Power to women – Opportunities available to women in the field of digitalisation

Category: Englisch

Judith Gerlach, Bavarian State Minister For Digital Affairs, gave an inspiring keynote speech

f.l.t.r.: Meike Schumacher, Katrin Henkel, Aimee de Koning, Judith Gerlach, Mathilde Schulze-Middig and Prof. Dr. Kristina Balleis

Keynote speech and round table discussion held at the Aschaffenburg University with minister for digital affairs, Judith Gerlach

Last Friday, the University of Applied Sciences and mainproject digital invited guests to discuss the opportunities that exist for women, businesses and society resulting from the process of digitalisation. Advances in digitalisation are bringing about continual change in all areas of life, particularly where work is concerned. On the one hand, IT is becoming increasingly important, while on the other, the process of change is creating completely new kinds of careers, and at the same time, working forms are also changing. 

In her keynote speech, Judith Gerlach, Bavarian State Minister For Digital Affairs, will be considering the prejudices with which women are confronted in the workplace. Despite what many people think, this is not just due to men, she thinks, but it is also frequently down to women underestimating themselves and each other. Women should be more upfront and not wait to be asked. Also very useful when developing a career is knowing the right people and maintaining contacts. “Networking is extremely important,” she stresses.

Only one in six positions in the IT sector is taken by a woman, continues Gerlach. There is an urgent need to change this situation. When it comes to choosing a career, she says, gender-specific roles continue to prevail, yet as the process of digitalisation advances, new careers are constantly being created, and it is these, according to the minister, that represent an important step towards equal opportunity, for instance through the chances offered by mobile working.  

Attractive study offers are an important requirement
Courses of study in technical and IT subjects harbour great opportunities for shaping the future. It is a sector in which women are still significantly under-represented. This is the reason why Judith Gerlach considers it important to help women develop an enthusiasm for study and subsequently taking on responsible jobs in the context of digitalisation. It is against this background that the Aschaffenburg University of Applied Sciences is, for example, offering a new bachelor’s degree in medical engineering and data science, which commences in the winter semester 2019/2020.

The importance of offering attractive courses of study in the field of information technology was also stressed by Mathilde Schulze-Middig, chairwoman of the management team of the Arbeitsagentur Aschaffenburg employment agency in the subsequent panel discussion, which was presented by Meike Schumacher and Christina Höflich. Ms Schulze-Middig pointed out the excellent opportunities available on the labour market for female information technologists, a field that has always had a constant demand for more specialists. 

Katrin Henkel, Chief Strategy Officer of ASC Technologies advised the women in the audience not to try and be like men but to be themselves. She also pointed out that digitalisation enabled considerably more flexibility in working hours, along with more level hierarchies. Professor Kristina Balleis, women’s officer of the University of Applied Sciences urged the women present to put aside their typical role-based behaviour and to communicate their strengths and competences with self-confidence. Aimee de Koning, who is currently working on her master’s degree in the faculty of engineering sciences, presented a statement designed to motivate women to be more open to technical & scientific subjects and careers.