One of the worldwide biggest concerns among governments, NGOs, Universities, Enterprises, etc., is to find strategies which help to close the gender gap. Naturally, YEPI and Universidad Veracruzana (UV) can’t be far from this global worry.

During the last week of March (24-30), in Lahore, Pakistan, representatives of Universidad Austral in Chile, University of Cape Town in South Africa, Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico, Social Innovation Lab (SIL) in Pakistan, Learning Partner from University of Minnesota in USA and YEPI’s Director from Talloires Network had the opportunity to exchange their reflexions about gender approach and equality between women and men in YEPI. Besides learning more about SIL approach to incubation.

According with the 2015 Global Gender Gap Report, conducted by the World Economic Forum, it will take another 118 years to close the global gender gap. Notwithstanding the progress in the application of Mexican public policy related with gender equality, these efforts haven’t been enough. The Gender Global Index 2015 shows that Mexico ranks 75th over 145 ranked contries, where Iceland and Nordic contries (Finland, Sweeden and Norway) fill out the top four.

Therefore, univertisities as open spaces where knowledge and tolerance bring together, have the social responsibility for leading change to gender equality. For that reason, UV created the Gender Unit Coordination in order to promote a culture of equality among UV’s community.

Particularly speaking about YEPI-UV, we have been promoting inclusive strategies in the participation of UV’s community in our programs. For example, last March 30th, Sandra Cisneros and María E. Díaz, specialists from the Mexican Patent Office and the National Copyright Office, respectively, held conferences with faculty and researchers regarding IP and copyright protection. Beyond to spread knowledge about talk topics of the talks, the implicit objective was to show the importance of women participation in any field of knowledge.

Apparently, strategies are having outcomes, today, for instance, women are requesting patents of their innovations, many entrepreneurial projects are leading by women, social-community projects have a good rate of women participation, employers after internships  are requesting women because their responsibility and capacity.

However, culture and social stigmas represent a big challenge for avoiding gender inequality. For example, even though, Emprende UV maintenance a gender equality policy, there are more men than women participating in the workshops. This could be connected with the fact that most of the workshops have been held with students from the engineer schools, which programs and professional development, at least in Mexico, are associated with masculinity. That’s shows that there is a lot of work to do.

In summary, create a bridge for overcoming gender gap is not an easy task. Even in those open systems such as higher education institutions, factors like context, culture, religion, family background, social economic position, policies, etc., are playing for or against gender equality. As a result, strategies for fighting gender inequality can not being designed thinking in one particular scenery. To promote women inclusion, strategies have also involved multidimensional and multidisciplinary work, as well as the commitment of all actors, including women themselves.

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Universidad Veracruzana | Administrator of the Engagement Department

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