Los jóvenes, sus celulares, y el desafío a los estereotipos de género

Mi hija Verónica, de 19 años, participó hace poco en un ejercicio con un grupo de estudiantes. Debían crear, desarrollar y presentar un proyecto en sólo 30 minutos. El equipo ganador concibió una aplicación para teléfonos móviles que ayuda con los trámites ante la muerte de un familiar en otro país. Me pareció genial. Quizás no sea una “app” muy sexy, y suene algo lúgubre, pero es sin duda relevante en un mundo globalizado en el que muchos tenemos parientes viviendo en otros países.
Esto me hizo pensar en cómo la tecnología ha penetrado nuestra cotidianeidad, cómo el celular es una herramienta de sobrevivencia y cómo influenciará nuestras vidas a futuro. En la generación de mi hija, esto adquiere aún mayor importancia. Los jóvenes de América Latina pasan 39 horas semanales conectados a internet, de las cuales más de 11 son en sus celulares.
Entonces ¿por qué los jóvenes no trasladan esta interacción constante con la tecnología a sus decisiones de carrera? ¿cómo no piensan que es una buena indicación de dónde estarán los trabajos del futuro?
El diario La Nación publicó recientemente un artículo sobre la escogencia de carreras universitarias de los jóvenes en Argentina. Me sorprendió ver que abogacía ocupa el primer lugar (me disculpan mis amigos abogados), seguida de administración de empresas, contaduría y psicología, mientras que computación, sistemas e informática ocupa el octavo lugar.
Hay consenso que las carreras STEM (Ciencia, Tecnología, Ingeniería y Matemáticas, por sus siglas en inglés) constituyen la puerta de entrada a los trabajos del futuro y que tener más mujeres en estas ocupaciones ayudaría a cerrar las brechas de género en el mercado laboral. Sin embargo, en Argentina menos del uno por ciento de las estudiantes mujeres elige computación, sistemas e informática. En México sólo el ocho por ciento de mujeres elige carreras vinculadas a la ingeniería y computación. Y la tendencia se repite a lo largo de la región.
Hoy en día hay una variedad de carreras con alto contenido tecnológico en las que se necesita que más mujeres aporten su talento. Lilia Lobato es un claro ejemplo. Con 18 años ganó el año pasado el primer lugar en el Technovation Challenge México, y obtuvo diez mil dólares para impulsar su proyecto OOL, una “app” que promueve el voluntariado. Otras organizaciones innovadoras, como Laboratoria, también trabajan para formar una generación de mujeres como Lilia, entusiasmadas con las posibilidades que brinda la tecnología.
Muchos se preguntarán ¿Qué factores afectan esta decisión de los jóvenes? Desde hace más de un año, el BID y la Subsecretaría de Educación Media Superior (SEMS) de México trabajan para entenderlo mejor. La encuesta de línea de base señaló que –tanto para hombres como para mujeres— el factor más influyente en la elección de la carrera es “que les guste” (76%), seguido de “sus habilidades y competencias” (66%). En tercer lugar “él dinero que podrán devengar” (44%) en el caso de los hombres y “el costo de los estudios” (36%) en las mujeres.
Con esta información, el BID y la SEMS desarrollaron una intervención piloto en Ciudad de México que ofreció a los estudiantes, y a sus padres, información sobre nuevas carreras y dónde estudiarlas, relatos personales de jóvenes graduados en distintas profesiones, así como información sobre el mercado laboral. Los resultados son alentadores y demuestran que es posible implementar intervenciones costo-efectivas que influyan en las decisiones de carrera de los estudiantes, incrementando su interés, particularmente el de las mujeres, por estudiar carreras STEM. Ver infografía del programa.
El desarrollo de un país está en juego cuando 50 por ciento de su población no participa equitativamente en el mercado laboral y, en especial, en las carreras del futuro. Hay mucho por hacer, pero cada vez que veo a una joven entusiasmada con la tecnología, siento gran optimismo ante las posibilidades.
¿Conoces otras iniciativas que estén orientando a las mujeres hacia carreras no tradicionales? ¿Tienes una historia sobre tu interés por una carrera STEM? No dejes de contactarnos.
Este post fue publicado originalmente en el blog ¿Y si hablamos de igualdad? del BID.

Experta Principal en la División de Género y Diversidad del BID
Claudia Piras
Su trabajo se centra en las áreas de género, mercado de trabajo y desarrollo empresarial en América Latina, en las que tiene experiencia en la investigación y operativa. Es la editora del libro "La mujer en el trabajo: desafíos para América Latina" y co-autora de los informes "El Dividendo de Género: Cómo capitalizar el trabajo de las mujeres" y "Mujeres Empresarias: Barreras y Oportunidades en el Sector Privado Formal en América Latina y el Caribe". Antes de incorporarse al BID dirigió el Departamento de Investigación de la agencia de competencia en Venezuela y enseñó microeconomía en la Universidad Católica Andrés Bello y en la Universidad Central de Venezuela. Tiene una maestría en Gestión de Política Económica de la Universidad de Columbia y un MBA del IESA (Venezuela).

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