Women demand more weight in a still very masculine technological sector

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Women demand more weight in a still very masculine technological sector The Airbnb product manager, Anne Diaz, poses for Efe during an interview on Thursday, March 7, 2019, at the company's facilities in San Francisco, California (United States). EFE

San Francisco, .- Women continue to be a minority in the technology industry, occupying between 20 and 30% of technical jobs, although as a result of the movement MeToo has seen a change in the “culture” of these firms, explained to Efe two successful company workers from Silicon Valley.

“I think that there is still a situation of equality at 100%, but in recent years the technology industry has changed a lot: now women feel able to speak, to express themselves, they are empowered,” explained Gretel Perera, director of Efe. public relations of Roku.

“In particular, the culture changed a lot as a result of the MeToo movement, which opened the doors to having this kind of conversations in the sector,” said Perera, who is founder with Rocío Medina of the “Latinas in Tech” association, dedicated to enhance the role of Latina women in technology and create a professional network.

“MeToo has changed the minds of both women and men, they have gained self-confidence and they are more willing to listen, now there are many men who come to our events (from” Latinas in Tech “) to listen learn, “he said.

Also Anne Díaz, product manager at Airbnb, has observed a change in trend in recent years, especially in relation to how “technology companies perceive diversity”, something that she said has benefited her directly by having detected a more open and flexible attitude by companies.

“Those changes have allowed me, for example, to enjoy 16 weeks of maternity leave, which is something not too common in the US”, and without that having had negative repercussions in his professional career, he explained.

In addition, Díaz is currently leading the anti-discrimination team of Airbnb, a department that is increasingly common in large technology companies (albeit with different names in each case), in charge of promoting diversity and equality among employees and that only a few years ago It did not exist in any signature.
Beyond the own policies carried out by each company, the little presence of women in the technology sector is also explained, to a large extent, by the numbers of graduates in computer science and engineering, much lower than those of graduates and those who All these companies are nurtured.

According to data from the National Center for Women and Information Technology of the USA, women comprise 57% of university graduates in the country and are, therefore, significantly above men.

However, this proportion drops considerably if only graduates in mathematics and statistics are taken into account (42% of women), physical sciences (40%) and, most notably, computer science and computing (only 18% of graduates are women).

“It starts at a very young age, when we grow up as girls, we do not do it with the mentality that we can be engineers, but we assume that we will opt for more creative careers,” said Perera, for whom it is essential to change this aspect to normalize the situation within the industry.

“In Silicon Valley has been built the narrative of the young computer engineer who is a genius and starts his company in a garage, a narrative partly justified because it is fulfilled in many cases, but which in turn is perceived as the only possible way to leadership, “said Diaz.

“We must accept as an industry that leadership manifests itself in many different ways and that the contribution of different perspectives achieved with diversity is key, and the expectations we have about who should be the leaders of the technological world must be modified,” he added.

The Airbnb product manager explained that on many occasions throughout her career she has been the only woman in meeting rooms, and that “from time to time”, someone has doubted her potential and her capacity to carry out the job.

However, she is convinced that these doubts emanated more from the lack of experience working with women on the part of certain men than from a desire to discriminate, “since I could usually observe over time how those attitudes changed”. (EFEUSA)

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