Members of the Utah chapter will participate in a panel discussion at the Latinas in Tech event in June 2021. The Utah chapter is made up of approximately 200 women and provides members with networking, recruitment, educational events, and a sense of community. (Cynthia Jijón, Latino in Tech)
Estimated duration: 5-6 minutes
SALT LAKE CITY — Maciel Islas has worked in the technology industry in Utah, so she was often the only Latina.
“The industry can be tough. There aren’t many people who look like you, sound like you, have the same background, or really understand your story,” he said recently. Islas, who accepted a software engineering job at Amazon, said.
Women and Hispanic workers are underrepresented in Utah’s tech sector. According to the Utah Women and Leadership Project report, Hispanic workers make up 14% of Utah’s workforce, but 6.5% of all STEM workers.
Similarly, only 2% of employed Hispanic women are in science, technology, engineering and mathematics occupations, compared to just 3.4% of all employed women in Utah. .
These trends are of particular concern because of the key role the technology industry plays in the state’s economy, the report said. According to a 2019 University of Utah report, technology companies directly and indirectly support more than one-seventh of Utah’s employment and almost one-fifth of the state’s workers’ income. .
empower each other
The lack of female or Hispanic representation in Utah’s tech industry can be a challenge for Latinas working in the industry. Their views are not taken seriously, they struggle to negotiate fair wages and promotions, they grapple with impostor syndrome, and the US work culture for Latina immigrants.
“Sometimes I think, ‘Maybe I approached the meeting the wrong way?’ Or ‘Why didn’t that conversation go well?’ Doesn’t this happen?'” said Islas, a Mexican immigrant.
“Another big[challenge]is that I really find it hard to imagine myself when I’m blind,” she added. There aren’t many Latinos in technology leadership, so sometimes you don’t realize you’re limiting your options to yourself.
But the Latino Utah chapter of tech is helping women navigate the industry successfully.
Cynthia Jijón, one of Chapter’s founders, started a Facebook group in 2020 for Latinos working in tech. When the Facebook group grew to about 100 women, she looked for established organizations that the group could join. She found Latinas in Tech, a non-profit organization with over 22,000 members that supports and connects Latinos in the tech industry.
“I really needed a place where I felt heard and understood about the struggles I went through while working at a tech company,” Jijon said.
Today, the Tech Latino Utah chapter has approximately 200 women and hosts recruiting, networking, and educational events. But more importantly, it provides members with a sense of community.
“The moment I thought, ‘This is going to be tough. How long will this be going on?’ or ‘Will it always be like this?’ , they make me feel like I’m not alone and I’m not the only one facing this,” said Islas, who attended, a Latina from Tech about a year ago.
Jijón feels a similar sense of community. In fact, she said that being part of Latinas in Tech gave her more confidence in her career.
“Knowing that I belonged to a group and that I was part of a movement gave me the confidence to know that I could achieve things I thought I could not do,” she said. I got
Having been in tech for the past five years, chapter leader Miriam Solen is passionate about helping other Latinos build careers and increase their representation in the tech world. , joined the group. As a manager, she was able to use her Latina in Tech event to connect internships with students looking to enter the tech field.
“We’re really open-minded by helping each other and supporting each other with things like ‘I just need advice’ and ‘I’m looking into this,'” Solen said. “The tech industry needs women, and we need Latinas. Sometimes we can help empower women to find the right resources and the right connections to confidently pursue their dreams.” I have.”
She added that attending Latinas in Tech also opens up a national network to help women looking for remote job opportunities and relocation options.
Latinas in Tech is hosting a free event Saturday, 11am-2pm at Industry SLC, 650 S. 500 West in Salt Lake City. Her two speakers, Islas and her consultant Katty López De Gull, personal branding, will be on hand to give a workshop on personal branding. A catered lunch will also be held.
“They will share with us some tips on what it takes to be a Latina in the workforce,” Jijon said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re in tech or any other industry. It’s helpful for all of us and everyone is welcome.”
“It’s exciting because we’re not just there for the little skills you need to grow. I am empowering you until you do,” she added.
For more on Latinas from Tech Utah Chapter, visit the group’s website and social media.