Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) sector is very crucial for European Unions’ social and economic development, but also in tackling challenges related to climate change, energy supply, and digitalisation. However, it is one of the sectors where the number of women is disproportionately lower, and this has repercussions at many levels.
WeSTEMEU will address this issue and work at interregional level in advancing policy instruments that encourage and facilitate women’s employment in STEM sectors, thus contributing to the effectiveness and inclusiveness of labour market, and access to quality employment. Although there are many policies for gender equality, in most of the EU regions there are no specific objectives and actions foreseen for ensuring equal access of women in STEM careers, given the importance of the sector. The project will address this gap in Catalonia (Spain), Lithuania, Bucharest (Romania), Region of Western Greece, Podkarpackie Region (Poland) and Donegal County (Ireland), by facilitating exchange of experience, knowledge, and good practices. As the data for women scientists vary greatly within EU, with some countries having up to 52% and others as low as 23%, the project, will above all seek to learn from the practices of the former and transfer those to the other EU regions.
Ultimately, WeSTEMEU will contribute to ameliorating the gender imbalance and thus making the STEM sector more responsive to the social, economic, and environmental needs of both genders. Concurrently, this will give rise to meeting the demands for jobs growth and innovation for sustainable development in the current knowledge-based economy. At the same time, by facilitating women´s active participation in the sector, the projects´ long-term impact will also be evident in terms of the pay-gap, as women enter jobs that are more highly paid than those in traditionally female sectors.