Original post on Tec News
Written by: Mónica Torres
Five Tec de Monterrey’s professors were selected to participate in a mentoring program of the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) to support the empowerment of aspiring women leaders.
The School of Engineering and Sciences (EIC) and the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (EMCS) teachers joined the Asia-Pacific Women in Leadership (APWiL) Mentoring Program.
The five representatives have had the opportunity to work with mentors and people who receive mentoring via Zoom, and who work in more than 60 universities belonging to APRU.
“At Tec de Monterrey, we are very proud to participate in what is considered the first formal version of the program,” said Adriana Rojas, leader of Institutional Networks and Alliances at the Center for the Recognition of Human Dignity.
As a common goal, the program seeks to provide international and intercultural opportunities for the professional growth and development of women.
More than an effort to combat gender inequality
From the School of Engineering and Sciences (EIC), participating in this initiative:
- María Ileana Ruiz
- Luz María Martínez.
On the other hand, from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences (EMCS):
- Gabriela María Ruiz
- Nancy de los Ángeles Segura
- Silvia Lorraine Montes.
In the academic and labor world, the opportunity gap is one of the most visible challenges that continue blocking the progress and participation of women in their jobs, explained Dr. María Ileana Ruiz.
“As a woman, we cannot question whether or not we are capable of doing something, we have to do it and, usually, we have to achieve it without showing any weakness,” reflected Ruiz.
According to the APRU, women from universities in the Pacific Rim have made relatively little progress in gaining access to leadership positions in the last 5 years, despite the presence of institutional initiatives.
“On the participation of women in different professional areas, we swept, but it is in leadership competitions where we still see a panorama dominated by men,” explained Professor Silvia Montes.
The APWiL pretends to promote change by taking into consideration the several contexts in which this search for gender equity in universities takes place.
“We start by seeing what makes us different, but then we realize what unites us, and in the end, we understand that we are part of the same community,” Rojas said.
Meet the Tec women who took the challenge
To be part of this ongoing initiative, which began in October 2021 and intends to conclude in September 2022, the five teachers from the areas of Engineering and Medicine were invited to apply.
These professors joined the experience as part of the 94 participants from 26 institutions that were involved, a noticeable increase from the pilot in 2020, which registered 30 participants from 10 institutions.
“Being selected is a distinction. They value your professional career, but also that you can transmit knowledge, strategies, resources, and support to other professors and researchers”, assured Dr. Gabriela Ruíz.
After being designated as mentors, these Tec women were paired with different professionals at universities around the world, from the United States to Australia.
“Being part of this program as a mentor is a challenge and satisfaction. I have the honor of having two mentees and I am learning a lot from them”, shares Dr. Nancy de los Ángeles.
Human relationships that go for long
While the teachers have highlighted the honor of being part of this APRU initiative, most of them agree that the real gift of this experience was the professional and personal relationships they formed.
“My experience was with a professional in the area of psychology with whom I was amazed. Because of her training, I thought that she should teach me, but we learned together,” said Dr. María Ileana Ruiz.
Rojas highlights that, with this mentoring initiative, women can demonstrate how there are different avenues to collaborate on gender equality throughout the world and based on common concerns.
“I had the opportunity to meet a teacher from Korea who started a YouTube channel during the pandemic to teach her children to read in a fun way,” said teacher Silvia Montes.
“Not only was she an excellent academic, but she cared about supporting other working moms, and it’s these kinds of experiences that made me realize I wasn’t alone,” she reflected.
Being able to collaborate with colleagues and students from different parts of the world working for equality and professional growth is a vision shared by Tec mentors for the future of this initiative.
“If they find the opportunity to participate in this type of program, I think it is always good to give something back to the community that we have benefited from,” exhorts Dr. Gabriela.
“I think the answer to the current environment is these kinds of activities that allow us to get closer to and between women. We can change what we are experiencing, this is my way of fighting”, concluded María Ileana.