Malta launches EU-funded Women4IT project

(source: Unsplash/Kobu Agency)

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European-funded Women4IT project has recently been launched in Malta with the goal of increasing the numbers of young women in the digital agenda and to address the structural transformation of the labour market fuelled by the growing digital society that is significantly underrepresented by women for the time being, according to a press release by the government’s Department of Information (DOI).

The project was launched by Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation Silvio Schembri and Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia.

The lack of women participation in the IT sector is a problem experienced all across the European Union, and the whole world, nowadays. In 2017, the employment rate for men in this sector in the European Union was 76.9%, while for women it was 65.3%. Therefore, the target for 2020 in the EU is to reach 75% for both genders.

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The initiative will be implemented in many countries, like Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Romania and Spain with €2.7m as the total budget allocated for this purpose. Out of this fund, Malta can call for €346,672 between September 2018 and August 2021.

The project is hoped to develop digital competencies and employability of young women vulnerable of getting out of a job, as well as to provide innovative solutions to increase the numbers of young women in ICT careers and in the digital economy. Special focus will fall on unemployed young women, women returning to work after maternity leave and women coming from low income or disadvantaged families. The main tools used are awareness-raising, skills assessment, innovative partnerships with employers, development of a new online employability profiling tool and training in digital jobs, according to the DOI release.

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“As a country, we have improved a lot within the digital space, now becoming a main point of reference, yet we are still lagging behind in women participation. If addressed now, the digital sector could be the first sector where we could see women on par with men”, said Mr Schembri.

“This is an exciting time for women. After registering a spike in the number of women elected to the European Parliament, I look forward to the next legislature to see the fruit of the positive measures being taken locally to increase the number of women in the Maltese Parliament”, said Mr Farrugia.

“It is encouraging to see the government fully committed to reducing the digital divide and organisations coming together today to support this collaborative framework. Thanks to this commitment we can ensure that women and young girls are truly allowed to decide their future and regain their destiny” said Dana Farrugia the CEO at Tech.MT, an organisation launched by the Malta Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the government, aiming to help support further growth of the local technology sector.