top of page

The role of Women in international trade and disruptive technologies

On the occasion of International Women's Day we wanted to celebrate the increasing presence of women in sectors such as the technological and the international ones. According to the study "Women and Trade. The role of trade in promoting Gender Equality", carried out by World's Bank and International Trade Organisation, companies that start exporting incorporate more women, specifacilly a 33% more than those firm that don't.

The report indicates also that, after a company commercial opening to international markets, wages in manufacturing sector corresponding to women increase an average of a 5,8% and, in top level of exportation industries, the possibilities for staff women to get an official contract are high. In regard to technological sector, it continues the battle for a deeper gender equality. A study of the Observatorio de Igualdad y Empleo argues that only 19,8% of digital positions are occupied by women and, corresponding high charges in technological companies, only 16%.

In order to dive into the question, we have interviewed two women with great expertise in international trade and technology, Elisa Carbonell, General Director of Internationalisation at ICEX and Concepción Díaz, AI instructor, Big Data and Machine Learning at Google. We have been shared by their experiencies, opinions and vissions about the incorporation of women to these sectors

Elisa Carbonell, Directora General de Internacionalización del ICEX

Elisa Carbonell, General Director of Internationalisation at ICEX

Elisa Carbonell (General Director of Internationalisation at Icex) is graduated in Law from Universidad Complutense de Madrid and possesses a Master in Business Administration. We respect to her professional career, she has worked within the public field in financial matters for Competitiveness, Industry and Economy Ministery, as well as in Commercial and Economic Office at Spain's Embassy in Colombia as counselor. Considering her current position and wide grounding, she has told has more about the importance of exporting SMEs internationalisation and the growing femenine presence in international trade:

1. ¿How was your career until you achieved to be General Director of Internationalisation for companies, breaking the "glass ceiling" in management?

Belonging to Administration's Team of Commercial technicians and economists, I have had an opportunity of assuming responsabilities throughout my career, which has been rather wide ranging, in my opinion. I became general director after having been consultant helping one government's vicepresident, one ministry and two Secretary of State in Colombia. I have been economical and commerical counselor for Spain's Embassy in Colombia and assistant manager in Public Treasury's legal and financial policy. Each of these positions meant to me big challenges and greater teachings as a professional back in the day. I think that, this path, has helped me to prepare for this new chapter at ICEX, which demands a good team management, adaptative and listening skills in order to try the best service possible to spanish companies during their internationalisation.

2. Being internationalisation responsible at a well-known institution such ICEX, what pieces of advices would you give to other women who want to work in exportations sector, internationalisation or foreign trade?

I would tell them the same as to a man: working in international business has complications with personal conciliation, due to forced trips that includes. Nevertheless, I would also tell them that it is a fascinating sector. Internationalise a firm is innovate. Going abroad to compete in foreing markets is playing in another league. A constant search of new markets, local partners and new clients.

I would tell them that internationalisation is expensive and mistakes made can make the situation even more costly. ICEX is there for achieving a cheap international for business: we save time, money and avoid mistakes. I will tell them to call us.

3. What is your opinion about the growing incorporation of women in international trade and how do you think it will evole in the next years?

New sectors have that have emerged as an answer to the current economical situation have already shown a higher presence of women. Two examples are digital health and cybersecurity that have more and more importance in our economy. Concurrently, more traditional sectors and those in which Spanish companies a international references, as infraestructures, they are increasingly incorporatin women in their international decision-making departments.