News & Events / Women Shaping Digital: A Conversation with GovTech Mentor Alexia Peralta

Women Shaping Digital: A Conversation with GovTech Mentor Alexia Peralta

Women Shaping Digital  A Conversation with GovTech Mentor Alexia Peralta
Women Shaping Digital  A Conversation with GovTech Mentor Alexia Peralta
Farina Carolina Owusu Apr 23, 2024

As part of our Women in GovStack spotlight series, which showcases inspiring women in the world of GovTech, we caught up with Alexia Peralta. As a mentor for the recent Women in GovTech Challenge 2023-24, Alexia, who is the Director of the E-Governance and Digitalization Department under the Ministry of Public Utilities, Energy, Logistics and E-Governance in Belize, has helped develop innovative solutions for public services. She has also played an important role in paving the way for women in technology. Her experiences range from providing tangible ICT solutions for cross-sectoral challenges to building a community that promotes and supports women in GovTech.  

In our conversation, Alexia discussed her personal experiences during the challenge program, shared her insights on the importance of mentorship, and discussed the dynamics and challenges facing women in the tech industry in her home country of Belize. Through her work, she has not only contributed to the development of innovative GovTech solutions but also created an inspiring platform for women to network, learn from, and support each other. 

What do you like about your work?

It allows me to work with a diverse team and colleagues working collectively to provide tangible solutions using ICT for cross-sectoral challenges.  

What is it like for women in your country to work in the tech-sector – a field that is still dominated by men?

Much like the global context, women working in male-dominated sectors like tech continue to face challenges such as gender bias, unequal opportunities, and a lack of representation. However, there are increasing efforts to promote diversity and inclusivity, with initiatives aimed at breaking down barriers and encouraging participation in the Tech Sector from a very young age. A major challenge identified by girls in Belize is the lack of awareness of success stories and access to role models who inspire and guide their journey in the tech sector. Hence, the Women in GovTech challenge is creating positive change towards gender equality.  

Why did you decide to participate in the Women in GovTech challenge 2023-2024?

The Women in GovTech provided an opportunity to engage and learn from trailblazing women who are also leading digital transformation processes in their country. In addition, they gave me the opportunity to share my experiences and lessons learned with a diverse cohort of women who are seeking to become champions in their own country.  

How has the GovStack approach helped you in your career and how will you implement it?

The GovStack approach provides an opportunity for late boomers in the digital revolution to leapfrog by adopting tested reusable, interoperable, and generic building blocks. It equips me with additional information and guidance to build cost-effective user-driven digital services in Belize. From a procurement standpoint, it gives me access to crowd-sourced technical expertise in defining tech specifications for building blocks allowing us to go to market faster while still ensuring quality and value for money.  

What was the most interesting thing about the GovStack approach for you?

While I applaud the entire GovStack approach and the opportunities it is providing to countries, an area most valuable for Belize’s context is the availability of technical specifications for the building blocks along with an available sandbox that empowers digital teams to test and familiarize themselves with building blocks. As such, it is also an effective capacity-building tool.  

What did you learn during the Women in GovTech challenge 2023-2024?

Women in GovTech provided a valuable opportunity to meet trailblazing women and be able to learn from their experiences. The networking sessions allowed us to converge on key challenges being experienced by all and be able to showcase different and unique approaches that can be adopted in our respective contexts. Overall, I really learned new ways to address the challenges and barriers we are experiencing in driving Belize’s digital transformation.  

Do you see a gender-equitable policy in the current digital legislative landscape in your country?

While Belize’s Digital Government Act currently highlights the importance of designing user-centered services, it is critical for our department to provide guidelines and specifications to standardize the design of user-driven services, including principles for gender equity and inclusion. While initiatives are currently underway, it will be important to consider how gender equity and inclusion are addressed across the digital ecosystem. 

Do you think that a gender-specific, intersectional perspective is essential in the conception, design, and provision of digital public services?

Certainly, incorporating a gender-specific perspective is an integral element of designing user-driven services. Adopting a user-driven design approach and principles inclusive of gender-specific and intersectional principles ensures that digital public services are designed to meet the diverse needs of all individuals. This promotes inclusivity and reduces the risk of further perpetuating the digital divide and biases in our countries. In so doing, it will ensure we are providing user-friendly, responsive, ethical, and effective services that meet the needs of our customers.

You can find more information about the Women in GovTech challenge 2023-2024 here.  

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