Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP5

Gender Issues in the Information Society, Challenges and Opportunities, Discussion Paper

Funded under: FP5-IST

Abstract

Promoting gender equality effectively means a fundamental re-think in the design and delivery both of products and services leading into implications for employment policy and practice. The organisations that will get it right will reap the benefits in terms of improved customer satisfaction and staff productivity.
The development of the Information Society represents change. This change can be influenced and directed to a certain extent. It offers a unique opportunity to improve the situation of women in a modern society. Women represent 51.4% of the population in the 25 Member States. Yet, in many areas, women are not represented statistically adequately. Women's participation rate on the labour market (62%) is considerably lower than men's (77.5%). This is also reflected from a vertical perspective, i.e. considering women within the different hierarchical levels. Women¿s representation appears inversely related to the hierarchical representation, leaving women under-represented at higher positions. This is also partly reflected in the pay gap, which, though varying considerably across the Member States is still at an average of some 16%. On the other hand, women appear statistically over-represented in tertiary education. 58.3% of students in 2003 were women. However, women¿s participation is distributed unevenly across the different subjects. While women are statistically highly over-represented in many subjects (especially education (76.9%), health (76.7%), and humanities (68.4%)), they are under-represented in others (especially engineering (22.7%) and science, mathematics and computing (41.8%)).
The proposed explanations for such statistical under-representation and/or over-representation vary. They include free choice, differences in nature, societal influences (stereotypes, etc.) and direct discrimination.

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Record Number: 7267 / Last updated on: 2006-03-22
Category: MISC