Enterprises in technology and engineering increasingly drive global marketplaces. With a long-term view, initiatives that ensure students enroll in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields become essential.
Yet there remain considerable inequalities in access to education and career opportunities across the globe.
The United States is a global leader in tech, yet according to a recent study from McKinsey, Black, Latina and Native American women represent just 4% of all technology workers, despite increased enrollment in computer science degree programs. If we look at Latin America, 21% of youth are not working or studying, and another 19% are working in the informal economy, according to OECD data. Meanwhile, the World Bank estimates that only 5-15% of women in Latin America have medium or strong computer-solving skills.
While initiatives at the government level are needed to drive institutional change, a growing number of programs from corporate enterprises with a presence in Latin America are being put in place to help a new generation of women join the tech workforce. In turn, these companies with positive action schemes are planting the seeds to ensure their activities in the region have continuous talent coming up through the pipeline.
A new chapter for women in Costa Rica
In Costa Rica, 1,406 professionals enrolled in the field of computing in 2021, yet only 355 were women (26%), according to the 2023 State of Education report.
P&G Costa Rica implemented a series of programs in recent years to encourage greater female participation in these areas by offering support, resources and information on internships and job opportunities.
Now, 10Pearls – a global, purpose-driven digital technology partner – is launching a ‘Women in Tech’ program in Costa Rica this February 10th. The launch event in Costa Rica will consist of a series of talks by industry experts and professionals, with plans to incorporate a competition across coding, testing and UX/UI design categories. The event is designed for women in tech at all career stages and seeks to include everyone from students to seasoned professionals to allow for learning between generations and unlock diverse perspectives.
“The launch of Women in Tech in Costa Rica marks an exciting milestone,” said Imran Aftab, CEO of 10Pearls. “Latin America is a hotbed of talent and at 10Pearls we’re eager to do our part to ensure more women in the region can unlock career pathways in the tech industry. We’re looking forward to connecting with the vibrant community in Costa Rica and, in the future, across Latin America as we expand the reach of this initiative.”
Progress across the region
Although 10Pearls’ Women in Tech initiative is hosting its first event in Costa Rica, the company aims to use this as a blueprint for other countries in Latin America.
As part of 10Pearls mission to deliver pioneering AI and cutting-edge technologies, the company has been expanding its presence in Latin America since 2021 to offer near-shoring services to valued partners and customers. To date, 10Pearls has operations in Costa Rica, Peru, and Colombia.
In a recent Bogota Post interview, 10Pearls’ CEO Imran Iftab commented “We have acquired companies across Colombia, Peru, and Costa Rica with expertise in business verticals and on the strategy consulting side in healthcare and financial services. Then we have our businesses in energy and telecommunications. And now we are going to invest in these companies to grow further. So we want to invest in Colombia. We want to invest in Costa Rica and Peru.”
Yet 10Pearls is part of a much wider trend of companies looking to talent in Latin America to grow new initiatives or nearshore operations to the region. According to Bloomberg, this is pushing demand for tech workers in Latin America to new heights.
By helping to ensure that more women in the region have the right skills and training, this huge demographic segment won’t be left behind the curve when it comes to landing a tech role.
‘Women in Tech’ is an initiative from 10Pearls University that already boasts a 7-year track record of supporting the tech industry in Pakistan and emerging markets. The initiative will taken a step further on its mission to inspire women in technology to come forward and break gender stereotypes, lead innovation, network, and forge new career opportunities thanks to the organization’s expansion into Latin America.
A full-stack skillset for the future
Gender parity in the tech sector is still a work in progress. While no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution exists to solve the challenge, grassroots initiatives that focus on the realities of local and regional populations like the 10Pearls Women In Tech program are helping to bridge some of the gap for women, helping them to attain access to sustainable career pathways and develop in-demand skill sets.
Featured photo of Imran Aftab, CEO at 10Pearls
This article includes a client of an Espacio portfolio company