A study ensures that if the employment of women and men were equalized in the technological field, an additional wealth of 31.2 billion euros per year would be generated in Spain
Although the gender gap in Internet use closed in 2019, there are still differences in digital skills between women and men, and also between the young and the oldest population. This is demonstrated by a report on the gender gap in the digital field presented by the ClosinGap business platform and led by Vodafone.
While women excel in digital skills related to communication and information, men score better in software and digital problem-solving. This disparity is exacerbated in the oldest age groups, from the age of 65, and disappears completely in the new generations, known as “digital natives”.
In digital communication skills, the gender gap is favorable to women. They present a greater use of social networks (67.0% versus 62.1%), Internet telephony (62.3% versus 59.1%), and publishing their content (35.5% versus 33.6%), with the use of email being the only exception (78.6% versus 80.7%). Women show more skills than men up to 55 years of age, the age at which the situation is reversed and it is men who top the list.
The gender gap widens in software
In solving digital problems, a group of skills less widespread among the population, the ClosinGap report did find gender differences. For every 100 men, there are 93 women with high digital skills. The gap is accentuated in software skills such as computer language programming, where the ratio of women compared to men falls by half (5% versus 10%), and in the use of Excel (23.8% versus 31, two%).
At the level of computer skills, the gender gap disappears, again, in the young population and it is women under 44 years of age who have the greatest computer skills. This positive difference is accentuated among the youngest groups, reaching 80.4% compared to 76.2% of those 16 to 24 years old.
Antonio Coimbra, CEO and president of Vodafone Spain, assures that Spain needs “economic recovery in a digital key.” Also, he affirms that this country has managed to “close the gender gap in Internet use, but the number of women practicing professions stems in the digital sector only reaches 20%, which causes gender biases in access to digital tools that must be corrected, since the digital and modern society that we are building will be better and more effective if the female talent is part of it in conditions of real equality.
STEM is still very masculine terrain
In the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professions, called to have a greater role in the digital world, there is a strong under-representation of women. Of the 4.2 million people employed in STEM disciplines in Spain, only 10% work in digital sectors. And of them, only one in five are women, data that reflects a marked gender gap.
Currently, there are 247,600 more men in STEM positions than women. If the employment of women and men were equalized, maintaining the sector’s average productivity registered at 77,600 euros per employee, an additional 31,200 million euros would be generated per year, equivalent to 2.8% of GDP in 2019. The lower presence of women also has an impact on tax collection: with an average effective income tax rate of 10.8% and an average contribution of 29.5%, the State would enter 12,546 million euros more per year. And with an average effective rate of taxes on production (VAT) of 10.5%, the collection could increase by about 3,264 million euros per year.
The main causes of this lower female presence are the result of gender stereotypes that generate a pronounced gender gap in STEM careers. Gender socialization, approval, and a feeling of belonging to the group, and the stereotypes associated with professionals in the sector cause girls to show less interest in these areas. This situation is further exacerbated by the lack of female references, as these are occupations in which men predominate.