More women and diversity in technology

Ana Pombo and Sefora Garcia

d&a blog

As we celebrated the Women’s day, we held or participated in debates about the importance of adding more diversity in technology and Data Science teams, as well as about the challenges for women in the labor market. We invited the co-founder of Mujeres Tech, Cristina Aranda, to talk about the challenges of women in science and technology.

One of the recurrent issues of the debate was the importance of educating girls to foster their scientific vocations. It is vital that women understand that they can make a difference in science, thrive and transform the world through STEAM disciplines. Role-models are important, as well as a progressive cultural change towards more diversity.

According to a report by Spain’s Ministry of Science and Technology, in 2017, only 25% of all graduates in Engineering and Architecture studies were women. At the same time, the greater participation of women in social science and humanities does not translate in a similar female representation in higher academic roles, such as tenured professors.

In the workplace, despite the improvements in better inclusion of women, men are still a majority in leadership roles, something that requires a set of different approaches. Sometimes, some argued, women don’t find headways to have relevant experience in management, despite their talent or don’t highlight achievements in the same emphasis as men do.

As expected, the debate drifted towards a more analytical approach. Some argued, that a purely scientific approach to hiring should take into account approaches such as counterfactual analysis. If you have two candidates with the same experience and skills -a man and a woman- you should hire the woman since the probability that she had to work harder to reach that point in her career has been greater than the man.

This Thursday, two BBVA colleagues, Elena Alfaro, Global Head of Data and Open Innovation, and Ana Laguna, a senior data scientist at BBVA Data & Analytics, participated at the Madrid edition of Women in Data Science, organized by Stanford University. They showed how women are becoming examples of leadership in technology and artificial intelligence development. They inspired dozen of young students that will be the next generation of women in engineering, and data science.