Opinion


Women in tech




M. A. P. Insights
Pacita U. Juan


Posted on February 14, 2017


Why should we have more women in tech?


Quoting from an Economics & Statistics Administration (ESA) article entitled, “Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation” (To read the article, please visit the link http://bit.ly/femalesinstem):

  
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Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the US economy, they hold less than 25% of STEM jobs. This has been the case throughout the past decade, even as college-educated women have increased their share of the overall workforce.

Women with STEM jobs earned 33% more than comparable women in non-STEM jobs -- considerably higher than the STEM premium for men. As a result, the gender wage gap is smaller in STEM jobs than in non-STEM jobs.

Women hold a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees, particularly in engineering.

Women with a STEM degree are less likely than their male counterparts to work in a STEM occupation; they are more likely to work in education or health care.

So, what is STEM? STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Getting women involved in STEM may close the gender gap in salaries and is a much easier way to employ young girls and women to get 33% more income than the non-STEM graduates.

I’m very pleased our company now has female engineers and my family is very supportive of no gender bias in our hiring policies. After all, women do have more attention to detail and engineering can be very exacting and precise.

Besides engineering, women are now also dominating roles in executive positions in telcos and innovation companies like start-up accelerators. I know of Minette Navarette of Kickstart and Diane Eustaquio of Ideaspace -- both of these companies are encouraging young and old to create start-ups in technology. I also see Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Nora Terrado’s efforts in bringing innovators to the fore through the SLINGSHOT program.

In March, Women’s Business Council of the Philippines (www.womenbiz.ph) and ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network, both groups which I currently chair, will be holding a Women In Tech event on March 16-17, 2017 in Microtel Pasay as part of celebrations happening for Women’s Month. We have invited not just women, but men as well, with the idea of sharing innovations in Access to Finance, Markets and how Technology has made the lives of multi-tasking women more efficient and in harmony (what they used to call work-life balance).

We will have an interesting lineup of speakers from the region as more ASEAN counterparts have sent their confirmations to attend. Facebook’s Elizabeth Hernandez who is based in Singapore and Malaysia’s MAGIC CEO are just some of the tech innovators who have confirmed to speak at the event. There will also be clinics on how to use “shared” resources, like social media for the common good as well as for personal entertainment and business reasons.

It’s not just about adding women in the STEM sector. It’s also about how technology can serve women and young girls who sometimes are marginalized as to security (there is an app to protect girls who cannot hear from being assaulted or abused, for example) and also to help women be mothers and working moms at the same time.

Women who do care work at home are marginalized for work opportunities because they need to stay with their young children and see them through school-age years. Many drop out of the workforce during child-bearing years for obvious reasons. When they return at 40 years old, all career opportunities may have already passed them by. So “work at home” careers, like virtual assistants (VAs), freelance writing, freelance graphic design are some areas where mothers can have their cake and eat it too (work at home, earn an income while raising children).

And the men have helped, too. ASEAN-BAC Chair Joey Concepcion has been meeting with us to ensure that women-centric activities are included in ASEAN-BAC’s agenda as well as celebrate the Go Negosyo annual women event usually done at the World Trade Center. This time, the Go Negosyo women will be joining us at the Women in Tech event. After all, as Joey has supported many MSMEs, women from all sectors do benefit from technology. Think about micro entrepreneurs who use “Pasaload” and other tech products (money remittance, mobile banking, etc) as well as SMEs who now participate in the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System (Philgeps), making it a level playing field for SMEs and big corporations wanting a slice of the government pie.

We actually need male champions like Joey Concepcion who has done these Women’s Month events from as far back as I can remember during the start of his Go Negosyo movement. And we both (Joey and I) are now looking towards ASEAN’s role as we host ASEAN this year and how we can share with our regional counterparts the Philippines’ strides in providing our women with career opportunities as well as entrepreneurship ideas using technology and innovation. There’s a lot of app development through the SLINGSHOT hackathons and more activities in innovation.

We’re looking forward to Women’s Month in March and we thank ASEAN-BAC, USAID-ACTI, Facebook, Go Negosyo and our other sponsors for helping us mount a game changer in conferences -- where involving women in innovation already spells added income for the home and where technology really becomes the great equalizer not only for gender but for income, race, and creed.

If you wish to attend this Women in Tech conference, drop us a line at admin@womenbiz.ph of find us in Facebook: AWEN and Womenbizph.

The article reflects the personal opinion of the author and does not reflect the official stand of the Management Association of the Philippines or the MAP.

Pacita “Chit” U. Juan is the Chair of the Trade, Investments and Tourism Committee of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP). She is the Chair of the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN); Chair of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines (Womenbizph); and Founding Chair of the Women Corporate Directors PH chapter.

You may reach her at

Linked in: Pacita Juan or Twitter @chitjuan

puj@echostore.ph

admin@womenbiz.ph

map@map.org.ph

http://map.org.ph