Julieta Aboy, Belén Fleitas and Camila Morales are some of the women in our team and are also part of the minority of women who made careers in IT, an industry that has traditionally been dominated by men. As a company where women are present in all areas, ThinkUp girls is determined to share its experiences with young girls, under the conviction that it can have a great impact on future generations.
- Only 14% of the leading positions are held by females.
- A lack of role models, information and stereotypes could explain why many girls take a chance on Technology.
- ThinkUp women are taking action to spread information and inspire young girls.
Latam takes the lead
Over the years, as a result of changes in the workforce of most industries, women have slowly conquered new areas in Technology companies. However, it is still overwhelming to see that amongst students men are still a vast majority. According to a report from PWC on the field, while 61% of men consider a career in Technology, just 27% of women do. Also, only 19% of students stated that they were presented with a variety of career opportunities in Technology at school.
In the UK, only 5% of leadership positions in the industry are held by females and the percentage of women working in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics altogether is as small as 23%.
Latin America is more auspicious compared to Europe and the US, with 30% of the workforce working in Technology being women. Nonetheless, a study by JP Morgan proves that teenagers are not presented with careers in IT. The lack of representation and role models in the industry resulted in 24% of women who studied Technology reconsidering if choosing IT was the right career path.
ThinkUp girls want to make it possible for more girls
ThinkUp is one of the industry’s gems. By October 2021, more than 40% of team members were women, a total of 9 in 23 people. During the years, the girls were glad to see that more and more women were hired, which made them realize what a great value it was for the company. ‘We told Guille (ThinkUp’s Co-Founder and COO) that we wanted to take action and he liked the idea of ThinkUp leading the change for the industry, so he told us to keep working on it. We told the rest of the girls of the team and they were excited about it!’, Belén says.
These women, however, are aware that not all girls see a future in IT so clearly, especially at a young age, when facing the moment to choose a career. With the conviction that girls needed information, role models and inspiration to choose this path, they wanted to make an impact so they started working on a webinar for young women to discover all the possibilities that IT has to offer, whether you are a developer, a salesperson, a product manager or a designer and, most of all, whether you are a man or a woman.
‘I remember that when I was studying it was normal that in a class of a hundred people only 5 were girls’, Julieta remembers, ‘and I came across an article intended to attract women to Engineering in which a woman with an important role at the University said that she was aware that it was a hard career and women were not brave enough to choose a career with few possibilities to work, especially in factories or Construction. It made me angry… but we do not want to present ourselves as victims, we want to have a true impact on young women by inspiring them.’
After being part of companies in which she was the only female and negotiating with directors who were always men, Julieta was pleasantly surprised when she joined ThinkUp as Business Development Manager and discovered that there were women in all areas. ‘I think it is a great value for the company that we are open to consider different points of view, no matter who it comes from.’, says Julieta.
iOS Developer Belén Fleitas joined the team after her, with previous work experience in a mobile company in which it was normal for women to hold positions in any area. However, she was told that the fact that she was the only female Engineer who applied for the position had to do with the fact that she was finally hired. Even though the company’s intention was meant to be good by respecting a gender quota, Belén did not want to get the job because she was a woman, but because she met all the requirements and was the best candidate. ‘You should get the position because you are given the same opportunity and you are the one that best fits the job requirements, not because you are a woman’.
Camila works in ThinkUp as UX & UI Designer. As a designer, she did not experience any differences between men and women while she was studying, as women and men are equally interested in Design. However, she was not aware that IT was an industry in which she, as a designer, could take part In. She also noticed an almost imperceptible gap afterwards, in the industry, where UX Design positions are mostly held by men.
Information and inspiration are gamechangers
‘When women are given the opportunity, when we are able to lead, to be in charge and to make decisions, we get great results’, says Julieta. And numbers speak volumes, according to a report which she recently shared in her LinkedIn profile. The report shows that companies who are directed by women get 44% better results, but only 14% of directive positions are covered by women.
For girls, information is power and, in order to reduce the gap, it is crucial that young girls are inspired and informed by women who are already working in Technology, so that they can make smarter choices based on their true interests and passion and not on stereotypes.
Belén, Camila and Julieta are not sure of what could be the main reason for women to choose a career in IT. They agree that it probably has to do with a number of issues. Prior to the webinar, they plan to DO research on this subject.
For Belén it is reasonable to expect that women are not choosing careers in Technology if they have been taught their whole lives that it is a career aimed at men. ‘I was surrounded by brilliant women who were convinced that it was not something meant for girls’.
Camila thinks that lack of information has plenty to do with it. ‘When I was in highschool I was never presented with the possibility of working in Technology or, in any case, it seemed to be limited to coding and developing. I wanted to do something more creative and I never thought that I could work in IT’. She is convinced that it is crucial to show students how different disciplines can contribute to the industry.
Closing the gap between men and women could increase PIB by 28 billion dollars by 2025, as companies led by women result in 44% more rentability, as stated in the report mentioned above says.
While the downside is that only 14% of the leading positions are held by females, small actions and women determined to inspire other women, as ThinkUp team members, contribute in bringing the gap closer day by day.
What would you say is the main reason why women still struggle to follow a career in IT?