Empowering women in education

By Olaf Ramiro Román Jiménez
olaf.roman@itesm.mx

How many women do you know who hold a management position in the leading companies of the world? You are right, there are still very few. In fact, it still comes as a surprise when a woman is promoted to a high-profile position in an organization. According to statistics, less than 5% of the executives in the world’s leading firms are women. These are some of the general directors who are included in this list: María Teresa Arnal CEO of Google México, Mayra González CEO Nissan México and Lorena Zicker General Manager of Intel Argentina.

Still comes as a surprise when a woman is promoted to a high-profile position in an organization.

Against this background, interesting initiatives have gradually been promoted, seeking to boost the talent and empowerment of women, particularly in science and technology, such as Women Techmakers supported by Google and Microsoft’s inclusion and diversity program DigiGirlz, as well as entrepreneurship and innovation through Girls in Tech and Women Who Code, which is a global community that drives women to develop professionally in technology careers. We also have important initiatives in Mexico, such as TechWo, GeekGirlsMx or Epic Queen.

Girls in STEM: A New Generation of Women in Science, is an inspiring program that seeks to foster young women’s interest in science and technology, seeking to motivate them to develop professionally in these disciplines. The video Girls in STEM presents several examples of the talent of entrepreneurial women and girls, who are technology creators and potential inventors in different fields. These real applications of science and technology prove that teamwork and the indispensable creativity are the driving forces of learning.

Less than 5% of the executives in the world’s leading firms are women.

In the educational sector, the STEM vision is an acronym in English for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEM is a frame of reference that focuses on the development of science and technology competencies, which later integrated Arts and is now known as STEAM. STEM, was created in the nineties hand in hand with “National Science Foundation”, a United States government agency that boosts research and education in Science and Engineering. Nowadays, the model applies to early, middle and higher education to promote learning and generate knowledge.

In Mexico, according to data from UNESCO, 35% of researches assigned to the National System of Researchers (SIN) are women (Cárdenas, 2015), and only 24.5% of the Mexican Academy of Sciences members are women.

As teachers, it is very important to promote and encourage in our students the development of competences related to innovation, such as critical thinking based on knowledge and proven facts, problem solving and teamwork. To do so, we can integrate Project-Based Learning (POL) into the design of the course activities. We must also develop in our students science competencies, defined as the set of knowledge, capacities and dispositions that make it possible to act and interact in a significant way in situations where scientific knowledge needs to be produced, appropriated or applied comprehensively and responsibly (Hernández, 2005).

The feminine perspective is fundamental in all the horizons of today’s society.

Additionally, it is important to design school activities and projects that contribute to reducing the gender gap in science and technology. The feminine perspective is fundamental in all the horizons of today’s society. We need to break paradigms, which will require important changes in gender inclusion and equality issues in order to thrive, and promote and boost the participation of women in science and technology.

About the author. Olaf Ramiro Román Jiménez holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Master’s degree in Educational Institution Management from Tecnológico de Monterrey. He is an Online High School Philosophical Thinking Professor and a 2015 Inspiring Professor of Tec de Monterrey Online Programs.