Women usually take on tasks such as childcare or caring for relatives, so-called care work, which is why in 2020 still nearly 73 % women only worked part-time (source: Statistik Austria). As a result, they have fewer opportunities for advancement in their jobs and are paid less. SAL offers special parental leave and part-time models to support precisely this care work.

The share of women in the so-called MINT subjects is still small in Austria. In 2019, less than a quarter started a study in this area. In addition, women in MINT subjects drop out of their studies more often and earlier, reveals DerStandard.

And how is the situation in the R&D sector?
According to FEMtech, the number of female scientists continues to grow dynamically, but since around 2011 the growth rates for both male and female scientists have not changed a lot. As a result, the proportion of women among the scientific staff is only growing very slowly.

The right path to a gender-open career choice

What can be done to get more women and girls working in technical professions? “At SAL, we want to help all employees to reach their full potential. We support individual models for parental leave and working hours. Compatibility of work and family is important to us and we now also offer a special part-time all-in model that at least financially mitigates the pay gap in case of career interruptions due to pregnancies.”, explains Emily Knes, Head of HR.

In order to provide children with a basic foundation of technical skills even before they choose their school specialization it is advisable to make these skills tangible in kindergarten or elementary school, for example through technical experiments. In this way, even small children can be given joyful access to technical experiences. At SAL, we repeatedly offer guided tours for pupils (i.e., internship days, guided tours for school classes, participation in initiatives such as "Berufsspionage") to bring research closer to them.

In order to get more girls to work in technical professions, equal career orientation should be pursued. This can be facilitated by providing support and longer-term guidance to students through collaborations between regional businesses, state institutions and schools. Supporting students with their master thesis has always been an important part of in the advancement of prospective researchers. Besides that, we also offer a doctoral training program for researchers focusing on the field of EBS.

An important approach to increasing the proportion of women in technical training and occupations is to make the presence in and co-design of technology by all genders the norm. Among other things, the goal should be to present technical professions, competencies and training in a way that is equally appealing to women and men. SAL encourages its employees to participate in various further training courses and seminars. We offer trainings in project management, leadership or for soft skills and competencies, for example the course "Python" or our English and German language courses.

We need to dispel the misconception that girls are not as good at math and rather create an environment where they are confident enough to choose any education and career they want – whether it is a field typically ascribed to men or not! With this in mind, let's make every day Women's Day!