It is a well-known fact that women are underrepresented in the technology sector. We would love to see that change. This month, we will discuss the situation of Spanish women who work in this sector with our Ambassadress Patricia Perochena. In this article, she tells us about her experience as a tech consultant and gives tips to women who want to break into the industry.
Hello Patricia. Can you share a little bit about yourself?
Hello, my name is Patricia. I live in Borja, a town and municipality in the Zaragoza province (Spain). I am a website optimization specialist and I work as a freelancer. I develop corporate and e-commerce websites for different companies and institutions, customizing different CMS. I make customized migrations and developments for PrestaShop stores, using it in many cases as an indispensable tool to apply business strategies, and improve online presence. I also work as a Technical Support Officer for an organic food distributor. Finally, I also volunteer in feminist initiatives such as “El 11 de febrero”*, which is the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
How did you get to know PrestaShop? What makes you appreciate it?
I got to know PrestaShop when one of my customers needed help with the 1.4 version. I started working with this software from that moment on. What I like most about PrestaShop is that the back-office is very intuitive and easy to use. Most of my customers created their websites on their own and I only have to optimize them.
What do you like most about being an Ambassadress?
I like organizing meetups because I get to know new people. I also like the fact that we have access to exclusive documentation and information on the latest version of the software. This also represents an advantage for my customers, because I can anticipate their future needs.
What got you interested in tech? What influenced you to pursue a career in this field?
I have always been passionate about technology. I have been working as a Technical Support Officer for many years and I have also worked in digital marketing. I wanted to become a tech consultant to use both my computer skills and my digital marketing skills.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I'm proud of all my achievements. I am really glad to have a job that I love and to have witnessed a great number of developments in the technology industry throughout my career.
In your opinion, why aren’t there more women in tech?
From an early age, girls are led to believe that men are better at mathematics, science and technology. This partially explains why so few women choose to pursue these careers. Furthermore, the few women who work in the tech industry barely get any recognition. This also probably discourages a great number of women from embarking on the adventure.
How is the situation of women working in the tech industry in Spain? How much do you think the industry has changed since you joined?
I think the industry has changed a lot over the past 20 years in Spain. An increasing number of people, especially those from the younger generations, are advocating for diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. Tech conferences are definitely becoming more inclusive and diverse, even though there are still very few female speakers. I think that creating inclusive spaces would be the first step to close the gender gap in tech.
Could you name a few challenges (or obstacles) women in e-commerce are facing?
I think that we face the same obstacles as other women who work in male-dominated fields. We are not taken seriously, not listened to… I think it is particularly hard for women to break into the tech industry because the work life balance is hard to achieve. Unfortunately, many women still have to sacrifice their careers to look after their children at home.
Why do you think it is important for more women to join the tech industry?
Women are just as capable of succeeding in technology as men. I think we need more women to join the tech industry to beat gender stereotypes. I think that representation matters because it can shape how women are viewed by society and how women view themselves. I think it is especially important to have more women working in AI. If AI and automation are not developed and applied in a gender-responsive way, they are likely to reproduce and reinforce existing gender stereotypes.
Which woman in tech inspires you the most?
Hedy Lamarr. She was an Austrian film actress and inventor. She is the incredible mind behind Wi-Fi and other wireless technologies. Unfortunately, she did not get the recognition she deserved. I think that she challenges many stereotypes. She is the living proof that women can excel in any sector and that the tech industry is not just for “geeks”.
What advice or tips would you give to a woman who wants to pursue a career in tech?
I advise women to join initiatives or associations that promote inclusion, such as el 11 de febrero or mullerestech. Mullererestech organizes conferences called “Women Techmakers Zaragoza” where the speakers are all women. These initiatives allow women to share their experiences, to support each other and give more visibility to their work. They also allow women to have role models, which is very important because role models motivate people to uncover their true potential.
One last word?
The 1.7.7 version of PrestaShop has many great features. I suggest you to migrate to PrestaShop 1.7.7 if you have an online store!
Thank you Patricia for answering our questions ;)
* Editor's note: “11 February” in English.