Women in deep tech in Europe: Trends, gaps and opportunities

Navigating the business world as a woman, particularly within the tech industry, can present a unique set of challenges, from contending with stereotypes to encountering limited advancement opportunities, gender biases, and unsupportive work cultures, whether in established corporations or small start-ups. Given the pivotal role of the tech sector in shaping our collective future, fostering an inclusive environment is crucial.

At the recent Women in Tech Global Conference, the EIT Deep Tech Talent Initiative session was led by Outreach and Stakeholder Manager, Francesca Barisani, who was joined on the virtual stage by four amazing women in tech from our Pledger Community: Monika Ptacnikova (Co-Founder and Regional Lead, Czechitas), Lisa Ambros (VP Business Development, the female factor), Alexandra Badea (Founder, She is Mom), and Rasa Strumskyte (Co-Founder, Talent Garden).

After a brief introduction to the session and the EIT Deep Tech Talent Initiative, the panellists focused on the challenges and biases women involved in deep tech face every day, and what impactful strategies the panellists are developing to help them in their career growth.

What are the bottlenecks facing women in tech and deep tech in Europe?

“If you can see it, you can be it!” (Lisa Ambros)

The female factor works with 65 thousand women across 80 countries, and Lisa Ambros acknowledged the biggest challenge facing women in tech is under-representation. Currently only 20% of tech roles are held by women, which draws into a need for female role models in the tech world, or rather, making the female role models that already exist, more visible.

Lisa said that the female factor has an initiative that showcases female leaders across all areas of industry, not just tech because it’s important for everyone to see these role models, including organisations. At the moment, organisations try but they can’t find female candidates, mainly because all the marketing, especially in tech, is not diverse enough and not attractive to women. So, this is a gap and opportunity for them to talk to women and take action to make the tech world more enticing.

What is the state of play in career counselling for women entering the tech market?

Monika Ptacnikova, Czechitas, said that there are still stereotypes and barriers for women to overcome, and that, in her experience as a career counsellor, many women lack confidence and a sense of belonging.

She went on to say that the latest research shows that the biggest difference in confidence is not between men and women, but the culture you are from; the family culture, your upbringing, school system environment and company culture.

Czechitas works with women to train their bravery muscle and give them the confidence that they can do anything, they also work with organisations on their culture and environment.

What are the latest trends in how companies are adapting to the push for women in deep tech?

“Being an intrapreneur means you can also be part of a larger organisation.” (Rasa Strumskyte)

Through its networking silo, Talent Garden works with many organisations across many continents, and Rasa Strumskyte noted that for the larger companies they work with on their innovation and learning journeys, 3 things being prioritised:

  1. Investment in STEM education

So many roles are changing due to digital transformation, the pandemic, the AI revolution, etc., and the scope of work currently being redefined, and because of all these changes, all organisations are pushing the budget focus and attention on STEM education. And today, as opposed to five or 10 years ago, this is no longer being done internally, but as a collaboration with third parties to bring future skills education into organisations, which is why edtech is growing so fast.

  1. Supporting women entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs

There are many more different alternative programmes; support and mentorship programmes, peer-to-peer support groups and learning sessions to help women implement their learning faster and have a support unit to bounce ideas and questions, which creates a whole community along with diversity and inclusion initiatives.

  1. Making the organisation more attractive

It’s not only about hiring women with tech and deep tech backgrounds, but about making the company more attractive, and being more flexible. Diversity and inclusion focus on how organisations accommodate female candidates with a deep tech profile and how they make it more attractive so these candidates have the right environment to thrive while also juggling the other 100 responsibilities they may have in their personal life?

How can technology be a positive force for social change and inclusion?

“Technology can give a lot of power especially as it’s connected with flexibility.” (Alexandra Badea)

She is Mom works with women and mothers, and Alexandra has seen that many times they don’t have enough time or resources to pay for tech courses, but technology itself offers them the opportunity to learn for free or small fee.

This makes it a huge opportunity for diversity and inclusion, and eventually Alexandra would like to not see women on the list of under-represented groups. She went on to say that one of her dreams is to walk into companies one day where everyone is integrated, irrespective of background.

Another dream of hers is to use technology and AI to reduce bias in recruitment and hire the best candidate for the job.

With her experience in recruitment, Alexandra always told her candidates to be open minded and not be afraid because technology can help. However, she has also seen a lot of people, especially women afraid to use technology, especially AI, but this is a great chance to learn more and learn fast.

For women, AI training represents a huge opportunity because it’s more about communication, which plays to women’s strengths, so Alexandra encourages women to grab the opportunity.

How can women-2-women mentoring help women overcome biases they face daily?

“A lot of times women get over mentored but under sponsored!” (Lisa Ambros)


Mentoring is such a powerful tool, however Lisa’s advice is that whatever stage your career’s at and whichever field you work in, to advance, you need the 3 c’s; confidence, competence and connections.

She went on to say that while it’s important to mentor women in all of these three C’s, it’s also important to measure the impact that mentoring has on the levels of confidence, competence and connections.

Lisa stressed that for organisations with mentoring programmes, they need to ensure the programmes are measured and data-driven, because if you can’t measure the impact, then it doesn’t have any! For example, the female factor’s mentoring programme reported that 50% of participants had been promoted within a year of participating.


Lisa linked the bias back to the role model effect. If women can connect with other women from the same or different industries who are already where they would like to be, it gives them new perspectives and opens up a world of opportunity.

But there is a risk of being over-mentored. Women sometimes feel they have to constantly ‘work on themselves’ to improve and move forward. But most of the time, they are already in a good place, they just need the right opportunity. Which makes having a supportive network of both women role models and men important to lift them up and potentially give them access to opportunities.

How do training providers measure the impact of mentoring?

Czechitas’ main focus is on the women who are not in tech positions but want to get to IT, so they create a lot of awareness in the Czech Republic, and beyond, that tech is actually a very creative field, and there are so many ways to bring innovation through technologies to different fields. As a training provider, they have noticed that mentoring is one of the most important parts in their education process for both hard and soft skills.

Every course has a practical element, so students receive technical mentoring from Czechitas’ partners. This creates a huge connection between graduates and partners, which helps graduates’ self-confidence when they apply for roles at partner organisations, because they (a) will know someone from that organisation and (b) know how the organisation works.

In terms of diversity and inclusion, while organisation strategies could be better designed, they go for effective problem solving but by mixing diversity they achieve long term goals and companies have better financial benefits and innovation.

How can training to be more skilled in edtech and deep tech help women improve their self-esteem?

Rasa explained that edtech in general plays a significant role which is growing every day, and there are three areas of impact:

  1. Changing approach to skills development

Skill development used to be more rigid, planning had to be done in advance and training programmes were much longer. Education appearing as chapters in someone’s life rather than ongoing journey. But now with so many different tools, technologies and methodologies, edtech is providing access to very rapid upskilling and even reskilling for women.

For example, previously if you went on a one- or two-year career break, the chances were when you came back your position no longer existed, meaning you had to reskill. Rasa is now seeing an increasing number of women taking courses in programming languages, data science like analytics management, AI, applied AI, prompt engineering, cybersecurity and those programmes range in duration from six weeks part-time to a maximum of three months full-time. This means they can apply their new knowledge immediate in the company or their role, which is a huge impact that edtech trends have created.

Another upside is by participating in these new training courses, they can explore new areas and opportunities to grow within the company.

  1. Flexibility

Nowadays if you want to upskill or reskill, you can match it to your working agenda rather than having to disconnect, do the studying and then to come back to apply it. And this is particularly valuable for women. In a hybrid environment where you’re not fixed to schedules for working and studying, you can choose a schedule that works best for you and all the other responsibilities, and it’s edtech that’s providing this flexibility.

  1. Community and support

One of the biggest features of edtech is peer-to-peer learning and community support. Learning from one another and having a network is changing perceptions and empowering women to try new things. Sometimes women are more conscious going into something alone, lacking self-esteem and all the other roadblocks in our minds, but with peers around us, we feel braver.

How can the use of deep technology trigger a societal change?

“We can start to do simple things, but we need to do it every day.” (Alexandra Badea)

While there’s a lot of talk about tech and deep tech, at the end of the day, Alexandra believes it’s important for someone to discover their passion, their attitude, and their real skills and talent. She is convinced that by discovering your real talent, you will find enough energy, motivation, and resources to take career and learn.

Because for women, to have a job and a family, it’s really hard to take another class, one-year school or university courses. So, you need to have a strong motivation to allocate and dedicate your time to learn something new, which means it’s crucial to choose something that makes you happy. And nowadays, we can connect tech to many industry sectors, e.g., health, hospitality, education, etc.

By discovering your real talents and investing in your passion everyone can contribute to making society better, with more balance and harmony.

Join the Initiative

The Pledge is a vehicle for partners and sponsors to join the initiative and contribute to the development and delivery of its courses and training.

It unites public and private organisations, industry representatives and champions, academic partners, education providers, and Member States to support the initiative, and create synergies with other EU programmes and Agencies.

If you are interested in becoming a Pledger, please submit your pledge on the website and sign the Pledge document.

The Initiative’s goal is to train one million users in deep tech fields by the end of 2025.

The EIT Deep Tech Talent Community is an online space that simplifies the path to career growth and fosters expertise in deep tech for adult learners in companies and on the job market, as well as students in higher education with an interest in deep tech.

If you are a talent interested in developing deep tech skills, please sign up to the Talent Community here.