Bringing more women into science and technology roles is not only positive for gender equality in STEM markets, but it is nigh on essential if industry is to be able to fill the expected 142,000 extra jobs in these fields anticipated to be created by 2023.
Women in Engineering
GE is blazing its trail for increasing the number of female appointments by pledging to have 20,000 female employees in science and technology roles by 2020 as part of its Women in Tech project. The scheme aims to raise the presence of women in engineering, manufacturing, IT and product management to ensure gender balance in technical roles while contributing to GE's digital evolution.
In a statement released by the industrial juggernaut this week (February 14th 2017), GE remarked that without introducing more women to technology and production roles, the current gender gap could widen further still.
According to the US Bureau of Statistics, only 14 per cent of all American engineers and 25 per cent of IT professionals are women, even though women make up 55 per cent of all college students and graduates. Indeed, only 18 per cent of computer science graduates are female. In the EU, there is still much work to be done to redress the balance in STEM roles, with Mind the Gap identifying only 17 per cent of STEM jobs going to women in the region, with 20 per cent of STEM jobs in ex-Soviet countries going to females pulling up the average.
GE believes visibility of women in these traditionally male-dominated sectors has to be encouraged by businesses with the support of government, academia and non-government organisations, with the influx of digitisation opening up more opportunities for women as Industry 4.0 continues to transform manufacturing.
GE has published its whitepaper Engineering the Future: The Socio-Economic Case for Gender Equality signed by Chief Economist Marco Annunziata examining the merits of making a concerted effort to promote women in STEM roles and building on GE's 20-year-old Women's Network initiative promoting female leadership.
"If you do not always bring more women to work in the fields of technology, there will be a strong negative impact on the sector," Annunziata stated. "This is a problem that companies face with commitment."
"Research in this analysis has shown that a more gender-equal playing field could lead to significant productivity and performance gains," the Engineering the Future report concludes. "For GE, the increased volume of diverse ideas stemming from this commitment would champion this growth through accelerated innovation at the cutting edge."