How a researcher is making young women the next generation of leaders in technology | For researchers

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Chicas en Tecnologia was co-founded by Melina Masnatta in 2015 with the aim of reducing the gender gap in the technology entrepreneurial environment by inspiring, training and mentoring young women in Argentina and other countries in Latin America.

In the last five years Chicas en Tecnología has seen more than 7.200 girls and women participate in transparent initiatives and complete their training programs, where they develop their confidence in STEAM* subjects and recognize that they are not related to gender. +More than 1400 educators and teachers have been trained as ambassadors to eliminate gender discrimination and promote the participation of girls and women in their classrooms.

The initiatives launched by Chicas en Tecnologia have reached more than 60,000 people from different sectors: families, educators, mentors, entrepreneurs and decision makers, who have come together to face the challenge of reducing the gender gap in technological and entrepreneurial environments.

In this interview she talks about herself and her motivation for starting Chicas en Tecnologia.

When and why did you discover Chicas N Technologies?

Data consistently show that women are less qualified to apply for certain jobs in using technology and digital resources, and see themselves as less capable than men in science-related fields, regardless of whether they are equally skilled or better educated.

After more than a decade working on projects involving technology across the country, I began to examine the cultural barriers and gender stereotypes and biases that underlie the career choices women make. I discovered that women are multiplying agents who, with the right tools and support, can train the next generation of women to innovate in technology. We created Chicas en Tecnología to create programs, clubs and workshops that empower young women to become the next generation of leaders in technology.

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Was there a science teacher at school who particularly inspired you?

My high school biology teacher was an inspiration to me. I grew up in Patagonia and his classes were always connected to the surrounding environment. He did a great job connecting complex concepts to my immediate reality.

Why did you choose Educational Sciences?

I was excited to use data to explain reality through experimentation and methodology. I especially liked the social impact this work had. Educational science brings a scientific approach to a social field that can change people’s lives.

Tell us about someone who inspired you early in your research career

One of my biggest inspirations is Edith Litwin, a pioneer in educational technology in Argentina and Latin America. He promoted unprecedented access to university education by designing distance courses and training. As part of his work he created several projects, including the largest public university in Argentina.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

The urgent should never override the important. This advice was given to me by my first boss and I always try to keep it in mind – especially during pandemic times.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

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patience Everything will come to you at one point or another. It is important not to forget and enjoy the journey.

What goal do you want to achieve?

I want to see gender equality in our region and in the STEM ecosystem. The current gender gap is being bridged by encouraging, training and supporting the next generation of female leaders who are currently children and teenagers. My dream is that everyone in society recognizes this potential of women in our society.

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*STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.

Learn more about the Nature Research Awards to Inspire and Innovate Science (2021 applications open in April)

How a researcher is making young women the next generation of leaders in technology |  For researchers

About Women in Technology, Executive Director Melina Maznata

Melina Maznata is a social entrepreneur with a background in educational sciences. He grew up in Playa Union, a small town in Patagonia with a diverse population, including indigenous people. The daughter of a doctor and a teacher, Melina was fascinated by science from an early age.

When she was eight years old, she formed an environmental cleanup team that cleaned the beaches and streets of Playa Union every Sunday and alerted authorities if they saw penguins or whales because of the oil. Her social entrepreneurship projects have taken her to Argentina and abroad.

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