Women in IT is not a monolithic issue. In the Czech Republic and globally, intertwining social, economic, and cultural dynamics shape the nature of what women must contend with in their lives and livelihoods.
At Czechitas, we set ambitious goals for ourselves and our programs and services. Why? Because we are a Czech nonprofit organization with a mission. And that mission is to inspire, train and guide new talents toward stronger diversity and competitiveness in tech.
We aim to ensure at least 50,000 women will be working in IT roles in the Czech Republic by 2025. Our vision towards a stronger economy and connected society depends on reaching, training, engaging, and inspiring women at all levels and from all walks of life.
We believe the issue of women in technology cannot be emphasized enough
The World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Gender Gap Report ranks the Czech Republic 76th out of 146 countries overall. Women constitute more than 55% of graduates from tertiary education, yet represent only 36% of graduates in STEM fields and only 16% of graduates in information and communications technologies fields. In addition, the WEF report found that the Czech Republic has a gender pay gap of 12.37%. Only 23% of corporate boards include women, only 16% of firms have female majority ownership, and only 16% of firms have women in top management roles.
According to the 2022 EU Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), the Czech Republic ranks 19th among the 27 EU Member States. The ongoing lack of ICT specialists for the Czech job market limits the speed and quality of digital transformation across the economy. The digital skills lag is not only about businesses. The public sector, research institutions, and schools are also affected by the gap between available talent and vital placements in need of filling.
Hearts and minds differ
Everyone has different thoughts and opinions regarding women in IT. Some people will say they do not consider gender as a barrier to success. Others will say technology is neutral, and that success depends on an individual’s interests and motivations. There are even those who believe that the very notion of women deserving support to enter and grow in IT is insulting.
The reality is that IT skills already play a significant role, directly and indirectly, in everyone’s lives. Yet no matter how neutral we hold tech to be, too many stereotypes and biases continue to influence who develops, accesses, and uses IT tools and services.
Gaps in parity persist regarding equal pay for similar jobs, equitable opportunities for advancement, and disproportionate expectations placed upon women at different stages of their careers and lives. As much as an individual’s drive determines their paths in work and life, no one truly makes it on their own with guidance and support.
Bold ideas and big visions by themselves are not enough
Beyond mere representation, empowering and engaging women in the IT workforce contributes to a more inclusive society and a stronger economy. Every day, we at Czechitas remind ourselves that our purpose and impact must mean something real in order to achieve the change we seek.
Training 50,000 women for IT skills in the Czech Republic is not merely a KPI or some random data point. For us, it means:
- 50,000 female IT professionals with the skills and desire to succeed in their fields of work and studies;
- 50,000 female managers with the authority and influence to recruit, engage, and retain talented women for IT roles within all industries;
- 50,000 emerging leaders across sectors with the determination and willingness to develop more diverse workforces and guide inclusive workplaces;
- 50,000 potential entrepreneurs and founders who are confident in their abilities to create and innovate;
- 50,000 future mentors whose professional and personal stories serve to inspire and support others.
From the classroom to the boardroom, and from the neighborhood to the world, women have always brought their creativity, power, and influence to every sphere where they are enabled, encouraged, and empowered to thrive. To those who ask “why 50,000 women in IT”, we reply, “why not more?”