MEPs call for action to boost participation of women in S&T sector

MEPs have called on the European Commission and Member States to take action to boost the participation of women in the science and technology (S&T) sector, the parliamentarians adopted
with a large majority a non-binding report drawn up by Portuguese MEP Ilda Figueiredo of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left group. The report aims to raise awareness of the role and
situation of women in industry.

‘It is necessary to pay attention to the situation of women in the different industrial sectors and to promote positive actions to guarantee equality,’ Ms Figueiredo said.

While women are over-represented in some sectors, such as textiles, clothes, footwear, electronics and food, they are under-represented in others, such as leading-edge technology, where
‘women’s greater participation needs to be promoted particularly in terms of non-discrimination in access to this kind of work’, according to Ms Figueiredo.

The report ‘stresses the importance of operational educational and training programmes in science and technology, which guarantee the quality and diversification of training opportunities for
women in the various Member States, and the promotion of scientific and technological studies for girls.’

The MEPs call on both the Member States and the Commission to ‘develop and implement strategies to address discrepancies in the work environment and the career development of women working in
science and technology.’

Furthermore, best practice on women’s participation in industrial research and cutting edge industries should be widely disseminated, the Parliament recommends.

The report underlines the fact that women in many industries face barriers at all levels of their career; from recruitment and hiring practices that effectively bar women from entry, to
different standards for women and men and disparities in the distribution of high level assignments and the gender pay gap. The lack of affordable childcare facilities is also highlighted.

The MEPs urge stakeholders to take action to promote wage equality, working conditions, career opportunities and vocational training for women as well as facilities to care for children and the
elderly, whose care is usually provided by women.

Ultimately, the MEPs emphasise the point that both motherhood and fatherhood should be seen as ‘fundamental social values’, and both women and men should have more scope for flexibility in the
workplace to enable them to develop both their career and their family lives.

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