Women and girls are significantly less likely to choose ICT (Information and Communication Technology) studies than men. There are many reasons for this. Barriers to access, but also retention in ICT studies are complex as they are often related not only to economic but also to social and cultural barriers.
A lot of initiatives are being developed worldwide to break these barriers, and at the Internet Society we believe that only if we join efforts we can overcome them and help to close the digital gender gap.
For this reason, on July 19, the Internet Society and the Secretariat of Communications and Transport of the Mexican government signed a cooperation agreement to support the “Women in STEM, Future Leaders” project.
In Mexico only 35.5% of tertiary graduates in ICT are women. The initiative aims to change these numbers. It provides training and support to young women from public high schools with the purpose of encouraging them to pursue a career in science and ICT.
The program, launched at the beginning of 2018 in coordination with the U.S.-Mexico Foundation, has already reached more than 180 girls from all over the country. It is working closely with 32 Mexican Connected Points (Puntos Mexico Conectados), which are centers that provide Internet access and training to students.
“We are happy to see Mexico taking actions towards digital gender equality. Internet Society Mexico Chapter is honored to contribute to this agreement and to continue enhancing the actions of the Mexico Connected Points. Our members are committed to share their experience and knowledge with young generations by participating in events that promote the access and use of the Internet,” said Luis Martinez, Chair of the Internet Society Mexico Chapter.
With this partnership, Internet Society will support the initiative by enabling more girls from rural areas to join the program. Participants will have a mentor who will guide them into the ICT field and provide advice and support throughout the program.
At the Internet Society, we believe that the importance of role models for girls and women cannot be underestimated. By identifying women leaders and connecting them with girls, we are sending a message that women are capable leaders who can make a difference.
As Angélica Conteras, member of the ISOC’s Mexico Chapter and chair of Special Interest Group for Women, highlighted:
“As part of the Internet community, we need to share what we have learned with other girls and women, guide them, inspire them and, above all, support their path in ICT as this is not an easy one. Most girls and women have to face inequalities and stereotypes along this path. The agreement signed by the Internet Society is a wonderful opportunity to get involved as a community and support the new generations.”
We look forward to working with the Mexican government to help bridge the digital gender divide!
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The Internet Society is proud to be a partner of EQUALS: The Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age.