We continue to see greater numbers of boys pursuing careers in engineering, computer science, mathematics and statistics as opposed to girls. Prejudice, stereotypes, discrimination, and lack of information and references are just some of the barriers that we still face today when our youngest girls decide to pursue technical careers, which will open the doors of future professions to them.
Putting an end to the gap between men and women in the technology industry and technical careers is the main objective of ICT Girls Day, held at the Open Power Space of our headquarters in Madrid on to mark'2018 International Girls in ICT Day'. It is an event that has been held by Enel since 2016, in collaboration with JA Italia and ELIS, and which Endesa has joined this year for the first time.
A total of 55 girls between the ages of 14 and 16 years old were gathered for the programme from three schools in Madrid (Instituto García Lorca de Las Rozas, Colegio Europeo de Madrid and Colegio de Fomento Aldeafuente), and they did not hesitate to demonstrate their passion for the technological world and their desire to contribute their most creative sides to a sector that promises to be the future of coming generations. When asked which among them would like to pursue a technical career, all of them raised their hands without skipping a beat, showing that they are highly determined from a very young age.
What do Patricia Bath, Sarah Mather, Maria Pereira, Gertrude Bell Elion, Ada Lovelace and Yvonne Brill have in common? They are all women who have triumphed in the world of technology and who have changed, in some way, the way we see and know the world today.
Among them is the creator of laser surgery to cure cataracts, the inventor of the underwater telescope, a researcher who is transforming modern surgery with her adhesive material for the heart, a Nobel Prize winner who revolutionised the development of medicines with treatments for malaria, leukaemia and HIV, the first programmer who devised the computational algorithm, and the engineer who developed the propulsion satellite.
According to the survey on the social perception of science generated by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (Fecyt), interest in science on the part of women has risen from 9.9% in 2014 to 13.7%in 2016, representing an increase of 38.4% which, along with a slight decrease in the interest from men, from 20.4% to 18.5%, results in the reduction of the gender gap by half, decreasing from 10.5% to 4.8% in the span of only two years. One of the most notable results is the difference in spontaneous interest in science and technology between men and women. Regardless, the truth is that, in spite of this improvement, there is still much to be done about it. It is in a situation like this where events such as Girls in ICT take on such special importance.
The day, dedicated to the promotion of equal opportunities between men and women in the science and technology fields, had the support of professional female colleagues (and others) who described first-hand their experience in a world that is still primarily the domain of men.
Sandra Alfonso, Head of Digital Market Transformation, and Fabiola Pérez, CEO of the business consultancy Metiora, were the professionals present from the sector, and they were joined by three colleagues from Digital Solutions, Carolina La Fuente, Maria Teresa de Castro and Maria Lyda Patiño, who were in charge of helping attendees see that change in the current landscape is in their hands and that they should be seen as the protagonists when they look to the future.