“Studies have shown that diverse teams have better performances, and better staff retention, which translates into greater profits” – Source Meridian’s Dani Gutiérrez

By April 18, 2024

Unfortunately, even today up to half of women in Latin America are not part of the work force. Many of those who are work do so in low-skilled, informal employment, often with low salaries and in precarious conditions.

These individuals represent an immense source of talent that is not being utilized for the development of the region. There are a number of barriers prevent women from recognizing their potential.

According to the Inter-American Development Bank, software development will be the fastest growing career in Latin America over the next decade, with 1.2 million professionals needed by next year.

The bright news, is that there have been many improvements. The Women Tech Talent pool in the region has more than doubled in size since 2017. This exponential increase is a testament to Latin America’s commitment to nurturing and expanding this talent pool. 

As the demand for professionals in the sector grows, more projects are focused on training and introducing more women to careers in this sector, which is undoubtedly helping. According to a recent report from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), by 2025 the software industry will employ more than 1.2 million programmers in the region alone.

To discuss what more can be done in the greater region, we spoke Dani Gutiérrez of Source Meridian.

Gutiérrez is a certified Project Manager and Product Owner with more than a decade of experience in the world of software development, which has been focused on medical data development.

What advice do you give to women who want to get started in the tech world?

I think that the combination of studying and participating in different events is an excellent way to start learning a little more, because there you will have the opportunity to meet people who work in the industry.

Once you start in your career, if you have the opportunity to take on a Mentor, take advantage of it. Without a doubt, this is one of the things that has helped me the most in my professional career because I have been able to count on an excellent Mentor like Mike Hoey. Once you know the medium and have people to guide you, you can also contribute to the industry by being a mentor for someone else.

Take advantage of opportunities even if you don’t feel ready, because chances are that you are. It is important to always challenge ourselves, and many times impostor syndrome can make us reject opportunities that could make a high impact on our career.

How could women receive more support to be a part of this industry?

I think a very good way is with early engagement programs such as seminars in schools and colleges, even at fairs and conferences, in order to have representation of women who lead the industry. For young people, opportunities can be generated through seedbeds and conferences and workshops to promote knowledge and hiring.

Why is it important for more women to join the tech sector?

We’re in a time where day-to-day life requires constant contact with technology and it is extremely important to have a female perspective in order to understand the needs and be able to provide balanced technological solutions where all users can take advantage of them.

Additionally, several studies have shown that diverse teams have better performances, there is a greater ability to solve problems, if there is high commitment on the part of collaborators, as well as greater staff retention, which translates into greater profits for companies.

In the coming years, will female talent have greater opportunities in software development?

Of course, the growing technological dependence means that the demand for professionals in the software development industry is so high that the current workforce cannot cover it, thus creating an excellent opportunity for greater entry of women into the sector.

Even leadership positions will also have an increase in demand since, apart from having the same technical capabilities, female people show greater strength in emotional and social competencies related to leadership. Personally, I see this demand for female talent without a doubt in our company Source Meridian, where women occupy 47% of leadership positions.

Why do you think there is a shortage of female developers and women in technology?

I believe that this reality has been changing, and although we now find a greater number of women compared to previous times, there is still a gap when comparing it with our counterpart.

It should be noted that the stereotype that was constructed by society about the profile to enter this sector still has an impact, which has resulted in a low number of female representation in the different positions available in the environment, in addition to limiting the models for women to follow, causing many women not to consider this sector as an opportunity to develop their careers.

In addition to this, another gap that we face is at the level of an approach and motivation from an early age to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Without a doubt, another gap appears in the environment, because unfortunately there are still companies where the culture is very masculine and they give greater opportunities in leadership positions and better salary compensation to men.

What effect does the lack of participation of women in software creation have?

The main effect and without a doubt is the solution to problems from a single perspective (male) leaving aside 50% of the population (female) and their unresolved needs.