Forbes Central America on 10Pearls LATAM Women In Tech Initiative

Blog Banner forbes espanol

Advocating for the increased representation of women in STEM fields goes beyond achieving equality; it’s a strategic imperative for driving scientific, technological and economic progress. The article, “Here are the initiatives driving women’s participation in STEM”, discusses endeavors that promote women in science and technology, including Women In Tech by 10Pearls LATAM, recently held on 10th February in Costa Rica. Events like Women In Tech play a crucial role, not just in empowering individuals; but also in transforming entire ecosystems, driving innovation, and shaping a future where everyone has equal opportunities to thrive.

Forbes Central America
(The article, written in Spanish, has been translated below)

Here are the initiatives driving women's participation in STEM

Promoting the presence of female talent in STEM will help achieve a balance in rights and equity, drive innovation, economic development, and business success. The lack of recruitment of female talent in STEM careers is still a challenge in the industry. According to UNESCO figures, in 2020, the global average rate of women researchers was only 29.3%, and only 35% of STEM students in higher education were women. Additionally, a survey by the World Bank focused on Latin American companies shows a significant gender gap in STEM areas, as only one-third of employees with degrees in these areas are women.

Among the initiatives aimed at eliminating the gender gap in STEM careers, some companies, such as Microsoft, are actively involved in this endeavour. In 2023 Microsoft held the DigiGirlz event, where more than 50 girls and young women gathered in Guatemala to promote and encourage technical education for girls and teenagers. These spaces become a platform to showcase the advantages of technological careers and the growing demand for these profiles in the job market, allowing young women to learn about advances in technology such as artificial intelligence, coding, and computational thinking, while also enabling them to meet and converse with prominent professionals in the industry.

“It has been proven that the deficit of women in science, technology, and mathematics industries and careers is closely related to the lack of role models,” said Erick Sosa, Manager of Microsoft Guatemala.

Another effort to encourage closing the gender gap in STEM was carried out by the Ministry of Public Education of Guatemala, where they developed an initiative called Mission Activation Charity, through which 180 young people were able to access careers in the technology sector.

Leaders call for closing the gender gap

According to McKinsey, the gender gap costs the world approximately $12 trillion in global GDP, and some countries experience a loss of up to 35%. With the cost of economic inequality so high, we cannot wait for the estimated 169 years it will take to close the gender economic gap, as indicated by the World Economic Forum report.

Several industry leaders have been working to accelerate the closing of the gap through an initiative called Accelerators Network, which aims to improve access to economic opportunities for 867,318 women through new laws and policies in the workplace addressing gender gaps in the workforce, compensation, and leadership.

Globally, countries are working with 1,265 private sector companies to close gender gaps in their workforce and operations. For example, more than 180 companies in Chile have committed and collectively employ 130,000 local women, 7% of private sector wage employees.

Initiatives that promote women’s participation in STEM

Companies enrolled in the acceleration program in Chile, such as Accenture, Cargill, IBM, Invest Chile, LatAm Airlines, Microsoft, Nestlé, PwC, SAP, Siemens, and Unilever, have seen an increase in women’s workforce representation to 41%, as well as a significant decrease of 37.5% in the gender pay gap.

Women in technology

Creating spaces for learning and collaboration among experts and enthusiasts serves as a guide for decision-making. That’s why the multinational 10Pearls decided to hold a new edition of its ‘Women in Tech’ event in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The aim is to take a step further in its mission to inspire women in technology to break gender stereotypes, lead innovation, create networks, and forge new professional opportunities thanks to the company’s expansion in Central America.

For Imran Aftab, co-founder and CEO of 10Pearls, the event represents an opportunity to give back what the industry has provided, betting on closing gaps and creating a more equitable ecosystem for all: “I started this company with my brother because we believe giving back is important. When I worked for AOL, I had the opportunity to be in more than 11 countries around the world, and I recognized how job creation changed people’s lives. That’s when I connected the dots, I wanted to change the world by helping to create job opportunities, especially empowering women,” says the executive.

Women in Tech will take place on February 10th and consists of a series of talks by experts and industry professionals. Speakers will share their experiences and insights on the importance of having close professional mentors that empower career development, how to integrate a balanced vision of professional and personal life, as well as the role of women in innovation. Additionally, the event will feature a panel discussion on how women can lead the technological revolution.

The event is designed for women in technology careers and seeks to include all protagonists, from students to experienced professionals, to enable learning between generations and unlock diverse perspectives.

In my story, my mother played a big role in our lives. She didn’t have the privilege of an education, but she was wise and encouraged me a lot when I started out in the world of entrepreneurship. That formula with technology offers a great opportunity to do this on a large scale,” explains Aftab.

The company also has other social initiatives like the Empower Foundation, where they work with children, women, and people in need. They are also empowering women in technology through Women Tech Quest, where they invite women from the industry, as well as recent graduates, and provide them exposure to different opportunities.

A study shows that less than 4% of women hold senior positions in companies in the region. That needs to change because we know that when mothers are empowered, they can achieve great things,” concludes Imran.

By Stiven Cartagena

Through initiatives like Women Tech Quest and Women In Tech, 10Pearls continues to demonstrate its commitment to empowering women in technology, one opportunity at a time. With determination and collaboration, the future of tech promises to be brighter and more inclusive than ever before.