Fri. Feb 28th, 2020

Women who break into clean energy and ICT urge to overcome fear



Speaking with ownership of concepts such as wind energy, digital transformation and software testing on Tuesday meant the inspiration for more than 1,400 women who gathered in Medellín to listen to successful entrepreneurs in fields dominated by men.

“At what age do girls begin to think they are not good at math?” Said Mexican Sandra Caballero, General Coordinator of the Women in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Network (REDMEREE).

That question-reflection opened a debate during the “MET-BBVA Women’s Entrepreneurship Forum: Women, Inclusion and Transformation”, held as part of the celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Caballero, who led the “Women and Clean Energy” panel, told Efe that culture is “responsible” for gender inequality and said that women entering the technical sector should not pay a higher price.

“You pay a price because you must be doubly prepared, studied and available,” said the pioneer of the gender-energy nexus.

For her, despite the progress made, there is still a “mirage of equality” and a “false speech” that is dangerous, as women suggest they have it easy, but “people do not give you that help” to break into others fields

The electronic engineer Yuliany García, co-founder of the Colombian company Enef Energía del Futuro, said that the success in her profession was built on the premise that “there are no limits”.

She leads a team of women who “overcome fears” to the point that an electrician is responsible for designing the panels and making solar energy a reality, while an installer puts them to operation.

“Those are small defeated battles,” he told Efe Garcia, who at age nine entered a technical college where he could learn about spatial geometry and electricity.

“I didn’t want to be a secretary,” he said.

FROM THE COLOMBIAN GUAJIRA TO THE ZAYED AWARD

With 16 years and the desire to meet the needs of her community, Patricia Altuve was part of a project that uses sea water, solar energy and wind potential to produce food, electricity and drinking water in the Colombian department of La Guajira

The “Greenhouse of the Sea” project, of the Livio Reginaldo Fischione school in Riohacha, aroused in the young woman an interest in science and technology that led to winning the Zayed Sustainability Award in the Global Secondary Schools category for the Las Americas

“There were so many needs and at the same time so much intelligence that we didn’t take advantage of, we were stuck,” Altuve added.

The young woman, who received the award in Abu Dhabi a month ago, described as “moving” that this project was created in a region with “so many shortcomings.”

Although he acknowledged to Efe that as a child “many doors have been closed to me”, he urged other women to look for those opportunities: “If you have ideas, don’t be afraid to take risks.”

NO VEDED FIELDS

Climbing in the Information Technology and Communications (ICT) sector put systems engineer María Clara Choucair as an inspiration to go from testing software in a company to leading her own company with 700 employees.

“It was like being the sweeper,” said the founder of Choucair Testing to illustrate the role she had in the beginning, which contrasts with the success achieved in the world of digital business.

In his process he indicated that he was never worried if he was a man or a woman, since his only concern was to know if his idea would work.

“I don’t know why we are so afraid of mathematics and technology. That is a myth,” he warned in the panel “Business and Women ICT.”

Along the same lines, Emilia Restrepo, a pioneer in the digital transformation and co-founder of the first digital strategy consulting company in Colombia, said it was a priority to give herself the opportunity to think differently.

“We are in an exciting world that is changing,” Restrepo said in his participation in the forum.

BBVA Colombia’s corporate responsibility manager, Diana Patricia Martínez, noted that in the 18 forums held by the bank in Bogotá, Medellín and Cali, which join the two held in Spain and the United States, more than 5,000 women have participated “captivated” with these “learning spaces” for a different life project.

Jeimmy Paola Sierra

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