Technology: the identikit of professionals, ready but lacking recognition


Prepared and dedicated to work also in the number of hours, but most of them have difficulty in obtaining a salary and career recognition: this is the identikit of women professionals in the technology sector. The data emerged from the study “Women and Technology: A Qualitative-Quantitative Inquiry” conducted in a synergistic collaboration between the University of Milan-Bicocca through the Unified Guarantee Committee (CUG) and Women&Tech Ets – Women and Technologies Association. In fact, more than 71% of respondents say they have perceived or experienced different pay treatment compared to their male counterparts, and 11.4% prefer not to answer.

The results of the survey were presented last year on April 18 as part of the event “Women and Ste(a)m. Between the past and the future”, which they interfered with Alessia Cappello (Councillor for Economic Development and Labor Policy, Municipality of Milan), Maria Grazia Riva (Vice Rector for Orientation, Gender Policies and Equal Opportunities), Patricia Steca (Cug President Milan-Bicocca) e Silvia Penati (Professor of Physics and Member of the Equal Opportunities Committee). Even among the guests Amalia Ercoli Finzi (Professor Emeritus of the Polytechnic of Milan), Elvina Finziová (manager of Essilor Luxottica), together with Gianna Martinengo (President of Women&Tech Ets Association). “The University of Milan-Bicocca has always shown great interest in the topic of women’s careers, both academically and professionally,” Patrizia Steca said. The university is committed to constantly monitoring university path selection. These show a significant gender imbalance even today: boys are much more present in science and technology degree programs, while girls choose more humanistic and educational paths. A similar situation can be observed in the composition of our departments. While improvements can be seen, it is clear that it is important to continue working to promote choices that go beyond traditional gender stereotypes. The opportunity to work with external entities such as Women&Tech Ets is an opportunity to learn more about corporate contexts and the challenges these contexts pose especially for young women. This allows us to have valuable information also to improve our training, orientation and job placement,” added Patrizia Steca.

The presented survey devoted a specific focus to the topic “women and technology” with the aim of collecting information and data about the experiences of female workers within the network of associated companies and people. Specifically, five dimensions were analyzed: gender and the ICT sector; job satisfaction; harmonization of spheres of life; perceived gender differences and possible measures to eliminate them. Through the administration of an online questionnaire on the Qualtrics platform between November and December 2023, nearly 200 professionals from companies associated with Women&Tech Ets who work in “high work intensity” professional environments – mostly (70 percent) employed in Technology, software and internet sector – between the ages of 30 and 45 (46.9 percent) and graduates (62 percent). Specifically, 30 percent of them have degrees in STEM fields, and 24.6 percent have earned one or more master’s degrees.

From the point of view of the average daily workload, 39.7 percent of participants declare a commitment of 9h50 ́, to which overtime and travel are added. More than half of them (53 percent) declare themselves to be mothers, 20 percent to be single parents. Regarding job satisfaction, 41.8 percent of the women in the sample said they were quite satisfied with their jobs. In 12 percent of cases, she is very satisfied and in 28.9 percent, she feels satisfied. The research findings – interpreted with a gender dimension in mind – highlight how the link between nationally recorded employment data and the distribution of the workload, paid and unpaid, contributes to clarifying the contours and forms these workers’ experiences take. women. The sample shows that full-time working mothers and single mothers show more difficulties in coordinating and harmonizing different areas of life and declare more difficulties in using their free time. The fact that 90.5 percent of the “reduced” workers present in the sample (10 percent) are mothers is significant, and that this group does not include women who hold top roles. In addition to the above-mentioned widespread perception of pay inequalities, 51.4 percent of the female workers in the sample declare that “often” or “always” it happened in their professional practice that they perceive more difficulties than their male colleagues. in gaining credibility and recognition. Although 37 percent of women declare career advancement in the last 5 years, 19.5 percent of the sample declare that their gender “often” played a negative role in being accepted for a career growth opportunity.

Possible measures to combat these gaps include 71.6 percent of women being part of an association Women&Tech Etsmeasures in favor of reconciliation and parenting support would be necessary, and 40.2 percent suggest the support of cooperation and synergies between societies and educational institutions, schools and universities. «Women&Tech Ets was founded in 2009 as an evolution of my Women&Technologies project conceived in 1999 based on an intuition: technologies help women a lot in balancing family and work, but women are indispensable in the processes of conception, design and production of technologies. Women and technology: a winning combination. Today, this intuition is a reality. With their holistic vision of technology, women make a vital contribution to technological and social innovation,” she said Gianna Martinengo, president of the Association, who then added: «However, as the results of this research show us, we are still far from equality: opportunities, remuneration and the very presence of women in technological and scientific professions. Today more than ever, given the speed with which generative artificial intelligence is developing and advancing, we are therefore called to intervene on multiple fronts, and this concerns us all: the world of education, companies, institutions and associations”.


Leave a Comment