Online training makes this possible: women invest more in their continuing education

The MINT world (MINT = mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology) is still predominantly a male domain – only a few women are trying to establish themselves professionally there. This is also confirmed by the MINT 2021 autumn report of the German Economic Institute: According to this, the low proportion of women in MINT professions (only 15.5% in October 2021) is striking – and worrying from the point of view economy.

This development is exacerbated by the growing shortage of skilled workers. The need for well-trained experts is increasing, but there are not enough qualified personnel to fill the existing positions. According to a current study by Bitkom, there is a shortage of 96,000 IT specialists in the German market alone. This means that the gap that was already widening in 2020 has increased again by twelve percent. In order to reduce the shortage of IT specialists in Germany, the gender-specific MINT gap should be closed.

Retraining or upskilling is often essential for women wishing to enter these high-demand fields, whether to supplement existing skills or to enable a complete career change. The Coursera platform highlights the issues that are holding women back from adopting STEM subjects.

The impact of the pandemic has disproportionately affected women. According to a 2020 McKinsey study on the link between the corona pandemic and gender equality, women’s jobs in the United States and India were almost twice as vulnerable to corona as those of men. The report published by the European Commission EU Gender Equality Report 2021 can be summed up as follows: income and social inequalities have increased because the participation of women in the labor market has suffered.

The report shows that the pandemic has hit the female labor market hard in several ways. This is also due to the fact that women are overrepresented in sectors and professions that could not be carried out from the home office. Also in Germany there was a strong imbalance between working women and men during the Corona crisis. Women took on much of the childcare and reduced their working hours. This is shown in a report by the Hans Böckler Foundation from 2020.

If you look at the current number of enrollments on the online learning platform Coursera, however, a positive trend can be observed in terms of the use of online courses by women: in 2021, the proportion of enrollments for the online continuing education by women was higher than before the pandemic.