Girls Go Circular: Bridging the digital gender divide

The digital gender gap, especially within the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), is an ongoing issue in Europe. Even though women make up 51% of the EU population, only 1 in 3 STEM graduates and 1 in 5 ICT specialists are women.[1]

The gender gap in STEM is contributing to the evident and growing talent gap within healthcare across Europe, which threatens the sustainability and growth of the industry. Although talent shortages exist across the board in healthcare, the need for digital skillsets in new and emerging roles in commercial and innovation settings is leading to exponential demand.

Increasing women’s participation in digital technology

Reducing the digital gender divide and increasing women’s participation in digital technology is crucial for Europe’s economic growth, promising a potential surge of 16 billion euros annually.[2]

To unlock the potential of women in digital sectors, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and its Innovation Communities created the Girls Go Circular programme, which provides online learning centred on the circular economy to equip young European girls with crucial digital and entrepreneurial skills. Recognising that the gender gap in STEM is adding to the known talent shortage in healthcare, EIT Health has introduced specific health modules aligned with EIT’s Deep Tech Talent Initiative pledge to have one million people skilled in deep tech by 2025.

Ensuring that the innovation pipeline is diverse

In three years, the Girls Go Circular initiative has equipped +40,000 schoolgirls aged 14-19 across Europe with digital and entrepreneurial skills. Empowering girls not only serves the individuals but has a ripple effect on communities and the broader economy. As these girls gain vital digital skills and insights into the circular economy they become ambassadors of change, paving the way for increased gender representation in STEM fields.

Increasing inclusivity is key to driving effective innovation. Enhanced diversity, especially in leadership roles, catalyses revenue growth, sharpens problem-solving capabilities and fortifies team dynamics.[3] By ensuring that the innovation pipeline is diverse, we avoid replicating existing gender inequalities through the innovations this workforce evolves.

Discover how Girls Go Ciruclar is building an inclusive digital future

Our short film, produced by BBC StoryWorks Commercial productions, tells this important story through the lens of Girls Go Circular graduate, Kelly, who is now, thanks in part to Girls Go Circular, studying electrical and computer engineering at university. We hear from secondary school teacher Evgenia on why she championed the programme. Through Kelly and Evgenia’s eyes, discover why Girls Go Circular is vital, how it works, the life-changing benefits it brings to students and the wider societal impact.

Watch this compelling story of how our pan-European online learning programme, funded by EIT, opened Kelly’s career horizons in STEM and is helping build an inclusive digital future for Europe!

“It is educational technology that can really be a game changer when it comes to encouraging girls into STEM.”

Kelly Papadopoulou, Girls Go Circular Programme Graduate

  1. Women in Digital (2024) Shaping Europe’s digital future. Available at: (Accessed: 23 April 2024).

  2. Increased women’s, girls’ participation in digital technology crucial to economies, global sustainability, Speakers Tell Commission, as session continues | meetings coverage and press releases (no date) United Nations. Available at: (Accessed: 23 April 2024).

  3. Lorenzo, R. et al. (2023) How diverse leadership teams boost innovation, BCG Global. Available at: (Accessed: 23 April 2024).