In Mexico, there’s still inequality in STEM areas. Only 38% of all students who enroll in these are women.
More than 15 years ago, I attended a course focused on women’s growth and empowerment. Right at the start, we were asked our motivations for being there. One lady, who was about 70 years old, answered confidently and with all the spirit in the world: “We’re here because we want it all.”
That phrase, short but powerful and said with so much meaning, stuck with me.
It made me realize that I can be where I am today thanks to the audacity of women like her, who paved the way and opened doors for us.
I’m thinking, for example, of Concepción Mendizábal, the first woman to graduate as a Civil Engineer in 1930. She first studied at the Teacher Training college but wanted more, so she decided to challenge the stereotypes of her time and study what she was passionate about, even though people thought that engineering was, above all, for men.
More than 90 years have passed since Concepción graduated as an engineer. Unfortunately, there is still inequality between men and women in STEM areas in Mexico. Only 38% of all students who enroll in these are women, and the percentage of those who work in them is significantly lower.
This is an alarming fact if we think about the prominence of technology, big data, and Artificial Intelligence.
That’s why it’s more urgent than ever for women to work in STEM careers, so that the gap doesn’t continue to widen, and they aren’t left behind in the near future.
Tecnológico de Monterrey, via the School of Engineering and Sciences, has created the Ingenia-Mujeres initiative, which is divided into five committees whose main objective is to design programs that strengthen and empower women’s professional and personal development. It does so through workshops and activities within STEM disciplines to provide broad support for research with gender perspective and social responsibility. This all applies to professors, researchers, employees, and students.
More than 100 professors are currently participating in Ingenia, and we’ve had an impact on more than 2,000 female students. We trust that this beautiful initiative is and will continue to be an agent of change that ensures gender equality and women’s empowerment within the institution and will spread across our country.
(Adriana Vargas-Martínez, Regional Director of the Mechatronics Department, Tec-MIT Alliance coordinator, and national leader of the Tec’s Women in Engineering and Sciences initiative).
This column was originally published in the 40th issue of Tec Review’s digital magazine (Spanish).