By: Sabina Schneider, Executive Vice President of Globant.
In December 2015, the United Nations established February 11, as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, stating that girls are still facing barriers that prevent them from participating in science. Today we invite you to reflect on this issue.
This date makes visible the female scientists’ jobs, building female roles in the areas of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM), promoting practices that bring on gender equality in the scientific area.
Through the program “Women that Build”, Globant seeks to get closer to teenage girls by creating intuitive spaces where they can play with technology and create apps in a short period of time. The goal is to empower women, helping them to gain confidence during the most crucial years in which they are deciding over their career paths and future.
In Argentina, we collaborate precisely with this initiative by taking part in organizations like www.chicasprogramadoras.club , which is an organization that helps the new generation of girls be aware of the opportunities that are available to them.
The Chamber of Commerce of Software and Information Technology estimates that in Argentina there are approximately 5,000 jobs that remain unfilled due to the lack of professionals in that field. These vacancies could be filled by women, but according to the Sadosky Foundation, women represent only 18% of Information Technology students.
This disproportion has currently turned into a problem for the industry, and this reality is repeated over all the countries in the region, where there are many prejudices and lack of support to study careers like Computer Sciences.
A little bit of History
In the 40s, developing was considered a female profession. More than 50% of the professionals were women and was seen as a natural vocation for them. After the Second World War ended, and with the passing of time, things changed. Developing started to be recognized as intellectually challenging and salaries were rising significantly, which caused that more and more men got interested in these careers. Little by little, developing turned out to be a profession associated to a male activity, discouraging women in the field, as said by the historian Nathan Ensmenger.
With the passing of time, the idea about computers and electronic games “are for boys” turned into a common narrative, building the idea that the information technology culture is predominantly for males. A profession which more than its 50% were girls, then in the 80s represented a 30% and today, the percentage of women in Computer Sciences is below 20%.
Studies about perception of intellectual skills demonstrate that in the first years of elementary school girls, tend to choose games in which they have to put a lot of effort. Instead, they are discouraged with games that are for “very, very intelligent” people, a difference that didn’t happen with boys. During their formative years, these tendencies start to crystallize and materialize in the low representation of women in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers and in the field of humanities, where it is believed that their members have to be brilliant. If the outlook would shift towards the idea that ability does not require a genius, but effort, more women would feel motivated to study these careers.
At Globant, we seek to support initiatives that help incorporate women to the IT industry. If you are interested in bringing on initiatives or organizing meetings for promoting the women’s place in the IT industry, write to us firstname.lastname@example.org