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YES, we can! Girls and women can do whatever they want!

We spoke with Francisca Rubio, the General Manager of Gaia-X Hub Spain and we have discovered the “Super Learn” superpower she dreams of having and how it would make her impact in the tech world even more incredible!


Can you introduce yourself, your role in the Gaia-X community, and your current position in the tech sector?

I am Francisca Rubio the general manager of Gaia X Spain. In this position, I need to manage the whole activity of the hub. The promotion of projects and the creation of the ecosystem in Spain, Dissemination of Gaia-X in the different sectors around the country and assuring the technical support of all the partners and projects.

My know-how and profile must be management skills for the creation of the ecosystem, social for the dissemination, but also very technical to understand the questions of the partners and to ensure technical support.

Can you briefly walk us through your career journey in technology/science, highlighting key milestones and experiences? Were there specific moments that significantly influenced your career path?

Since I was a child, I loved Mathematics and Science, therefore I have decided to study Physics and Electronic Engineering at the University of Granada (Spain) and Diplomarbeit in Dortmund (Germany)

I have started to work as an engineer, in R&D in the Automotive Industry (Valeo Lighting) and since then, I have always worked in R&D and innovation in different fields (Energy, smart lighting, innovation…).

Working in R&D means being always updated and actualized at the highest level of the state of the art of the technology, therefore I have continued to study. When I worked in Solar energy, I completed the PhD course in photovoltaic Energy at UPM (Madrid) and I have participated in several academic conferences around the world, writing many papers and publications.

Now, as I am working in very innovative data spaces, I am studying for a Master of Data Engineer and I am learning about data space technology.

In conclusion, even if I have a managing position, I have studied my whole life, to maintain my technical know-how and because I love to learn.

What challenges have you encountered as a woman in the tech industry, and how did you overcome them?

In Spain, the rate of women in Engineering is low (around 20%), but it is higher than in other countries. In Germany, for example, when I studied there, it was only 3%.

Normally I don’t have any problem, but sometimes, people are surprised because you, a woman, are good on the technical side and on the managing side too. In the end, everybody respected me, but we needed to demonstrate that we were good from the first sentence.

Only a few times with new people, in other countries (Germany, for example), I have realised that some people don’t believe, that you (a woman) could be good on the technical side, and they ask other colleagues (men), before asking you.

Who are some of your role models or sources of inspiration in the tech/science field? How important do you think it is for women to have strong female role models in the industry?

As I have studied Physics, my role model was Madam Curie. She was and is the best role model of a scientific woman but, unfortunately, she is almost the only one.

I think the girls need to see more women in the tech or science fields to have strong female roles to follow.

In the context of the 2024 theme, “Inspire Inclusion,” why do you think diversity and inclusion are crucial in the tech and science sectors?

If we don’t have women or other profiles of different races, religions, cultures, sex identities, etc, we will lose these important points of view in the technology under development. For example, the very innovative Artificial Intelligence could have a new bias if we don’t include the point of view of women and other minorities.

I am very committed to this subject and therefore I work as a volunteer in the organization “Women in IA”, to support women to work in IA and ensure that the opinion of women is included in the new IA developments.

What advice would you give to young women and girls aspiring to enter the STEM fields? How can women support and uplift each other in the male-dominated tech/science industry?

My advice is that girls and women can do whatever they want. The world is dominated by technology, and we cannot let it be developed mostly by men.

Therefore, the current STEM women should support and show the girls our tech/science role to encourage the girls to study and work in STEM.

YES, we can!!

On a lighter note, if you could choose a superpower to make your work in tech even more incredible, what would it be, and how would it help you tackle the challenges of the digital world?

As I love learning, the superpower I would like to have is the “Super learn”, it means that I would love to learn and understand all the technologies immediately!

Of course, this superpower would help me incredibly in the very fast digital world!