Photo: Cercle Tecnològic de Catalunya.
The Technological Circle of Catalonia (CTecno), in collaboration with Barcelona Activa, organised the networking session “The next digital revolution: Women ICT” on July 4, aimed at discussing the root causes of the underrepresentation of women in the technological sector and effective strategies of intervention. The event took place in Barcelona and gathered experts in ICT belonging to the academic, government and industry sectors.
The director of GenTIC, Milagros Sáinz, was invited speaker at a round table chaired by Mariola Dinarès (journalist at Catalunya Ràdio), together with Joana Barbany (director of Digital Society at the Government of Catalonia), Mar Porras (Marketing Manager of Ricoh España) and Sara González (engineer and member of Young IT Girls).
In her presentation, Milagros Sáinz highlighted the gender roles and sexist stereotypes that persist in educational environments, as well as the preconceived ideas of teachers and families about the competencies of girls and young women in different topics, as some of the key factors that influence the underrepresentation of women in technological studies and occupations.
Regarding the possible actions to increase women’s participation in the digital sector, Milagros Sáinz pointed at the need to make more visible the diverse opportunities offered by STEAM occupations; promoting leadership and mentoring among women professionals; fostering co-education and collaboration of mixed groups in the classroom, and integrating a gender perspective in teachers’ training and education curricula.
Joana Barbany, Director of Digital Society at the Government of Catalonia, remarked that the lack of data regarding the evolution of the digital sector and the reality of women’s career progression in technological fields is a barrier for policymakers to implement effective gender equality measures. Long-life training would be also important, in her view, to facilitate the reincorporation to the labour market of women over 45 with scientific and technical degrees. On her side, Mar Porras, commented on the measures implemented by Ricoh España to promote women in the technological sector, such as developing mentoring programmes that connect female students with ICT women.
To conclude the debate, Sara González, engineer and member of Young IT Girls, emphasized the importance of empowering young women who are interested in scientific and technological subjects and reinforcing their self-confidence, as well as offering female role models in ICT and focusing attention on the significant social dimension of the digital sector.