Homuork gathers over 100 people to debate on gender discrimination at the closure of its course on “Women & Leadership”
The MOOC closes its first edition with 521 students, a 52% completion rate and a global rating of 8.85
Yesterday at the Fabrica Moritz in Barcelona, Homuork celebrated the closure of the first edition of the MOOC “Women & Leadership”: the first free online course in Spanish about feminine empowerment. The event gathered 103 people to debate on the gender discrimination situations that are so widely spread both in social and working contexts.
Alexandra Maratchi, CEO of Homuork, opened the session by thanking all 521 students for enrolling in the course, and highlighting the objectives that had been met in the process. “We have received dozens of messages from men and women thanking us for the launch of this syllabus, saying that it had made them aware of the discriminative situations they are involved in. This was one of our main goals: to change mentalities and to empower women so they can subvert this reality”.
The event gathered the experts Anna Mercadé, director of the Observatory for Women, Entrepreneurship and Economy; Mara Dierssen, neurobiologist at the Centre of Genomic Regulation; Núria Salán, president of the Catalan Technological Society and winner of the Woman & Technology Prize 2017; and Mar Gaya, psychologist and implementation technician in equality plans for companies. All of them participated in an open debate about 5 main topics: salary gap, gender stereotype, feminine leadership, co-responsibility and empowerment.
Several studies carried out in Spain show that the salary gap between men and women ranges between 16% and 30%. According to our experts at the debate, there are determinant factors that explain these numbers: the fact that there are many more women than men in low working positions (thus on the minimum salary), and the attitude of many companies that choose to substitute male workers for female workers but in worse conditions. They all pointed at the government as liable for the correction of this situation, and demanded to follow the example of Iceland, which recently passed a law compelling companies to equal the salary for the same position.
Besides political initiatives, Dierssen called women to raise awareness and to take action. “When we enter selective processes for managerial positions, we limit ourselves in the negotiation, as we prioritize getting the job over claiming the salary we really deserve, and this is how we diminish our value”.
Stereotypes and women's access to work
Salán told the audience about her own experience as a teacher in the technological sector. “When younger, girls usually get the best marks in mathematics, but as they reach their teens they start growing apart from anything related to numbers and technology. The fact that our societies find it odd that girls are interested in these sectors ends up raising doubts about their capacities, precisely in the time of their lives in which they are most impressionable.” According to her, these stereotypes are an essential factor in understanding why the presence of women in technological careers doesn’t usually get over 20%.
The director of the Observatory for Women, Entrepreneurship and Economy, Anna Mercadé, shared internal data showing that “the presence of women at work wanes as one looks higher in the firms’ hierarchies”. According to her study, 60% of people with high education diplomas are women, but these only represent 11% of high executive positions of the country, and this percentage drops down to 4,5% in the case of boards of directors.
Rejecting the sens of guilt
When talking about empowerment, Gaya asked women to reject any sense of guilt they may feel when facing gender-related added drawbacks. “We tend to blame ourselves and there is no reason why. We must make bigger efforts to reach our goals; it’s a historical condition we have inherited and we must fight against, and we have the responsibility to subverting it.”
The first edition of the MOOC “Women & Leadership” was closed with 521 enrolled students, a 52% completion (ten times higher than the sector’s means), and a global rating of 8.85 out of 10. Given the success of the initiative, Homuork is already preparing a second edition, starting next autumn.
Since its foundation in 2013, Homuork has specialised in the design of e-learning experiences for companies and universities. Betting on the MOOC model, which has revolutionised online training by introducing video as the structural element of educational programs, the company has become a benchmark of quality within the sector thanks to its high-quality courses, the development of its own platform -customized for each client, and the high completion rates of its students, that is over 80% (way higher than the 5% average open MOOCs get). Last year, Homuork started a partnership with Coursera - the biggest MOOC distribution platform in the world, for the production of courses for universities, companies and NGO’s. In its four year trajectory, Homuork has been consolidated as the leading company in MOOC production, with over 150.000 students in total and its presence in 10 countries.
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