Next March 8th, International Women's Day, is dedicated to the inclusive digital world, under the slogan Innovation and technology for gender equality. What do you consider to be the main steps to advance equality in the field of innovation?
These are steps that must be taken together, mainly as a society and also with the commitment and involvement of organizations and the business community. It is necessary to continue to make female references in the field of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship more visible. This will mean that for the young women of tomorrow it will not be so rare to identify a woman as a scientist, astronaut, engineer, entrepreneur... because this is already the reality. In order to reach that point, it is necessary to generate equal opportunities between women and men, and when there are none, to proactively promote gender diversity with specific actions.
I think that one of the most important steps will always come from an early and good education for girls and boys in diversity, equality and inclusiveness, which will make this a more sustainable, fair and inclusive world.
Have you always had a clear inclination towards science and, specifically, towards technology? What motivated you?
The engine that moves me is curiosity and problem solving, and during my childhood and adolescence I went from wanting to be a journalist (I'm still very inquisitive) to use that curiosity to solve challenges or problems and that's where my vocation for physical sciences and engineering appeared.
From your point of view, what are the most significant advances that have taken place in recent years in technological innovation in Spain?
In recent years, important advances have been made to make the innovation sector more diverse and inclusive. From the point of view of the younger generations today there is much more involvement from teachers to instill in girls and young women an interest in STEM subjects, which encompass fields such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The invisible barriers that used to separate the study of one or the other by gender no longer exist. The visibility of women in science and technology fields has helped a lot in this task. In addition to this, at a higher level that deals with administrations and organizations, progress has also been made in creating equal opportunities and promoting diversity in the sector. For example, with the recent approval of the Startups Act, which includes startups led by women and entails a budget of 51 million euros to reduce the gender gap in the field of innovative entrepreneurship.
We must continue in this line, setting benchmarks for future generations and promoting, from society as a whole, the technological talent of women.
For example, at Redeia we have recently approved the Sustainability plan 2023-2025, a roadmap with 87 specific objectives and 190 actions to achieve them; which seeks, among other goals, to promote a working environment based on diversity and equality. And, although we already started from a good point at Redeia, as we have had a fully equal Board of Directors for some years now, our ambition to continue reducing gender gaps does not stop there: we aim to reach a 38% female presence in our management team by 2025 and up to 50% by 2030.
What are your main female references in technology and innovation?
Here I am going to cite a very recent one who, like on many other occasions, is not getting the visibility she deserves, Mira Murati, the creative mind behind ChatGPT, who also reflects her concerns on how the use of AI should be governed in a way that is aligned with human values.
What advice would you give today's girls who want to dedicate themselves to the field of innovation?
That they should not set limits for themselves, because there are none, what they do have are decisions and effort in each of their choices. That they must believe they are capable of achieving any goal, because they are. That they should prepare and train for the jobs that are already needed and will be required even more in the very near future. Fields such as programming, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, data analytics, among others, are going to be sectors with a very high employment rate, so I would encourage them to look beyond what is needed today.
What should innovation and technology offer in order to be an option that more and more girls would choose?
Innovation and technology help to build the future and which one can be a part of, I don't think there could be a more aspirational purpose. They are the best tools to provide solutions to the challenges we currently face and those that will come in the future, which will surely be many. Innovation means creativity, thinking outside the box, looking for new ways, technology is the engine of change and growth of sectors of activity and it is the necessary tool to create these innovative, efficient, creative Solutions… It is all about converting knowledge into wealth for society and this is not exclusive to any gender, it has been demonstrated that women have perfect creative skills, which do help at solving complex problems and every day there are more girls, young women and women who are demonstrating this, which is an encouragement for all women who are in this sector.