La Conferenza ASITA 2022 è l’occasione per lanciare il capitolo italiano di una iniziativa europea stabilita all’interno di EUROGI (European Umbrella Organisation for Geographic Information), il Focus Group “Women in GI”. All’interno del Policy Portfolio, questa iniziativa ha un duplice obiettivo, fornire l’opportunità alle donne impegnate nel settore geospaziale europeo di fare rete per condividere le proprie esperienze, e sviluppare un policy position paper che possa essere usato da EUROGI, e possibilmente da altre organizzazioni, anche non europee, per promuove l’uguaglianza di genere al proprio interno.
“Women in GI” non è una nuova associazione, né vuole esserlo. Esistono infatti molti gruppi, comunità e associazioni che lavorano, e bene, su questo tema. “Women in GI” è un’occasione per raccogliere informazioni sullo scenario attuale, creare collaborazioni sul tema e confrontarsi con iniziative a livello europeo dando voce alle esigenze locali.
L’iniziativa è aperta alle donne e agli uomini che lavorano in questo settore poiché siamo convinti che per ottenere il cambiamento culturale necessario, lo stereotipo “solo donne” non funziona (più). È necessario discutere della visibilità delle donne nei ruoli decisionali per costruire uguaglianza e rappresentatività a livello senior, è necessario riflettere sul perché l’area STEM stia ancora sperimentando un significativo sbilanciamento di genere e su cosa fare per interrompere questa tendenza. È necessario capire le barriere e i facilitatori nell’educazione e nelle carriere femminili.
Il primo anno di attività a livello europeo ha fatto sì che venissimo a contatto con le molte associazioni esistenti a livello internazionale impegnate su questo tema. Tra le altre, Women in GIS, Women in Copernicus, Women in GeoSpatial+, Ladies in Landsat, African Women in GIS, Women in Remote Sensing, Sisters of SAR, IEEE Women in Geoscience and Remote Sensing, GeoChicas, Women in Aerospace Europe.
Oltre ad organizzare degli eventi per far conoscere il Focus Group, abbiamo partecipato anche ad una serie di webinar organizzati dalla rete del progetto Women in Copernicus che promuove la visibilità delle donne nell’ambito dell’Osservazione della Terra e dell’Informazione Geografica, e siamo stati invitati alla Sessione “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)” nell’ambito del Geospatial World Forum 2021.
La partecipazione al capitolo italiano del Focus Group “Women in GI” è su base volontaria ed il tempo dedicato sarà a beneficio delle attività della rete e dei membri.
Durante la conferenza, sarà allestito uno spazio dove sarà possibile avere informazioni sull’iniziativa, aderire e contribuire con la modalità che ognuno riterrà più opportuna.
Estratto della relazione per la Special Session “Toward a More Gender-balanced Geoscience and Remote Sensing World” all’IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium IGARSS 2021, July 12-16, Brussels.
The “Women in GI” focus group was established in September and represents one of the activities carried out under the ambit of the EUROGI Policy Portfolio.
EUROGI stands for European Umbrella Organisation for Geographic Information. It is an open and inclusive organization that dates back to the 1993. Initially it was promoted to support and develop at European level the use of applications and technologies related to Geographic Information, representing the common interests of the European “Geographical Information Community”.
In this field, the number of women involved in research and teaching activities is decreasing considerably, even if with different percentages in the member states. This trend was confirmed by the European Commission report “Woman in digital era” that talks about an EU average declining since 2006 in the specific ICT field. A real collapse that is very difficult to explain according to the commission.
In fact, the study found that, despite the growing demand of ICT specialists and digital profiles, the percentage of Europeans with ICT-related education is decreasing. Although this is a common trend for both genders, there are lesser women than men who are choosing ICT related jobs and education.
As for the private sector, the last report of the EU commission claims that although women account for more than half of the European population only around 17% of the ICT specialists are women.
Then, it would be interesting to try to understand the main reasons of this phenomenon that had such a deep impact in past and still has it on the present situation. Let us consider that the annual productivity loss for the European economy due to women leaving their digital jobs to become inactive is calculated to be about EUR 16.2 billion. While, the McKinsey Global Institute, by examining 15 indicators of gender equality in 95 countries, has calculated that by reducing the gender gap in the workplace the world Gross Domestic Product could rise to 67 trillion dollars. We can say that gender equality is not just a question of social justice but it has an impact also on the economy. Let me finally recall also the 5th sustainable goal of the Agenda 2030, which is specifically addressed to the Achievement of gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, here we can find an explicit reference to the sustainable economy.
So, in this context the aim of EUROGI is twofold. First, getting in touch with networks of women involved in the European geospatial sector, who share opportunities and experiences, EUROGI aims to acquire knowledge from innovative as well as consolidated scenarios to outline a general overview of the current situation also in terms of existing good practices. Secondly, EUROGI aims to contribute to develop policy positions, which can be used by EUROGI and other organisations to promote gender equality within their own organisations.
Then, what EUROGI is doing to achieve this goal. Seminars, webinars and other initiatives like this to let people know the mission of this FG, that is, gender is not an obstacle to success in the GI(S) profession, quite the contrary; a gender perspective is useful to bridge the gap between the formal approach, typically followed by men, and the one oriented to human dynamics proposed by women.
The editing a position paper with two goals: depicting the current situation by collecting statistical data through a survey we are preparing, and defining a set of principles and guideline to promote gender equality.
The position paper has a focus on a set of principles and policies.
According to experts, education is the most effective way to face the idea that ICT careers are inherently masculine. To break down the existing stereotypes and arouse interest in this sector, it is important to introduce girls to the female figures who have made history – and are building the future – of ICT and, in particular, in the GI sector.
Let me recall that Geography Paved the Way for Women in Science. The introduction of geography into postcolonial schoolrooms marked an important shift in the way Americans began to think about the education of their daughters. Through geography, science became an acceptable part of the education of American girls.
Visibility of women in leadership roles is crucial when envisioning and pursuing success and paths for career advancement. Typically, women are underrepresented at board level, which is a valid reason to build equality and representation at this level. Also, formal mentorship programs for women within the workplace with a relatable manager means that women can more easily envision themselves in a managerial position – this builds confidence.
Groups of women sharing knowledge, forums promoting gender equality, and associations encouraging women to showcase their success, are examples of opportunities to build networks, promoting high- placing women and support women’s leadership success.
Two principles are fundamental for people involved in this focus group, namely inclusiveness and involvement of all parties. As a matter of fact, the cultural change needed to achieve the 5th goal of the Agenda 2030 should be supported by people regardless of their gender. The only-women stereotype is no more winning. Anyone, woman or man, can advise and support young people to grow personally and professionally.
It is important to recognize the role of gender as a criterion to evaluate the content of scientific research. Horizon2020 represented an important step forward, both conceptual and political, because it established that the integration of a gender perspective improves the scientific quality and the social relevance of knowledge and innovations produced.