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Research projects
WWW-ICT - Widening Women's Work in Information and Communication Technology - for the European programme Information Society Technologies (IST), fifth framework programme of RTD (2002-2004)


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Welcome on the web page of WWW-ICT, updated in August 2008

Final synthesis report (July 2004)

Cette page existe aussi en version française.


Why are there so few women among the professionals of information and communication technology (ICT)? What are the barriers to women choosing and developing careers in ICT professions, and what changes are likely to improve their access and position in this labour market? This European project (Information Society Technologies, 5th Framework Programme) hinges on the development of an integrated approach to the different aspects of gender disparity in the ICT professions. It combines explanatory factors linked to education and training, with the conditions of work and employment, and with the technical and professional culture of ICT. Research teams in seven countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Ireland, Portugal and United Kingdom) have carried out in-depth empirical studies. They suggest targeted recommendations for agents of change in this area.

In memoriam: Laurence d'Ouville

Laurence d'Ouville accidentally died in December 2006. She was the WWW-ICT project manager at ANACT (Lyon). Through two years of intensive collaboration, all the WWW-ICT partners appreciated her dynamism, her lucidity, her engagement for professional equality between women and men, and also her communicative enthousiasm and jovial character. Laurence is co-author of most WWW-ICT publications. Particularly she designed the awareness leaflets. We share the sorrow of her family and friends and we want to pay her a tribute through this web site.

Downloadable documents: final products

Final synthesis report

WWW-ICT final report

Valenduc G., Vendramin P., Guffens C. (FTU), Ponzellini A.M., Lebano A. (FRPS), D'Ouville L., Collet I. (ANACT), Wagner I., Birbaumer A., Tolar M. (TUW), Webster J. (RCWE), Widening Women's Work in Information and Communication Technologies, final synthesis report, European Commission (IST-2001-34520), July 2004 (148 pp.)

Downloadable in two PDF versions: electronic version of the printed document (736 kB) or active PDF document with bookmarks (882 kB, compressed)

Single free copies of the paper version of the final synthesis report are available on request by e-mail to the project coordinator, at postage costs: 2.20 € in Belgium, 5.65 € in Europe, 8.95 € outside Europe. Please indicate clearly your postal address.

Awareness leaflets (also web version in French)

A series of three 6-pages leaflets ainming at presenting research conclusions and recommendations for three groups of "agents of change": enterprises and their business partners; institutions for education and vocational training; women's associations, trade unions and institutions for equal opportunities.

Leaflet HRM Leaflet training Leaflet women Printed versions of awareness leaflets are available on request by e-mail: in French and English to FTU; in German to TUW and in Italian to FRPS.
Leaflet for companies, human resource managers, recruiters, etc.
Leaflet for schools and universities, training providers and lifelong learning institutions
Leaflet for women's associations, women's groups in trade unions, organisations for equal opportunities

Conclusions and recommendations

Conclusions are presented under four headings: education and training; women's working conditions; labour market and labour relations; women's trajectories. Recommendations start from the question: what are the conditions that can make ICT professions and careers more attractive for women? The document briefly describes the steps leading from conclusions to recommendations. Then it presents, in a synoptic view, the recommendations, the concerned agents of change, and example of good practices supporting the relevance of the recommendations. Recommendations are finally detailed according to different European policy areas.
The document is an excerpt of the final synthesis report, downloadable in PDF format (46 pp.)

Downloadable documents: scientific reports

Inventory and analysis of good practices

Final version: February 2004. This report summarises and analyses the information gathered on good practices aimed at improving women's place in ICT professions in Europe. After an introductory comment on the definition criteria of "good" practices, chapter I presents a structured overview of collected good practices, highlighting their key formal characteristics and situating them with regard to the variety of ICT professions. Chapter III draws some avenues for development and evolution of these practices, stressing the importance of driving forces and mobilising initiators. Chapter IV develops methodological recommendations related to quality criteria and evaluation process of good practices in this area. Chapter V draws conclusions and recommendations, and summarises the key arguments supporting the recommendations. Seven annexes present inventories of selected good practices in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France and the UK.
The full report is downloadable in PDF format (118 pp. including annexes). Annexes are published together the body text, as they provide quite practical, concrete and useful information on the collected good practices.

Case studies of work organisation

Final version: February 2004. The report presents the analysis and synthesis of 14 sectoral overviews and 28 case studies of enterprises in two sectors (computer services and e-publishing) and seven countries. Chapters I and II are respectively devoted to a comparative analysis of work and employment in the computer services industry and the e-publishing industry, with an emphasis on social aspects and gender issues. Chapter III describes the case study analysis in computer services and chapter IV in e-publishing. Chapter V highlights some national and contextual issues related to women's work in these sectors across Europe. Chapter VI presents conclusions under two main headings: labour markets; organisational structures and practices.
This synthesis report is downloadable in PDF format (124 pp. including annexes summarising the main features of case studies). Detailed reports on sectoral overviews and case studies in each country will be made available on request by e-mail to the project coordinator.

Professional trajectories and biographies

First final version: January 2004. The report starts presenting the conclusions from the biographical interviews, as a 12-pages executive summary. The next chapter analyses more precisely the key characteristics and varied profiles of women's biographies in ICT. The third chapter draws eight clusters of career patterns for women in ICT, based on a multi-criteria analysis of the coded biographical sheets gathered by the seven research teams in their country. The fourth chapter accounts for a more in-depth qualitative analysis of life-story patterns. The fifth chapter comments specific aspects of the male biographies and stresses the common and different points as regards female biographies. Annex 1 contains the seven synthesis reports on biographical interviews in each country. Annex 2 summarises the quantitative analysis of the coded biographical sheets and explains the methodology of cluster analysis.
Two versions are downloadable in PDF format: the full version, including the annexes (274 pp.) and a "light" version, containing chapters 1-5 without the annexes (68 pp.).

Conceptual framework and state of the art

(September 2002, updated April 2003, English, 156 pp., downloadable PDF file)
This report describes the various dimensions of gender disparties in ICT professions and discusses a set of interacting explicative factors. It relies on a state of the art of existing research in this area.


(November 2002, updated January 2004, on-line version)
A customised search engine allows for consultation and retrieval of the on-line bibliography.

Other downloadable articles or presentations 2004-2008

Patricia Vendramin
Women's work in ICT in Europe: how to explain disparities ?
14th International Conference on Women Engineers and Scientists (IWECS14), Lille, July 2008

Gérard Valenduc, Patricia Vendramin
Work organisation and skills in ICT professions: the gender dimension
Conference "ICT, the knowledge society and changes in work", Den Haag, June 2005

Gérard Valenduc
Women's trajectories in ICT professions
International conference of the WINNET network, Brussels, Novembre 2005.

Gérard Valenduc, Patricia Vendramin, Caroline Guffens
La place des femmes dans les métiers des TIC
Revue Wallonie, n° 80, Liège, septembre 2004

Project partners WWW-ICT

Project co-ordinator

Fondation Travail-Université (FTU)
Work & Technology Research Centre
Rue de l'arsenal 5, B-5000 Namur, BELGIUM
Project co-ordinators: Patricia Vendramin ( and Gérard Valenduc (

Project partners

National Agency for the Improvement of Working Conditions (ANACT)
4 Quai des Etroits, F-69321 Lyon cedex 05, FRANCE
Project manager: Laurence D'Ouville

Vienna University of Technology (TUW), Institute for Technology Assessment and Design
Argentinierstrasse 8, A-1040 Wien, AUSTRIA
Project manager: Ina Wagner (

Fondazione Pietro Seveso
Viale Vittorio Veneto 24, I-20124 Milano, ITALY
Project manager : Anna Ponzellini (

Research and Consultancy in Work and Employment
22 Northchurch Terrace, London N1 4EG, UK
Project manager: Juliet Webster (


University of Lisbon, Centre for Social Research and Intervention (CIS)
ISCTE, Av. Forças Armadas, P-1649 Lisboa 026, PORTUGAL
Project manager: Paula Castro (

Trinity College, Employment Research Centre (ERC)
1, College Green, Dublin, IRELAND
Project manager: James Wickham (


European Conference
Women's place in ICT professions
Paris, 24 May 2004

Conference programme and downloadable presentations

Morning sessions: research results and outcomes
Chair: Gérard Valenduc, Work & Technology Research Centre, Fondation Travail-Université, Namur, Belgium.

Session 1: What is ICT work for women really about?

Women's jobs in ICT cover a wide range of professions and functions, including project management, programming, multimedia design and support, marketing and customer support. There are neither "women excluded" nor "women only" jobs, except that high level management functions are rarely accessible to women. The image of women working in ICT has to be reshaped.

Presentation of WWW-ICT findings, by Ina Wagner, Institute for Technology Design and Assessment, Vienna University of Technology, Austria (PDF version)

Session 2: How to improve women's choices and careers in IT?
Women enjoy working with ICT. Technology is not really a barrier to their entry into ICT curricula and careers. Women's entry routes are very diverse, including technical and non-technical degrees, and late entry through lifelong learning. Obstacles and opportunities in women's careers in ICT depend strongly on organisational choices at company level. Balancing career and private or family life are a matter of individual choice and work organisation.

Presentation of WWW-ICT findings, by Juliet Webster, Research and Consultancy on Work and Employment, London, UK (PDF version)

Afternoon sessions: pathways for change
Chair: Patricia Vendramin, Work & Technology Research Centre, Fondation Travail-Université, Namur, Belgium.

Session 3: Why still so few women in ICT after so many years of campaigns?
For many years, various campaigns have been initiated to attract more women in ICT professions. Why is their success apparently so limited? Too often, they address only women, neglecting other agents of change. Their messages concerning job content and careers are too vague. And they often focus on only one of the causes of the gender gap in ICT professions: either education or working conditions or professional culture.

Presentation of WWW-ICT findings, by Laurence D'Ouville, National agency for the improvement of working conditions (ANACT), Lyon, France, and Isabelle Collet, University of Paris X Nanterre
(PDF version)

Session 4: How to improve women's place in ICT professions?
Final recommendations of WWW-ICT address a range of topics: a better understanding of the variety of ICT professions; more concern for career choice and reorientation; an increased effort in continuous training; changes in work organisation allowing for a better balance between working time and other social times; more attention by human resource managers to coaching, mentoring and targeted family-friendly policies; support for women's networks; progress in labour market policies and equal opportunities policies.

Presentation of WWW-ICT recommendations, by Anna Ponzellini, Fondazione Regionale Pietro Seveso, Milan, Italy (PDF version)


Workshop "Gender and ICT professions"
(Brussels, 29 September 2003)

Workshop programme and downloadable presentations

General presentation of WWW-ICT, structure and objectives of the workshop
Woskshop moderator: Gérard Valenduc, Fondation Travail-Université (B)

Session A: Human resource management

  • Specificities of career management, opportunities and disadvantages for women
    Juliet Webster, Research and Consultancy on Work and Employment, London (UK)
  • Knowledge management: self-training and ongoing development of competences
    Caroline Guffens, Fondation Travail-Université, Namur(B)
  • Comments on social relations: women and the individualisation of work relation
    Patricia Vendramin, Fondation Travail-Université, Namur (B)

Session B: Quality of work

  • Time management, relation to working time: obstacles and opportunities for women
    Patricia Vendramin, Fondation Travail-Université, Namur (B)
  • Job content: preferences, attitudes, expectations and frustrations, what are the women's choices
    Juliet Webster, RCWE, London (UK)
  • Professional culture and work organisation: how do women behave?
    Adele Lebano, Fondazione Regionale Pietro Seveso, Milano (I)

Session C: Women's trajectories into ICT: dynamics, paths and patterns

Session D: Labour market

  • Diversification of job profiles: an increasing place for women ?
    Juliet Webster, RCWE, London (UK)
  • Relation of women to the specific labour market of ICT jobs
    Anna Ponzellini, Fondazione Regionale Pietro Seveso, Milano (I)

Session E: Good practices and recommendations

  • Characterisation of existing good practices for equal opportunities in ICT professions
    Laurence D'Ouville, Agence nationale pour l'amélioration des conditions de travail, Lyon (F)
  • Pathways for recommendations
    Patricia Vendramin, Fondation Travail-Université (B)


Workshop "Gender and ICT professions in IST projects and European policies" (Brussels, 21 October 2002)

Workshop programme and downloadable presentations

Welcome address
Heidi Seybert, project officer, IST programme

Presentation of WWW-ICT and the goals and structure of the workshop
Patricia Vendramin, Fondation Travail-Université (B)

Focus 1: Gender and ICT professions: problems and limits of quantitative and qualitative approaches to the gender gap

  • Mapping the ICT professions, mapping the gender gap: findings and methodological issues
    Gérard Valenduc, Fondation Travail-Université (B)
  • Gender approaches in European socio-economic research on the Information Society
    Juliet Webster, Research and Consultancy on Work and Employment (UK)
  • Contributions from other IST projects and EC initiatives:
    Jane Millar (SPRU Brighton, STAR project)
    Monique Ramioul (HIVA Leuven, STILE and EMERGENCE projects)
    Frank Noël (ICT-skills monitoring group, DG Enterprise)

Focus 2: The role of cultural, psychological and educational factors in gender disparities in ICT professions

  • Contributions from WWW-ICT: Andrea Birbaumer, Technische Universität Wien (A), and Caroline Guffens, Fondation Travail-Université (B)
  • Contributions from other IST projects and EC initiatives
    Vivian Berg (SIGIS project)
    Nancy Pascall (DG Information Society) and Maria Douka (Unit Women and Science, DG Research)

Focus 3 - Work organisation and working conditions in ICT professions: limited space for women's careers

  • Contribution from WWW-ICT: Anna Ponzellini, Fondazione Pietro Seveso (I)
  • Contributions from other IST projects and EC initiatives
    Richard Wynne (WRC Dublin, FAMILIES project)
    Monique Ramioul (HIVA Leuven, STILE and EMERGENCE projects)
    Detlef Gerhardt (Unit Knowledge Society and ESDIS, DG Employment)

Conclusions and perspectives

  • Futures tasks of WWW-ICT and planned dissemination activities (workshops, publications)
    Gérard Valenduc, Fondation Travail-Université (B)

Useful links

Women and ICT occupations

  • Belgium: the ADA project, supported by the European Social Fund and the Belgian Ministry of Labour and Equal Opportunities, builds up a network of initiatives about women and ICT: training, job opportunities, equal opportunities, etc. The ADA web site also contains hyperlinks with other similar projects in Europe. ADA partners are involved in the organisation of the Digitales days, a yearly international event on women and ICT, held in Brussels (last events: December 2002 and January 2004).

European programmes and projects

  • The SIGIS project (Strategies for Inclusion of Gender in the Information Society) is another IST project concerning gender issues in ICT. SIGIS addresses women as ICT users, at work and in everyday life, while WWW-ICT focusses on women in ICT professions. Most of the SIGIS reports are already available on-line.
  • The STILE project (Statistical Indicators on the Labour Market in the e-economy) contains relevant gendered data on women employment and labour market in the e-economy.
  • The final results of EMERGENCE (Estimation and Mapping of Employment Relocation in a Global Economy and New Communications Environement) emphasise some gender aspects in e-work and work relocation.
  • More information on socio-economic research within the European programme Information Society Technologies:
  • European Commission, Unit "Women and science":
  • ICT skills monitoring group and e-Skills forum:



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