Porto: there’s a whole new world for women in tech

Opportunities for women in tech are growing in Portugal. Porto and Lisbon are definitely great cities to work in technology if you are a woman. The country appears on first place of the “2018 Women in Tech Index from Honeypot. That’s an amazing mark but it’s still not enough: globally there’s only 16% of women in tech.

Did you know that 83% of all ICT specialists employed in the EU in 2016 were men? This is not a big surprise. However, according to the Digital Economy and Society Index Report for 2018 , “ICT specialists in the EU grew by 500,000 between 2015 and 2016 to reach 8.2 million workers but employment potential of specialised ICT skills remains underexploited”. The question to be answered is: why don’t we take this opportunity to increase the employment on this area and particularly to increase the presence of women in tech?

2018 Women in Tech Index by Honeypot

Despite continued high levels of unemployment, there could be 756 000 unfilled jobs in the European ICT sector by 2020.

Like we said there’s a gap here which can be exploited by people with ICT studies and by women in particular. Men continue to lead on the tech sector. They use the internet more than women (at least weekly: 82 % vs. 79 %) and they are more in the basic level of digital skills (60 % vs. 55 %). However, female-owned digital startups are more likely to be successful than those of their male counterparts and that investment in female-founded startups performs 63% better than exclusively male-founded startups.

In Portugal there’s already 48,78% of women in tech, an impressive number that gives the country the first place on the global index. There’s a few reasons of why women in the ICT sector are increasing in Portugal. For example, 30% of women graduates on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and the gender pay gap (2010) is one of the lowest in the world (13,13%).

Liliana Castro has founded in 2017 the Portuguese Women in Tech community. The faces of that portuguese women are displayed on the website. The group is growing fast and it’s still open for every women that want to participate.

“The tech ecosystem in Portugal is booming and the woman entrepreneurs are a big part of nowadays success — the Portuguese Women in Tech community is a project that came to life to showcase those amazing people inviting them to work together, to share knowledge, expertise and experiences”, said Liliana Castro.

Portuguese Women in Tech website

The second largest city of Portugal - Porto - is the central hub of this community. But it’s only one of many examples of recent projets envolving this city. The question is: why Porto? “As we are based in Porto, the connections are obvious. Porto is one of the most entrepreneurial cities in the country with an active community, a motivated ecosystem and also the first unicorn — guess what, a startup that counts with a huge number of women in tech”, she added.

It seems Porto - and Portugal in general - is an exception of the men’s world in tech.

However, globally women haven’t been able to take advantage of the opportunities created by ICT and digital sectors in the labour market. There are four times more men than women in Europe with ICT-related studies. For every 1,000 female tertiary graduates in the EU, only 24 are graduates in ICT-related fields. Of these 24 graduates, only 6 women end up working in digital jobs. On the other hand, out of every 1,000 male graduates, 92 studied in ICT-related fields of which 49 of end up working in digital jobs.

But things are changing for women. In 2015, 23.4% of entrepreneurs in the ICT sector in Europe were women, around 4 pp. more than five years earlier and the IT sector shows the third highest increase in female board members, a 102% since 2011. Lets set Porto as an example to follow?