New national strategy to attract more women to tech education

The efforts are paying off. The Swedish government wants to establish a strategy for getting more women to choose tech education. This was told by the Swedish Minister of Higher Education, Mats Persson, earlier this week. During an event organized by one of the Women In Tech partners, Tietoevry, Mats Persson announced both that the work to establish a strategy has started – and that the government wants to collaborate with private actors in the tech industry to encourage more women to choose tech education and subsequently pursue tech careers. 

Supporting DEI in tech

The news does not come as a surprise, as Mats Persson is an active supporter of increased DEI in tech and joined the Women In Tech conference stage earlier this year for an interview on the topic.

“In Sweden, 11 000 girls graduate from high school with top grades every year, but only 1600 of them becomes an engineer. There’s a huge potential there”, Persson claimed, while at this time still seeking answers on how to move forward from here. “Still, I am here to listen and learn”, Persson said. 

Tech is the industry of the future

In a comment, Mats Persson tells the Swedish news outlet Dagens Opinion that the issue is now a priority for the government and that there is a close dialogue with the business sector to create favorable conditions for more young women to choose tech education.

“I am surprised that Sweden does not have a strategy for this yet, but I think it is good that we are now starting this work. We are currently changing our policies with a broad effort, particularly focusing on the significant potential of getting more girls to choose technical education”, says Mats Persson. 

According to Dagens Opinion, Mats Persson refers to the tech industry as the industry of the future and wants to see a deepened collaboration with the major tech players. 

“It is about gathering stakeholders around a unified strategy. It is important to have more dialogue with the business sector because, after all, they are the ones creating jobs and welfare in this country”, says Mats Persson. 

Different pathways in higher education needed

When diving into the numbers from our recent report, The State of Women In Tech 2023, a majority of our student respondents, amounting to 52%, are currently enrolled in Higher Vocational Education/Yrkeshögskola and might indicate a preferred choice of education being something else than traditional academia. Still, only a third of the current students in the HVE/YH programs related to IT and tech are women according to SCB.

“One of the problems I see is that the higher educational system is based on old traditions”, Mats Persson said on the Women In Tech stage. “Looking at the engineering programs, they are very traditional – and I think that sometimes they might not speak to everyone. There needs to be different pathways, in order to reach more people”.

Elin Eriksson, Director of Women In Tech, says: “I am very happy to see that this matter has become a political priority. We have been running Women In Tech for almost ten years now, backed by partners from the industry sharing our mission to increase the amount of women choosing tech. This is nothing but a huge milestone for everyone who in any shape or form have contributed or been a part of this movement.”