Only 19% of digital specialists and about a third of Stem graduates in Europe are women and in Italy women specialists in technologies drop to 16%. For female participation in the digital economy and society, Italy does better only than Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary. This is the photo taken from the recent Desi report from which the 8th edition of Coding Girls started, the program, historically promoted by the Digital World Foundation and the US Diplomatic Mission in Italy and presented in Rome at the American Studies Center, with the patronage of Women20 and in collaboration with Microsoft Italy. Support gender equality in Stem disciplines and professions, and contribute to achieving the goals of the European digital decade – 20 million specialists in ICT and gender convergence – are among the challenges of Coding Girls which includes training, coding competitions and orientation and role modeling sessions animated by 32 academic partners. And the activities involve 15,000 high school students in 47 cities.
Thanks to the ability to network between public and private and to animate a movement ‘from below’, the Coding Girls program is also a systemic initiative capable of attracting investments in the area, to trigger effective processes of change and to support the actions of the Coalition of the Digital Republic. The national program has given rise to original declinations and themes: thanks to the collaboration with Eni and the ‘Code & Frame for Self Empowerment’ project, the Coding Girls are passionate about sustainability and the environment, discovering the infinite possibilities of development opened up by research and culture. scientific. In the South a precious alliance was born with the Dutch Embassy in Naples. In Turin, an original three-year experiment, conducted with the Compagnia di San Paolo Foundation on 600 students from 10 schools, evaluates the impact of the program on future skills and choices.
Fondazione Mondo Digitale underlines that the analysis carried out on the 2nd year of activity shows the positive impact on the programming skills of girls and boys (from 6% to 19%), with the self-perceived ability confirmed by the correct answers to more technicians. Coding Girls also affects university choices and makes girls and boys more gender aware. While 46% of boys initially agreed with the statement ‘Men are on average better suited to Stem subjects’, while only 28% of girls were, Coding Girls brings boys’ level of awareness on the same level as that of girls. “Very often those who transmit stereotypes are not fully aware that they are doing it: we cannot eliminate stereotypes, but we can compress them by increasing our awareness and knowledge, “said Linda Laura Sabbadini, central director of Istat and Chair of the W20 at the Coding Girls. For Mirta Michilli, general director of the Fondazione Mondo Digitale, “It will take 135 years to achieve gender equality globally at the current speed of progress”.