Sadly, there are very few women in the technology industry. We would love to see that change. This is why we decided to give a voice to Mary Montesinos, one of our PrestaShop ambassadresses. In this article, Mary tells us about her experience as an online merchant and the situation of Chilean women who work in this sector.
Hello Mary. Can you share a little bit about yourself?
Hello, my name is Mary Montesinos. I am from Venezuela but I have been living in Chile for seventeen years. I became a PrestaShop Ambassadress in 2016. I am the foundress of the Emprendedoras de Chile NGO, which aims at promoting women's entrepreneurship in my country. I am also a Supply Chain Manager with a specialization in digital marketing.
How did you get to know PrestaShop? What makes you appreciate it?
I got to know PrestaShop when I launched the website of my restaurant in 2012. I thought that the software was easy to use. As an entrepreneur, I really like the fact that it is accessible and that everyone can create their online store step by step with it.
What do you like most about being an Ambassadress?
The best part of being an Ambassadress is interacting with my local PrestaShop community. I get to know a lot of brilliant people and projects. One of the projects that impressed me the most was the creation of the MKP website. This digital solution offers SMEs a fast and secure way to sell their products.
What got you interested in e-commerce? What influenced you to pursue a career in this field?
As an entrepreneur, I knew how important it was for my businesses and for my association to have an online presence. In addition to this, I am a Supply Chain Manager and I am passionate about my job. Supply chain management is extremely important in the e-commerce industry. I often discuss this subject during my meetups.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I am particularly proud to have a bachelor’s degree in logistics. The next step for me is to obtain a master’s degree. I would like to carry out this project within the next five years.
In your opinion, why aren’t there more women in tech?
There are very few women in the tech industry because of gender stereotypes. About twenty years ago, Chilean women still had to stay at home to take care of their children. It was a tradition. Only a small part of women could study, work and develop their careers. Conversely, men were encouraged to pursue the job they wanted.
How is the situation of women working in the e-commerce industry in Chile? How much do you think the industry has changed since you joined?
There is a very small number of women in e-commerce, especially in Chile because e-commerce was not very developed until now. It is very rare to see a fellow female attending one of my meetups. But fortunately, the situation has changed a lot in recent years. All the retail stores started to invest money in e-commerce platforms during the lockdown in Chile. An increasing number of people, including women, are joining the adventure, even though the industry remains male-dominated.
Could you name a few challenges (or obstacles) women in e-commerce are facing?
The main obstacle we are facing is gender bias. There is a common belief that men are better at running a business than women. Women believe these stereotypes and do not feel comfortable with the idea of starting their online business. It also costs a lot of money to start a business in Chile. Unfortunately, the gender wealth gap prevents many women from launching their projects.
Why do you think it is important for more women to join the tech industry?
The impact of female human capital on economic growth is severely underrated. The tech industry and e-commerce are growing and we need women to boost the sector and the economy. In addition, I believe that women tend to have excellent negotiation and communication skills. These skills are very valuable, especially when it comes to running a store.
Mary Ana Montesinos
Which woman in tech inspires you the most?
Alejandra Mustakis. She is a Chilean industrial designer. She founded several companies, including the Kauel company, which is specialized in AI, augmented reality, mechanical prosthesis… Until last year, she also was the president of The Chilean Association of Entrepreneurs (ASECH).
What advice or tips would you give to a woman who wants to pursue a career in e-commerce / tech?
You can do it because women are natural leaders. Trust yourself, read technology articles every day, go on platforms like YouTube to learn new things and talk with other women who work in the e-commerce industry so that you can learn from their experience. If you are from Chile, you can join our PrestaShop community in Santiago! We will discuss subjects like logistics, marketing and everything you need to know to develop your online store. Women have the opportunity to do something big now, especially this year.
One last word?
I recommend everyone to use PrestaShop to create an online store. You can sell a wide range of products or services in different currencies and make your store known internationally. I love PrestaShop!
Thank you Mary for answering our questions ;)