Empowering women in the digital age with more #eskills in EU - lifelong learning

Lifelong learning of new eSkills is urgent in order to improve women's economic rights and independence. Financial independence for women is very important because one out of three women is a victim of sexual and/or physical violence in the EU!

On 16 March 2016 Arina Angerman attended the Conference eSkills for Jobs 2016 in The Hague (Photo). Marietje Schaake, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and eSkills for Jobs Ambassador, told us “We have to have a leadership that knows why eSkills are important.” Her key recommendation: “Invest in the eSkills of politicians and policy makers”. 

EP resolution on gender equality and empowering women in the digital age
On 28 April 2016 the European Parliament (EP) adopted a very important resolution on gender equality and empowering women in the digital age. The resolution of 19 pages was developed by MEP and Rapporteur Terry Reintke with help of many others. Arina selected three points of context and some recommendations to inform you: 

- “the study by European Parliament Policy Department C entitled ‘Study on Empowering women on the Internet’, published in 2015,
- the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention),
- the report of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality and the opinion of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.

C.  whereas only 9 % of developers in Europe are women, only 19 % of bosses in the ICT and communications sectors are female (compared with 45 % in other service sectors) and women represent just 19 % of entrepreneurs (compared with 54 % in other service sectors);

H.  whereas improving digital skills and IT literacy presents a unique opportunity for increasing the inclusion in the labour market of women and girls, but also of people with special needs, such as people with disabilities; whereas increasing the number of women in the ICT sector, which is one of the highest paying sectors, could contribute to their financial empowerment and independence, resulting in the reduction of the total gender pay gap;

N.  whereas women aged 55 and over are at a particular risk of unemployment and labour market inactivity, with the average EU employment rate for women aged 55-64 being only 42 %, compared with 58 % for men; whereas a low level of IT literacy and e-skills further amplifies this risk; whereas improving and investing in digital competences of women aged 55 and over would boost their employment opportunities and offer a level of protection against exclusion from the labour market;

3.  Calls on the Commission to exploit and better target the Digital Agenda and the Digital Single Market Strategy with a view to addressing the severe gender gap within the ICT sector and fostering the full integration of women into the sector, particularly in relation to technical and telecommunication professions, to foster education and training of women and girls in ICT and other STEM subjects, to increase the visibility of women in the digital arena, to enhance gender equality and participation of women through better access to funding, to systematically implement gender impact assessments and gender budgeting in its work on the Digital Agenda and the Digital Single Market Strategy so that the fundamental European principle of equality between women and men can be duly incorporated and to support civil society and women’s organisations in making an inclusive internet a reality;

5.  Urges the Commission to include in the upcoming Strategy for equality between women and men 2016-2020 specific actions to support the integration and participation of women in the information society and to strongly promote women’s networks online as they are the manifestation of a self-organised, bottom-up approach to female empowerment and should receive all the support necessary for them to become long-term;

21.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to support lifelong learning as well as training and schemes which help prepare for a better adaptation or potential change of career path in accordance with the growing demand for e-skills in many different sectors, paying particular attention to women aged 55 and over, in order to safeguard them from exclusion from the labour market;’’

Conclusion
In the summer of 2015 Arina Angerman wrote ‘’Equal education of women and girls’’ in the IAW Newsletter August 2015 about results of the GenderEquality Index research by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE). Most (extended board) members of IAW and their member associations are digital migrants. My conclusion still is a valid opinion: lifelong learning of new eSkills by women or feminists of all generations has to improve in order to remain agents of change / policy-makers!!!

Arina Angerman (55plus) represents International Alliance of Women (IAW) on the Board of the European Women’s Lobby. Content of this blog is her contribution to digital IAW Newsletter - June 2016 (page 4-5). 
Arina is an Activist, Blogger and Consultant. Please read additional information at Social Media 4 Boomers website (in Dutch).

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