Education and empowerment are the main tools that women have today to combat gender inequality and thus break stereotypes in the field of science and technology. Each one has the same limits and you should not let yourself be defeated by prejudices and societal conventions. It is not easy but it can be done.
The Ada Byrne Award 2023, within the framework of the Mexico Chapter, which is hosted by ITESO this year, organized the panel “Main challenges facing women in science and technology”, which included engineers in mechanics, systems, industrial, had eight professionals. electronics, communications; Biomedicine and Biotechnology displayed their experience and knowledge acquired during their outstanding careers in an environment that seemed almost exclusively to men.
The exhibitors are an example of excellence in what they do and also of resistance. Many, the first time they expressed their desire to study one of these careers, were criticized and condemned by their families and friends. Others work in environments where the majority are men who find it difficult to trust and work with women. The least fortunate were to be supported and recognized for the efforts they put in their way.
The virtual conversation was moderated by Professor Gabriella Calvario Sánchez in the Department of Electronics, Systems and Informatics at ITESO (DESI), who assured that despite the fact that opportunities and recognition for women in these fields increased in recent years However, discriminatory practices and prejudices still persist that perpetuate the mistaken belief that so-called hard science places are reserved for men: “The permanence of this system has made many young women resign or dedicate themselves to them.” Haven’t even considered the possibility. In this platform we are fortunate to have excellent women in the academia and important cutting edge and technological innovation companies.
According to Tecnológico del Valle de Chalco and computer science graduate Elizabeth Hernández, the main challenge they have to overcome is precisely gender inequality: “When I started working they always said: ‘To fix us we need a Need a support engineer. Mail’. I said: ‘Okay, I know how to do it, I know how to fix it, but no…’. They paid me less because I had Had a computer science degree, not an engineer, even though I did the same thing”.
“I realized that we are children because we make this distinction. The culture in which we grow up is making us caregivers, mothers, devoting ourselves to household activities (.. .) I felt limited until I understood that this is what I wanted and I signed up”.
UNESCO states that only 30 percent of students in higher education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are women and, in particular, only three percent are engaged in information technology and communication (ICT).
Claudia Sandigo, project manager at the Bosch company, explained that she faced difficulties when she studied for her degree: “There were teachers who told me that women shouldn’t be in electronics, that they should be in the kitchen and that they should be in the kitchen.” Or any other thing they said I wasn’t going to graduate. However, I was quite stubborn and didn’t stop what I was doing. I didn’t let any of these comments limit me.”
“Women don’t take the next step because we don’t think we have enough skills or enough knowledge. Men have that confidence. We also have to inspire other women who are on this path, so that they believe it’s possible.” ”, said the engineer.
Rosa Maria Rivas of Ibero Puebla and a doctor of chemical engineering said she never intended to study engineering. The courage to think about it was also complicated: “Going out to the window and saying I wanted to study mechanical engineering was not easy, nor was it something common or everyday. They weren’t happy. Rather, he said: ‘This girl is kind of weird. What inspired me to continue was that every time I faced this type of setback, I found something in my career, in the subjects, in my teachers, that filled me in a way that was undeniable. that I wanted to proceed”.
Miriam Jiménez from Ibero Leone and a teacher in applied sciences and design of virtual educational projects recalled that when she was a student, she visited a very large company with her classmates as part of her internship. in which the guide, after the tour, informed them that they had a policy of not hiring female engineers on the floor.
In general, the eight panelists agreed that much work needed to be done for gender equality in the areas of science and technology, although all of them, and after years of experience, expressed hope that more young people than women. Those who are choosing now will dedicate themselves in life, not to be afraid, to find out what everyone likes to do and be faithful to it.
“When you are doing what you love, all those obstacles are slowly and very simply removed. For me studying engineering was the best thing that could happen to me. I do it I feel very satisfied with doing and what I am still doing. I know I can do more now and I am happy with it. The obstacles will be many. The important thing is to see what we really want Let’s listen to ourselves, be faithful to what we want”, said Rosa Maria.
To make it easier for women to be a part of these fields, the information is essential to make it easier for women to be a part of these fields, for Martha Aceves Rosales, manager and computer, industrial and systems engineer at AstraZeneca Company: “The people who come should be told to believe them. Combat. Be yourself, nothing more. See that being a woman is an advantage. The most important thing is to get where you want. We have to empower ourselves.”
Irma Wilde López, vice president and general director of customer and business service and biomedical engineer at AT&T Mexico, stressed that the sky is the limit for everyone: “You have to believe, we’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to make mistakes.” We fail and that’s where the most important lesson comes from. It doesn’t matter what others think of us, what sets us free. An important part is always a mentor.”
In addition, Violet Juárez Jauregui from Ibero Tijuana and a chemical engineer, and Mariana Mora Moreno, engineering coordinator for SCA Real Estate, participated in the panel.