The Chief Executive Officer of CaixaBank, Gonzalo Gortázar, and the president of Microsoft España, Pilar López, announced the winners of the WONNOW Awards, and handed over the prizes to the best students in STEM —Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics— from Spanish universities. The goal of this initiative is for both entities to acknowledge female excellence in technical university degrees, promote diversity and contribute to reducing the gender gap in these sectors, where women continue to be underrepresented.
Carlota Parés, a student from the double degree in Computer Engineering and Telematics Engineering at La Salle-URL, has been rewarded with a special prize of 10,000 euros for having the best academic record. She will also receive a paid scholarship to work at CaixaBank and will benefit from a mentoring programme taught by Microsoft Spain, along with nine other award-winning students.
Promoting female engineers
More than a million jobs requiring STEM skills will be created in Spain over the next four years, but one in four companies has difficulty finding suitable candidates especially women candidates for jobs related to these sectors, according to the Spanish Association for Digitalisation, DigitalES. According to the study “Women in the digital age” carried out by the European Commission in 2018, only 34% of women are STEM graduates and they represent just 17% of professionals specializing in the technology sector. Initiatives such as the WONNOW Awards, promoted by Caixabank and Microsoft, look to improve this situation.
Gortázar highlighted the work and effort of all the participants, who studied a complicated STEM degree with brilliant results. The CaixaBank delegate also wished to congratulate the winners, recognizing their dedication and the important role they play in society. “The goal of the WONNOW Awards is to support the development of women in key professions and to value the effort and commitment of women like you who decide to take up these studies”. Gortázar took the opportunity to encourage students to continue breaking down myths and stereotypes, showing that women can also be brilliant scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.
The President of Microsoft Spain, Pilar López, also congratulated the award-winning students in this second edition of the awards, which she believes to play a vital role in encouraging other female students in destroying negative stereotypes and making them interested in science and technology. “Talent and diversity are guarantees of innovation and growth. Having digital skills is a differential factor and a competitive advantage for your professional future. It has to be a priority to encourage female vocation and talent and not only in the technology sector, because digital talent is essential for any industry and not only in the technology sector, because digital talent is essential for any industry right now. Women already use technology, but we also want them to invent it, to be protagonists and to help solve the great problems we face as a society. That is the spirit of the WONNOW Awards”.