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IWD 2024: How to uplift women in tech: Insights from a 29-year-old female CIO
Thu, 7th Mar 2024

It is distressingly clear that the gender gap in STEM fields remains huge despite DEI initiatives aimed at levelling out gender representation.

According to the Global Gender Gap Report (2023), women comprise only 29.2 % of the STEM workforce among 146 nations surveyed. Moreover, the numbers are even worse in the tech sector specifically, as opposed to, say, university science faculties. A global survey of software engineers in 2022 found that women constituted just 5.17% of workers in the field (even lower representation was found among Hispanic women).

As the Chief Innovation Officer at BairesDev, an international tech unicorn, I've had to navigate the dynamics of leadership as a young Latina woman while driving innovation in a rapidly evolving industry. This has shaped my perspective on success and empowerment. 

I believe four key factors can actively support a woman's growth in tech: aligning company values with personal values, embracing a continuous growth mindset, advocating for diversity and inclusion, and understanding how remote work is able to shine a light on the most talented professionals.

Stepping into leadership roles at a young age is daunting for anyone - man or woman - but it taught me the importance of facing challenges head-on and embracing discomfort as a catalyst for growth. At BairesDev, I've been fortunate to work in a welcoming environment that values diverse perspectives and fosters collaboration. Such an environment is pivotal for the advancement of women in the tech industry. With support from those around you, you will be able to make it much further. Look for organizations whose values align with your own.

In advancing my career, I've found self-driven learning to be a powerful tool. Whether through online resources, courses or by seeking guidance from peers, taking the initiative to expand my skills has been instrumental in navigating the ever-changing landscape of technology. By sharing my experiences and encouraging others to embrace continuous learning, I hope to inspire a culture of curiosity and resilience not only within my team but in the wider tech community.

It is in everyone’s interest for the tech workforce to be representative of the global community. Did you know that companies with more diverse teams are 33% more likely to outperform competitors? Promoting different visions in the tech sector isn't just a matter of ethics—it's crucial for driving innovation and achieving success. Skills and the ability to contribute are not confined to any gender or ethnicity. By broadening our talent pool and cultivating a diverse community of engineers, we not only ensure everyone feels valued, but we unlock the full potential of our teams and propel meaningful progress within the industry.

One thing I’ve noticed in my career is that remote work has the potential to level the playing field for women by emphasizing skills and outcomes over physical presence and office politics – which for many women in various places around the world is a critical hurdle. This flexibility accommodates diverse lifestyles and reduces biases, creating opportunities for all to thrive. BairesDev recognizes the importance of smart working initiatives and offers comprehensive training and mentoring to support talent development. As a consequence, 98% of women at BairesDev recommended working at the company, and 51% of new applicants in 2023 were women, which is part of a steady growth trend following the 400% increase in women's representation over the course of a five-year period.

My journey to becoming a CIO at a young age was sparked by a passion for math and coding. From teaching myself to code at an early age to leading innovative projects at BairesDev, my path has always been shaped by curiosity, resilience, and a commitment to continuous growth. I hope that sharing my story can inspire other women to pursue their passions. I encourage them to relentlessly and unapologetically be their authentic selves. It is through our stories that we can spur change.