Although they know this change won’t happen over night, women in Brazil are starting to turn the tide in the male to female ratio of tech entrepreneurs and graduates. According to a report from Americas Quarterly, only 13 percent of the tech startups in São Paulo are founded by women even though the market for tech startups has grown by 20 percent over the last two years.For reference, the global average of women-led startups is 18 percent meaning São Paulo is behind the curve. In total, investors have flushed the tech sector in Brazil with 4.5 billion Brazilian reales (about $1.5 billion USD) just last year. So, what gives? Well, according to Iana Chan, who spoke to Americas Quarterly, it all goes back to gender stereotypes.
So, what gives? Well, according to Iana Chan, who spoke to Americas Quarterly, it all goes back to gender stereotypes.
“These are cultural narratives that go back to childhood,” Chan told Americas Quarterly about her own upbringing with her brother. “Girls play at home with dolls, and boys play with video games. There were boy things and girl things, and I could play when he [her brother] wasn’t using them.”
But, the demand and interest are there, according to Americas Quarterly. PrograMaria is an incubator program for women who want to break into the Brazilian tech world and wants to give all Brazilian women the opportunity to join the fast-growing Brazilian tech economy. One of their programs in March, a women’s only workshop set up to teach young girls the basics of coding and web design, filled up in minutes and had a waitlist that was almost 200 people long. The obvious demand and interest is what keeps women like Chan, a program manager for PrograMaria, working to secure the opportunities for women to join the tech workforce.
“The interest is there,” Chan told Americas Quarterly. “What’s missing are opportunities directed at women.”
You can read the full story from Americas Quarterly here.