Nearshore Americas recently published an important article on gender equality in the nearshore technology services industry. It’s disappointing that Belatrix was one of just three nearshore companies to provide information on the proportion of women working at our company, and the initiatives we’re taking to encourage women to take up careers in technology. The first step to reduce the gender gap in the industry is to be transparent about where we currently are, and what we can do in order to get to where we want to be.
Worryingly, Nearshore Americas highlighted that UNESCO have found that gender stereotypes and negative messages about STEM subjects are prevalent in Latin America. As the article highlights from its interview with Accenture: “traditional subjects, such as mathematics and computer science, see a major drop in enjoyment as girls enter secondary school. The company’s research shows that 50% of the 7- to 11-year-old girls describe these subjects as fun and enjoyable, but this perception falls by 31% and 36%, respectively, in the 11- to 14-year-old group”. The region, although changing, does continue to face challenges in terms of conservative mindsets and prevailing attitudes. What this means is that reducing gender inequality is not just an important issue for the technology industry. But hiring more women will also help reduce inequality and spur economic growth throughout the region.
As we point out in the article, the majority of students taking technical degrees continues to be men. This is why it is so important for organizations such as Belatrix and other nearshore companies to be working with schools and universities, to demonstrate to young people that they can build a fulfilling career in technology.
Belatrix is involved in several initiatives to try to reduce the gender gap, and get more women involved in technology. These range from supporting female developer communities, to hosting so-called “Tech Days” to introduce young people (and particularly women) to technology, to working with universities and schools, to promoting female developers in the company and making sure that people see their success, to ensuring that for every promotion opportunity there’s at least one female candidate, because in our experience while female workers tend to perform extremely well in management positions, they don’t always volunteer for those opportunities unless explicitly invited to do so. And of course, given that in the region, household responsibilities such as childcare fall largely on women, a flexible working environment is core to these efforts.
At our recent annual strategy meetings the topic of gender equality was discussed widely. We’re continually looking at ways to increase the number of women in our workforce – because even though Nearshore Americas pointed out that we’re doing better than many of our peers, there’s still a long way to go. Having a balanced workforce makes not just good business sense, but is also an important part of the kind of company we want to be.