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Why Portugal Is The Best Location For Women In Tech

Take away the expansive ocean views, the coastal cliff edges and the bustling cities that Portugal is renowned for, and the country is left with… well, still quite a lot, really! And it’s not just the pastéis de nata or port that we’re talking about.Portugal is a country that attracts expats and tourists alike. The affordable living, comfortable temperatures and stunning landscapes create a place that many aspire to call home. However, it’s not the warm climates or the incredible food that has a vast number of women happy in Portugal — for females working in the technology industry, Portugal is shaping up to be the country with the most opportunities available.

Honeypot, a developer-focused job platform, recently ran a survey across the technology landscape to research the role of gender parity within the industry. The survey was initiated with the intention of looking at the barriers women in the technology industry often face, and it executed this by identifying the numbers of the total workforce and then looking at the workforce of the tech industry, to see where any disparities lay.

The findings of the survey covered 41 countries, both in the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and looked at gender in the overall economy and the wage gap in the tech industry specifically, in addition to the opportunities available for women in tech and their career progression.

However, whilst the findings are favourable in Portugal’s favour, it’s important not to overhype them. The results show that Portugal has the smallest gender pay gap both overall and in tech, but still highlights the fact that only 30 percent of the tech workforce are women. This shows that whilst the opportunities for those within the tech space are good, the tech industry as a whole still has a way to go with regards to inspiring women to seek opportunities within the industry.

But let’s get to the results; what is it about Portugal which makes it the best location for women in tech?

A Vibrant Start-up Scene

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The entrepreneurial lifestyle is alive and kicking in Portugal with developers, digital nomads, marketers and start-up founders heading to the country en masse to develop and grow their businesses. As a result, there is an abundance of events and international investments in the country.

One of the most recent examples of this investment is the collaboration between Booking.com and the Lisbon Web Summit to sponsor the Women in Tech mentorship programme for two years running. The first year the event ran, it attracted more than 200 participants and 60 successful female mentors. The investment and opportunities which come from such events provide invaluable access to new opportunities as well as the right circumstances for many to network with high-profile women in their relevant industry.

The success of such events is further cemented by the government, who has taken notice and become involved by supporting the booming tech industry. The Portuguese Government does this by working closely with incubators, start-up hubs and exchange programmes to ensure that they each have suitable support.

A 2017 survey conducted by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association found that 48 percent of women felt that there was a lack of mentorship in the global technology workforce. However, whilst mentorship may be lacking globally, the EU has found that women-owned start-ups regularly outperform those owned by men. This suggests that there’s a huge supply of talent out there, waiting to be tapped into; and Portugal is well positioned to do just that.

Over the past few years, the Portuguese Government has introduced and backed several policies to assist with this. Such examples include Prime Minister António Costa announcing his plans to provide 200 million euros to help support the country’s developing start-up ecosystem, and ‘Start-Up Portugal,’ an initiative which helps tackle the lack of mentorship by providing logistical and financial support via mentoring, funding and support.

A Knowledgeable Network

As more and more people transition into a career which enables them to work remotely, many have taken to relocating and right now, the number of people relocating to Portugal is on the rise. Lisbon has regularly been voted one of the most popular locations when it comes to the nomadic lifestyle scene and with a government commitment to helping businesses grow, and an abundance of affordable co-working spaces, it’s easy to see why.

When it comes to developing a business or service, choosing the right location can be priceless. Having access to an area with a network of like-minded individuals can be an invaluable resource, especially as tech is an industry dedicated to progression, which comes with a lot of trials and tribulations. Having a social scene and a knowledgeable network can be hugely beneficial when it comes to bouncing ideas around.

Portugal’s Dedication To Progress

Fresh food, warm climates and an accessible transport system are just some of the factors that make Portugal so desirable, but on top of that is the country’s dedication to progression. Over the past five years, along with the US and Latvia, Portugal has been one of the countries which has taken the most progressive steps towards fighting gender pay parity. The results of the aforementioned survey show that Portugal has the smallest gender pay gap out of the 41 countries in the data set. When you combine that with governmental support, it becomes far less economically risky for women to choose a career in technology in Portugal than it would be in other countries.

Portugal is a place which truly embraces diversity, and in the past few years their unemployment rates have fallen to less than 10 percent. This is largely due to the government-supported ecosystem, as almost half (46 percent) of Portugal’s new jobs have been created by start-ups which are less than five years old. Portugal’s dedication to an open vision, and a supportive environment where people are encouraged to create, test, fail and try again has resulted in the country booming; especially within the tech sector as more women feel able to pursue a career in the industry.

Have you worked in Portugal? Share your experiences in the comments below, or answer the questions here to be featured in an interview!

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