European Commission vice president for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes has marked the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day by calling for more to be done to encourage women to work in the technology sector.
Speaking in Hungary, Kroes said that the teaching of technology needed to change to stop the current drop-off in schools, urging that more be done to impress on girls the importance of computing.
"Girls need to know that science and computing matters, so they do not cut off their options too early. It is not enough to puzzle over why there are too few women ICT executives when we know the problem starts in school," she said.
"My own opinion is that we need to tackle the problem early and from many angles. Girls need to know that science and computing matters, so they do not cut off their options too early."
Kroes also lamented the lack of entrepreneurship within the technology sector from women, noting that all the major success stories have been companies set up by men.
"Can anyone name a woman who has set up and runs their own huge ICT company? No, of course not. In that hall of fame, the names you think of are Jobs, Gates, the Google guys, the Skype guys, Zuckerberg and his friends," she said.
"I want to see a woman on that list. Not because women leaders will fix everything, but because it will be a sign of balance in the sector."
Kroes urged businesses to ensure that female staff currently working in the sector are treated fairly, arguing that, if they are forced out, the technology sector in Europe will fail to achieve its potential.
"Getting and keeping women in ICT is about more than the technology or the school system. It's about career progression, equal pay and facilities to reconcile their family and professional life and so on," she said.
"There is no place for macho nonsense in our digital future. Until the whole sector understands this and acts on it, we will remain at risk of a massive skills gap and we will hold Europe back."
However, Kroes did praise some firms, such as Intel and IBM, for their work in encouraging women into the sector, and said that ultimately she was "frustrated but optimistic" about the current state of the industry.
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