
  • Only 15% of students taking technical courses in the Netherlands are women.(Teamrockstars)
  • Start-up companies run by women typically obtain approximately 20% less investment than those by males. (OECD)
  • 3% of females say a career in technology is their first choice. (PWC)
  • 78% of students can’t name a famous female working in technology. (PWC)

The Impact of Homogeneity 

A lack of diversity doesn’t just have a negative impact on the image of a company, it can also be detrimental to the output of a company. 

With around 84% of the Dutch tech workforce being male, there’s a likelihood that a large majority of that have come from similar backgrounds and/or have similar experiences, and perspectives. This can lead to a narrow approach to innovation or problem solving.  

Obviously it’s not as black and white as this, and as it goes, the Dutch tech scene is incredibly diverse in other areas. But there is still work to be done… 

We’ve got to start somewhere! 

Alarmingly, without intervention, the share of women in tech roles in Europe is projected to decline by 2027 (McKinsey) 

There are lots of organisations & communities aiming change that, here are a handful: 

S#E (pronounced She Sharp)  

An Amsterdam based non-profit foundation that makes it easier for all women and non-binary people to enter, stay, and grow in the Tech industry. 

They have a large community on Slack, run events, and offer funding for people within the community to develop through training & courses.  

Women in Tech  

A global charity, with a Netherlands-based chapter, supporting women and girls in ICT & STEM and closing the digital divide. They donate computers & laptops to schools, establish learning centres, and provide digital literacy courses for girls in places like India, South Africa and Brazil. 

Tech She Can  

An European charity, working together with industry, government, and schools to improve the ratio of women in technology roles. Educating, equipping and inspiring young people, especially girls, to study technology subjects and choose a career in technology. 

How can I help? 

As an individual, the most important thing you can do is advocate, but here are a few other ways you or your company could help:  

  • Volunteer to become a mentor 
  • Join or support the organisations, donate to their causes and help fund training to encourage more young women to pursue a career in tech. 
  • Work with your company to set hiring targets, and communicate those to your chosen recruitment partner. 
  • Set up links with communities that work with women in ICT, so that women can find new roles. 
  • Look for opportunities to speak and inspire others to get into a career in tech. 

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