Most likely, the alarm scheduled on your smartphone woke you up this morning. Eating breakfast, you read the news on your tablet or computer, from a digital news streaming service. You learned of a college friend’s birthday through social media, and potentially, if you decided to give her a gift, you bought it online. If you didn't commute to work being guided by a computer navigation system, you probably started your day at home in a Zoom video conference. And most likely, after work, your main entertainment options will be provided by digital media. Consciously or not, information and communications technologies (ICTs) surround your life.
Clearly, we live in a digital world, where the computer is a fundamental piece in daily work and life. Technology-focused industries represent huge growth potential, for businesses and countries, but mainly for people. This has been the constant over the past few decades, and it is undeniable that computing continues to accelerate its influence across all industries, with advances in areas such as artificial intelligence.
Thus, access, training, and the use of ICTs have become essential. However, access to technology is not universal, not only in countries and communities, but also in relation to gender. Despite efforts to integrate women into information technology fields, data continue to show that they are restricted to the most basic levels of work in terms of skills and wages, and that their choice of careers moves away from those related to IT.
According to the PwC study, “Women in Tech, Time to Close the Gender Gap,”only 3% of women consider a career in technology as their first choice of profession, and only 1 in 4 women consider a career in IT altogether (compared to 60% of men). Additionally, in a study conducted by Deloitte Global in 2020, women account for only 31% of the total workforce of tech companies, and that number is reduced to 23% when it comes to women in technical roles. Other statistics are even less promising, setting the proportion of men and women in engineering at 5:1.
And this is not a minor issue. If you consider that digital skills and information technology are not only driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution, but they also generate the most job offers (the average salary is 19% higher than in any other industry), increasing women's participation in technology careers and closing the gender equity gap is imperative. According to UNESCO, 75% of the work of the future will require some kind of digital skill, and the trend is growing at an astonishing rate of 65%. Leaving women behind will increase the gender gap at an accelerated pace.
Promoting and encouraging women’s participation in technology- and STEM-related careers will help significantly and quickly close that gap. That’s why Oracle Academy is joining global efforts to bridge the gender gap in ICT fields. Today, April 27, 2023, Oracle Academy joined the global celebration of Girls in ICT, an event of the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU), designed to empower and encourage young women around the world to consider careers in technology, enabling both girls and businesses to benefit from increased female participation in the industry.
This year’s Oracle Academy event was held at 12 member educational institution locations throughout Latin America, including Mexico, (Mexico City, Cancun and Coacalco); Brazil (Sao Paulo and Ceará); Santiago, Chile; San José, Costa Rica; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Bogotá, Colombia. Students from public and private universities and secondary schools participated, as well as ministries, representatives, and secretaries of Education, Science and Technology, and Women.
More than 800 students from all over Latin America gathered in open spaces to share experiences, discuss and address issues, and generate a support community. During the event, students, along
with Oracle executives, academic community members, and educational sector representatives, organized a series of technical workshops, discussion panels, and mentoring sessions in a relaxed
and participatory environment, where they openly discussed topics focused on fostering and inspiring women’s participation in ICTs. The event was complemented by a live connection through all
localities, affirming the importance of Oracle Academy in the Latin American regional community.
Oracle Academy recognizes that women, girls, and youth face significant challenges in the technology world. We want to be a bridge for them to access ICTs, and proactively promote women’s participation in the sector, reducing access barriers and increasing their opportunities. We continue to work to achieve our goal of building an open, diverse and inclusive industry, and we thank all the institutions in the region that joined us in this celebration. #GirlsInICT