Marisol and Aida share their insights about the event and this important topic:
What drove the development of ‘Women in the Digital Age’?
Marisol Perez Chow: Aida, Sofia, and I are friends from Booth, Class of 2019. After Booth, we each went to different industries; however, two years post-graduation we all ended up in tech.
One day, Aida told us about her idea for the three of us to host a panel about how the companies we each work for are helping reduce gender gaps at different life stages. We went for dinner to discuss and decided to design the conversation around how–with the use of technology–we can reduce gender gaps and impact the personal and professional development of women, from early years and education to reproduction stage and professional life.
Aida Sarabia Quintero: I started thinking about doing an event like this because this is a topic I’m passionate about. As women in key technology roles, we need to take an active stance in discussing how we can leverage technology to our advantage and be a support to other women who are starting their tech careers.
Can you share your thoughts on how we can reduce gender gaps through tech?
MPC: Talking specifically about personal finances, technology allows us to democratize access to financial education, products, and services. We can also understand better than ever before women’s financial behavior to truly personalize products and strategies in order to boost financial inclusion and help women acknowledge their power to build wealth.
ASQ: I particularly focus on coding classes for K12. Our goal is to empower boys and girls through coding and to enhance their skill set regardless of the career path they want to follow, within STEM or outside of STEM. In particular with girls, we seek to give them exposure to these topics to decrease gender gap. When asked about their interest in studying something related to STEM, only nine percent of girls between ages 9-12 (a critical age range where kids start developing their own identity) are interested versus 28 percent of boys the same age. With early exposure to STEM topics, in my case coding, we can increase that percentage up to 60 percent. STEM gender gap doesn’t start at the workplace, it starts from early childhood education.
What was your favorite experience from the event?
MPC: It was very fun and interesting to share a professional experience with three very good Booth friends and learn about how they are using technology in their respective industries to reduce different gender gaps. Furthermore, I loved seeing women from different roles and industries. We had incredible women startup founders, accelerators, and VCs. The network event was an amazing opportunity to get to know most of them. One of the highlights of the night was when attendants came up to us and asked how they could be helpful in our mission to impact the personal and professional growth of women.
ASQ: Hearing about gender gaps in the other two industries–women health tech and fintech–was fascinating. For example, I was surprised with the fact that even though fewer women have heart attacks, there is a higher death rate and this is due to the fact that almost all medical research was performed on men.
Did the event meet your expectations and achieve the vision you had for bringing women in tech together?
MPC: Yes it did, at the beginning we were planning an event for about 40-50 people. I was surprised to see so much interest in this event from both men and women, and to have over 200 registrants in just a few days. We planned the event between the three of us in our spare time and I’m very happy with the result of the event and how many brands came together to support it.
ASQ: Absolutely. To be honest, the thing that excited me the most was sharing this moment and panel with my MBA friends.
Any advice for Boothies interested in or pursuing tech at Booth?
ASQ: There is a wide range of industries where tech is impacting women. Educate yourself about what is happening in the different fields and identify the one that generates that feeling of connection and passion with yourself. Plus, reach out to other Boothies!