In 2021, the Mexican Bureau of Statistics reported that women account for only 26.8% of students pursuing academic pathways in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Not surprisingly, this fact significantly reduced the presence of women in ICT and STEM-related jobs (17%) and resulted in a loss of business opportunities for women in related fields.
With this scenario in mind, and considering that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development predicts that by 2030, 80% of all jobs will be linked to STEM careers, it is crucial to address the significant gender gap that prevents women from venturing into ICT careers and to recognize the role gender stereotypes play. Increasing the number of women involved in this industry is key so they can fully participate and thrive in one of the fastest-growing sectors of today's changing world.
IYF began implementing the Conectadas program in January 2022, with a planned completion date of June 2023. Conectadas aims to provide technical, life, and job-readiness skills training, along with mentorship and wraparound support. This will equip 750 young Mexican women from low-income communities across the country, between the ages of 16-29, with highly relevant industry skills and the information and confidence they need to embrace and persevere in ICT and STEM careers pathways.
The program provides participants with highly relevant industry skills in IT support, cybersecurity, or programming (Python). Conectadas also integrates technical, socio-emotional, vocational, and job readiness skills training, as well as a mentorship component to help beneficiaries achieve their career goals and gain confidence under the guidance of a positive role model.
In addition to directly benefiting 750 young women, the initiative aims to sensitize employers in the industry and reduce gender-biased recruitment practices. This will be achieved through conducting round table discussions and launching an awareness campaign.