I have already said a few times here that the role of women in tech it is not something new. We played a fundamental role so that today, humanity can take advantage of solutions that have completely transformed our lives - from computers to Internet.
Still, for a long time we have had no recognition or participation in the technology professions. Although in a timid way, in recent years, this scenario has changed. But make no mistake: there is still a long way to go to achieve gender equality between men and women.
And it is also time to think about the impact that the pandemic can have on this effort. According to a survey by the cyber security Kaspersky, the current crisis has affected the professional lives of women working in technology. In Latin America, about 60% of women working in the sector believe that the effects of covid-19 have impaired their performance at work.
But resilience, combined with entrepreneurship and technology are striking among women. According to a study carried out by Sebrae and Fundação Getúlio Vargas, we were the ones that most bet on technology to undertake. While 71% of women use social networks, applications or the internet to sell their products, the percentage of men who use these tools is 63%.
The study also points out that they innovated more in the face of social isolation measures, started to use online sales more (34%) than men (29%) and offered more products and services (11%). 11% of women entrepreneurs said they had innovated, against 7% of men. The survey indicates that six out of ten entrepreneurs - both men and women - had to implement changes during the pandemic.
One of the possible explanations for this bet on technology and innovation is the level of education. The same survey shows that 63% of women have incomplete higher education or more, against 55% of men belonging to this same group. In addition, women have been undertaking more and more young people, finding it easier to adapt to new communication channels, including, they know how to work better with social networks. According to Sebrae, 24% of entrepreneurs are up to 35 years old, while 18% of entrepreneurs are in this age group.
Advances are also needed in female entrepreneurship
When we look at this scenario, we can even think that female entrepreneurship is at excellent levels in Brazil. But the truth is that, like other dimensions, it has been developing slowly. Despite the fact that women are innovative, use technology to their advantage and know as much as men to undertake, progress is still limited.
Only 4,7% of brazilian startups are founded exclusively by women. This is what the study “Female Founders Report 2021” points out, carried out by Distrito in partnership with Endeavor and B2Mamy. When analyzing the mixed foundation companies, that is, that have women as co-founders, the number is a little higher, but still very small: 5,1%.
The challenges are practical and very real: according to the study, only 0,04% of all venture capital invested in Brazil in 2020 was destined to companies founded exclusively by women. Entrepreneurship in Brazil is an activity for few, naturally risky and complex, but it becomes almost impossible for women when the minimum requirements for its realization are not guaranteed.
The figures also show how motherhood is still an issue that bothers many investors. Of the interviewees, more than half (51,2%) of the women who were unable to raise funds for their businesses had children. Of the women who managed to obtain funding, 58% had no children.
Our society still has a long way to go to ensure gender equity. Despite the increase in the involvement of women in the leadership of companies and in the technology area, growth remains slow and far below what we want and deserve. and scaling up a business in Brazil and with a female founder, makes the challenge even greater.
Even with so many barriers and obstacles, we are showing that, in the face of an unprecedented crisis, we know how to innovate and create new possibilities. Let it, then, be judged by the strength and potential of women, ensuring that everyone has the opportunities to develop and prosper.
* Letícia Piccolotto is Executive President of Fundação BRAVA (www.brava.org.br) and founder of BrazilLAB - the first GovTech innovation hub that connects startups with the government.