“The future belongs to technology”, says participant of UN Women study visit to Portugal

Date: Friday, November 8, 2019

The gender gap persists in the field of technology. This leads women to miss out on competitive salaries and to encounter technological inventions that ignore women’s needs or even perpetuate the current gender stereotypes in society.

The study visit participants met with Mr. Pedro Vieira, Director of Innovation and Partnerships at the venture capital firm 500 Startups
The study visit participants met with Mr. Pedro Vieira, Director of Innovation and Partnerships at the venture capital firm 500 Startups; Photo: Ia Tavdishvili

Within this context, UN Women has been supporting women’s skills development and opportunities in the technology field in Georgia. As part of this effort, from 2 to 8 November 2019, a group of women were supported to participate in a technology-focused study visit to Portugal, the country that ranked number one in the 2018 Women in Tech Index.

With the purpose of providing relevant information, contacts and inspiration for the participants, the visit included meetings with prominent personalities from Portugal’s tech sector, networking events and participation in the talks, exhibitions and workshops of the Web Summit, known as the “largest technology conference in the world”. In addition to showcasing an impressive spectrum of female speakers, the conference included multiple talks on gender diversity and inclusion as well as women’s empowerment workshops.

Ms. Carla Batista (left), Country Operations Manager for Monese in Portugal, discussed the position of women in technology with the study visit participants
Ms. Carla Batista (left), Country Operations Manager for Monese in Portugal, discussed the position of women in technology with the study visit participants; Photo: Merab Labadze

Five of the visit participants were start-up founders/CEOs who received GEL 100,000 (about USD 34,000) in business development grants from Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency in 2019. “Because of the field I work in, the most interesting parts for me were the talks about branding and tone of voice for the company,” remarked Ketevan Kasrashvili, founder of event organization marketplace Eventals and Chief Specialist at the Georgian National Tourism Administration. “The meeting with Start-up Portugal was also useful. We might want to talk to them more and consider expanding the start-up to other countries in the future,” she continued.

The start-up representatives were joined by four graduates of the web programming and social media marketing skills development programme that UN Women and the Innovative Education Foundation implemented this year. One of them, Tamar Oniani, coordinates youth projects at the Young Pedagogues’ Union in Ozurgeti. She commented on the visit: “It was very useful and interesting because there were so many important people, not only in technology but also marketing, branding and social media… The future belongs to technology. It’s a useful, important and interesting field, especially for girls.” Since returning home, Ms. Oniani plans to share her experiences to further promote youth and specifically girls’ engagement in technology.

The visit was part of UN Women’s project “A Joint Action for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Georgia” supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.