The fourth industrial revolution is only just beginning, the consequences of robotics are still largely unknown and 65% of today’s children will be doing jobs that do not yet exist. That said, by 2025, seven million new jobs will have been created in the science and technology sector in the European Union alone, and yet girls run the risk of missing out on a historic opportunity.
This was the “snapshot of a changing world” revealed by Carlo Bozzoli, Enel’s Head of Global Digital Solutions, the division created to manage the Group’s digital transformation, in his opening address to Women in Tech. The event, which was held for the fourth year running in our Rome auditorium, aims to help bridge the gender gap in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) professions, and this year took its title from the challenge for women’s startups launched at the end of November on our Open Innovability platform.
The great late Italian astrophysicist Margherita Hack used to say that “in life, there is nothing to fear, only to understand.” This invitation to not fear the future was reiterated by all the managers who were guests at the event who told their personal success stories to a packed audience of female middle and high school students.
“Thanks to the digital revolution, you have the opportunity to forge ahead. The ball is in your court,” said Luisa Arienti, CEO of SAP Italia, while Lucia Chierchia, Managing Partner of Gellify, urged the girls to “follow your dreams” because “you are the real startup” in a world that will be demanding continuous professional education and increasingly hybrid skills. IBM Italy Master Inventor Floriana Ferrara explained that the digital transformation will create professions we are completely unfamiliar with right now, including those described by Marina Ruggieri, a lecturer in telecommunications at Rome’s “Tor Vergata” University. Examples include water and food engineers, resource sustainability engineers, human-robot educators, who will facilitate collaboration with robots, and tech-ethics engineers, who will analyse the ethical implications of new technologies.
“Learning will free you from conditioning,” added Katia Sagrafena, co-founder of Vetrya, a company in which 47% of the workforce is female, while Claudia Pingue, General Manager of the Milan Politecnico startup incubator PoliHub, reminded those present that “for women, entrepreneurship is an opportunity, not the necessity it is for men.” Lastly, Monica Parrella, General Personnel Manager at the Ministry for Economics and Finance, reminded the audience that the percentage of women employed in science and technology professions in Italy is one of the lowest in Europe with only Greece and Malta faring worse.
The event concluded with the presentation of a prize to Linda Serra, co-founder of Work Wide Women, the social learning platform that won the challenge launched by the Enel Group. It consists of a web community, a networking app and a videogame designed to attract girls to becoming involved in the world of science and technology. “Diverse thinking is enriching,” declared our Chief Innovability Officer Enrico Ciorra presenting Ms Serra with a cheque for 20,000 dollars to help support the growth of the project.
The final word of encouragement for the day came from Nicoletta Rocca, Head of People and Organization at Global Digital Solutions: “Girls, the princess syndrome is a scam: the harder you fight for other women, the better the network will work!”