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Gender Equality in Education and Employment: Webinar shows the innovative practices at the regional level


On Thursday 18 January 2024, EARLALL hosted, on behalf of the Gender Equality  Task Force, a webinar entitled “Gender Equality Policies in Education and Employment”. The online session welcomed 30+ participants to learn about the regional situations and examples of gender equality in various underrepresented fields. It was moderated by Charlotte Ede from the EARLALL Secretariat, and interactions were led by Òscar Palazón, Regional Ministry of Education at the Government of Catalonia.

Women joining the digital movement in Centre Val de Loire

The webinar was opened by Charlotte Ede, Project and Communications Officer at EARLALL, who painted an overall picture of gender inequality in education and training across the EU. For example, according to Eurostat from 2021, only 35% of managers in the EU were women, while 5.2% more women partook in tertiary education. The floor was then opened to the Region Centre Val de Loire to discuss the role of the regional authority in encouraging women to undertake digital careers. Nathalie Artiges-Maunoury, Director of Data Support, Steering and Transitions at the regional administration, pointed to the fact that the Centre Val de Loire region has a long-standing commitment to combatting all forms of discrimination and promoting equality. This was affirmed for gender equality in 2023 with a roadmap adopted for gender equality over the next four years. Lise Chériff, Policy Officer Direction de la Formation Professionnelle, presented some of the key figures for gender equality in the digital sector in the region. 60% of those undertaking Office Suite training are women, while only 20% are women in the fields of data scientists; web designers, web developers; assistant computer support, cybersecurity etc. One of the ways that the region tackles this difference is in training centres such as CEFIM. Katia Lacourte from CEFIM presented the institution devoted to training in the tech and digital fields. The centre seeks to avoid recruitment bias through a three-step process: Firstly, through a series of technical challenges online that do not take into consideration the gender of the application; secondly, through interviews centred on the capabilities of the prospective students and not their gender; and lastly through a one-week test to validate the hard and soft skills of the candidates.

Escola del Treball in Barcelona: Bringing women into Industry 4.0

Albert Peiró Mateu, Head of Studies at Institut Escola del Treball de Barcelona and Laura Barosso Speakers from the, a VET teacher working in the government of Catalonia. They presented the project “EdTWomenDays”, an initiative that seeks to recruit female talent for industrial and digital professions by empowering them to make their own decisions. The project began in January 2023 and has since recruited female teachers and students interested in the project; in addition to creating high-quality visual material and speaking at an Industry 4.0 conference about female talent. The school will continue these efforts next by speaking in primary and secondary schools with a gender-balanced approach about Industry 4.0.

Women in leadership in STEAM and Industrial professions

Esther ELEXGARAI, Executive Director of the Iurreta Integrated Center (The Basque Country) and  Josune IRAZÁBAL, Digital Promoter of the Miguel Altuna Integrated Center, discussed the role that their respective VET integrated centred have been trying to have to encourage women to join positions of leadership. Currently, in the Basque Country, around 24% of students in STEAM Vocational Training are women and only 12% are in industrial areas. The VET centres define leadership as the self-confidence and ability to decide freely, not necessarily working in positions of power. With this in mind, the VET centres strategy involves listening to and disseminating inspiring examples of women in these fields.

Gender equality across sectors and levels at talent.brussels

Jessica Delbecq, director of the “Experience Design” department, Talent Brussels presented what the regional human resources solution for the Brussels Capital region has observed and done in terms of gender equality. At the regional level, the Brussels Civil Service comprises 63% men and 37% women. Among women, the percentage of holders of educational diplomas among women is much higher compared to men (66% compared to 28% for men). In terms of the actions of the Brussels Regions in their HR policy, due to a pre-set salary scale, men and women receive equal pay for the same roles. Moreover, the organisation runs a strong communication strategy that seeks to reverse stereotypes in job campaigns.

Changing stereotypes, facing challenges

The webinar was an opportunity to look at the main challenges and new opportunities of regional authorities, teaching and learning institutions and recruitment institutions to tackle gendered stereotypes. Despite the work of all of the regions presenting, gender distribution is various sections of working and learning. All the presenters reflected on the reasons for the slow change, committing to the continuation of their efforts to tackle gender typecasts over time.