• Costa Rica Real Estate

From classrooms to the office, Intel addresses high-tech gender gap in Costa Rica

February 4, 2016

In Costa Rica, as in many other countries, there is intense demand for electrical, electronic and computer engineers – yet only 15 percent of those choosing engineering and technology as a career are women. The multinational technology giant Intel, with offices and plants in 160 countries, is trying to change that picture.

“We want women to design our products because women are our customers. Most of our end products are used by women,” says Timothy Scott, public affairs manager at Intel’s Costa Rican offices in La Ribera de Belén. “They can also provide a diverse way of thinking which will result in diverse ways of solving problems. … There is the perception that engineering is for men. It is also a field that is not as visible as teaching, nursing or retail.”

Intel
Intel's elementary-school workshops aim to give girls a boost toward futures in engineering. (Courtesy of Intel)

Intel has initiated several projects to give girls a look at engineering as a career. “Juguemos a ser ingenieros,” or “Let’s Pretend We’re Engineers,” is for girls and boys in fourth and fifth grades and gives kids a hands-on experience. It also dispels any notions that girls might have about not being on par with the boys.

“In four-hour sessions, they go from knowing nothing to designing and producing something. Kids love it,” says Scott. “They begin to think of futures in engineering. They lose their fear of technology.”

So far, 750 kids in ten schools have been involved and other schools are waiting for the program. In upper grades, students work with STEM, an organization which promotes Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and get to meet engineers in person. Their guest speakers might come from NASA or from Costa Rica: the goal is to show students that engineers are people just like them, and to learn about their options in the field.

Intel also sponsors the winners of local science fairs that bring girls into leadership roles with technology, covering their costs to attend international science fairs. At the university level, Intel offers part-time jobs to promising students that they can do real work and earn something while they study.

Once women are working at Intel, the operations seek to remove impediments to women’s ascent to high-ranking positions: the company provides “mother’s rooms” where lactating mothers can rest and extract their milk for baby’s feeding, and allows parents to ask for flexible schedules to have more family time. The Women at Intel Network (WIN) is an international organization with a Costa Rican chapter that seeks to make the workplace more comfortable in a male-dominated profession.

It will take a generation to make changes, says Scott: “We hope that by 2020 we will see parity of men and women studying engineering and technology.”

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

United States and El Salvador sign immigration agreement
Central America
19 views
Central America
19 views

United States and El Salvador sign immigration agreement

AFP and The Tico Times - September 20, 2019

The United States and El Salvador reached an immigration agreement on Friday, the interim secretary of Homeland Security, Kevin McAleenan,…

‘I want to write my story here too,’ Navas says of PSG
Keylor Navas
17 views
Keylor Navas
17 views

‘I want to write my story here too,’ Navas says of PSG

AFP and The Tico Times - September 20, 2019

Costa Rican goalkeeper Keylor Navas debuted in the Champions League with Paris SG on Wednesday with a 3-0 victory against…

UN names Costa Rica as ‘Champion of the Earth’ for environmental efforts
Climate Change
271 views
Climate Change
271 views

UN names Costa Rica as ‘Champion of the Earth’ for environmental efforts

Alejandro Zúñiga - September 20, 2019

The United Nations has selected Costa Rica as its 2019 Champions of the Earth award for policy leadership, the organization…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!