This March 8, International Women’s Day is celebrated under the slogan “For an inclusive digital world: innovation and technology for gender equality” established by the United Nations Organization (UN), under its division of UN Women. Even though the efforts made in recent years to reduce gender gaps and promote equality and the rights of women and girls in all areas of life, inequality persists, including fields such as the innovation industry. and technology.
In Costa Rica, this large and rapidly growing industry has become one of the country’s main sources of income, providing innumerable job opportunities. But data from the National Council of Rectors (CONARE) reveal that only 32% of women enroll in careers related to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), that is, only 3 out of 10 of our high school graduates opt for these.
The foregoing reflects the long road that we as a country still have to travel to close the gender gap in STEAM, which includes the need to discuss the role of academic world, the public and private sectors, and the relevance of current public policies, issues that must be addressed with greater commitment to associate the opportunities and benefits that these careers offer Costa Rican women and girls.
This high labor demand sector, well paid, which eases working from home, provides a level of income above the average, reduces unemployment rates and increases the supply at a time when the country faces a growing demand for human resources in these industries.
Considering all these benefits, Costa Rica must continue to make efforts to stimulate a greater incursion of women and girls into STEAM careers. Therefore, it is vital that the public sector and private companies increase collaborative efforts to define public policies aimed at stimulating knowledge of STEAM careers at the preschool, primary, secondary, university, and labor levels. It is also necessary to continue investigating the reasons that Costa Rican girls and young people consider when choosing their professional career, as well as the main causes of desertion.
For its part, the business sector must support these initiatives by creating campaigns, conferences, panels, events, incentive programs, scholarships, mentoring programs and others, to contribute to closing this dilemma.
We still have a lot to do, but the articulation between government, business and academia is a vital factor to achieve success and thus close the gender labor gap that exists in our country and the world, especially in STEAM careers.