The blog has been moved. Check out the new Resources Hub for industry news, app marketing guides, hands-on ASO learning, and more.

#AFtalks: Women in Tech with Vanessa Estorach, CEO of E-Growing

Welcome to our #AFtalks recap!

Did you know – as of 2017, only 21% of tech executives are women, according to a global survey report by Isaca? This week we took an in-depth look at the challenges, resources, and role models of women in the technology and mobile industry to better understand what we as a community can do to bridge this gap.

Our guest this week was Vanessa Estorach, the CEO at e-growing and co-founder of Women in Mobile. We asked Vanessa to share her insights and advice on this topic with the questions below. Included are her answers:

Q1: What are the top three challenges you find most difficult to overcome as a woman in tech?

A: The pole position is for conciliation. I’ve just become a mother and for me, conciliation is a big issue right now. I’m learning that conciliation isn’t something we have to do alone. In fact, the companies we work in should be really involved in conciliation. As a freelance consultant, I have to manage it myself but I see some friends that have a great amount of help from their companies (and others who don’t..). For example, they allow the mothers to adapt their schedule to better match their children. At home, our partner should also help with conciliation. My baby is now 3 months old and I can say that I can be here now because my partner helps me a lot!

There are quite a lot of challenges we face. From all of them, I’d highlight the difference between male and female salaries as the second issue. The salary gap is something that worries me a lot. I don’t really understand why women should earn less if we do the same job. In some positions, it’s something preset but in other cases, we have part of the responsibility: men negotiate better than us when it comes to salaries. In general, women are less assertive in business negotiations.

Finally, I’m pretty worried about the lack of visibility that women have in the tech sector. It’s true that women only represent 30% in this sector but if you check most of the important IT conferences, you realize that we are underrepresented. As Women in Mobile, we contact the organization of some of these conferences and we ask them why they don’t have more women and the most common answer is that they don’t know any. Sometimes finding women in a specific STEM & Tech areas isn’t as easy as opening LinkedIn and doing the search!

Q2: Where do you see the tech industry in five years for women?

A: I’d love to be an optimist, and I am. There are different initiatives that intend, as we in Women in Mobile do, to potentiate the role of women in the tech sector. But it’s something we have to do together because if we continue to buy dolls for girls and Legos for boys, there won’t be enough feminine tech talent in the future since these girls won’t be interested in studying STEM & TECH degrees.

Q3: What are the best resources for women wanting to learn more about the tech and/or the mobile app industry?

A: Today, there are a lot of resources on the Internet for men and women to learn about anything. I’d recommend checking any important conference in the sector (Mobile Growth – where next month I’ll be speaking in, App Promotion Summit,…) and look at all the speakers in the roster. Follow them on social networks and read their blogs (if they have any). This is a good way to start.

Moreover, there are different programs available only for women. In Spain, there is an organization call Adalab who offer the opportunity to study programming for women with difficulties in finding a job.

And you know what’s the best resource: going in the tech women group of your area and learning from them!

Q4: What advice do you have for women trying to make a start in the tech industry?

A: The advice I always give is what worked for me: don’t be shy to ask. I wasn’t working in the tech industry but I started to go to different tech meetups. Once I saw something that caught my attention, I asked if I could participate. Thanks to that, I started to speak at different conferences and that led me to get my best customers.

Q5: Who do you look up to as role models or pioneers in the tech industry?

A: I was really inspired when I read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. Big names always inspire me a lot but I try to look for more close references that I can go and talk to them and ask for advice.

Q6: How can those in the tech industry encourage more women to join/stay/get involved in technology?

A: The best way to encourage more women to join the tech sector is with education. Educate girls and tell them that they are as capable as boys to do study STEM careers. Demystify tech around teenagers as technology isn’t only being a geek or nerd. In fact, it’s something they use every day: to chat with friends (Snapchat), to meet people (Tinder) or to buy (Letgo).

Final Thoughts:

Share your thoughts and/or resources in the comments below!

Check out the rest of the insights we heard today on the #AFtalks hashtag.

Huge thanks to Vanessa and to all those that were part of today’s discussion! Join us for our weekly Twitter chat every Tuesday at 1pm ET (bring your friends!). See you all next week for the Music Behind Apps & Games!