The role of women in business

Despite the proliferation of studies on the importance of having female leaders, there are still few that reach hierarchical positions. Care tasks, financial participation and the glass ceiling are some of the brakes they suffer. On the other hand, they organize themselves in mentoring networks, generate training and promote equitable laws.

The strength of the women’s movement is gaining more and more prominence within organizations, both nationally and globally. The numbers reflect this trend: 87% of companies have at least one woman in senior management, an increase of 12% in the past year, as indicated by the latest research by Women Managers by Grant Thornton International. To this is added that they occupy 29% of senior leadership positions worldwide.

Along the same lines, Mercer noted that growth at a local level is beginning to be continuous with respect to female participation. Thus, at the levels of Managers and Supervisors it went from 28% to 35% and in management it grew from 27% to 30%. In the highest strata there was also an increase: female directors went from 15% to 16% and general managers from 5 to 7%.

But not all the numbers are so positive. According to Silvina Prekajac, founder Giving Birth, “globally, six out of 10 workers resign when they are mothers, and the difference in wages between those who have children and those who are not 20% in favor of the latter. Add to this that 80% of executives consider motherhood as a barrier. So, this is experienced as something that works against them, both from them and from employers. It is a time for us to propose new work schemes in which people be the center “, explains the specialist.

“While it is good to have data, we must move from diagnosis to solution. We should honor the moment in which we are and accelerate the pace, this is a turning point. Equity is achieved by working on the business culture, encouraging girls STEM knowledge and with young women taking advantage of the experience of the greatest, “says María Amelia Videla, director of Communication, Sustainability and Public Affairs of ManpowerGroup Argentina.

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Karen Vizental, VP of Corporate Communications and Sustainability at Unilever, agrees on the need to shorten the times of transformation. “According to a report by the World Economic Forum, the gap is expanding and with the current rate of ‘progress’ it will take us about 217 years to close it. We all must play a fundamental role in accelerating the pace of our actions and improving the possibilities of progress of girls and women in all sectors. We also argue that men can free themselves from the limitations imposed on manhood and masculinity, “she adds.

The truth is that the women’s movement is perceived, since 54% of those surveyed by Adecco affirm that the situation of women in the labor market has greatly improved in the last 15 years, while 32% think that it was only a little .

“We continue to be a minority in top management; it is incredible that in areas such as finance there are so few women,” says Alejandra Naughton, CFO of Grupo Supervielle. “Without a doubt, diversity helps to make better decisions, and this is something that was not considered before. Now they consult us more, that is why we have to provide a different look, as long as we do not, there will be a glass ceiling. 8M was global, the change will be achieved by women and men, “she points out.

A phenomenon that is replicated worldwide is the gap in participation between men and women. “In our country, this gap is greater than in others in the region (Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, among others, show higher percentages of activity): inland, especially as cities are smaller, women they are inserted less, being relegated to the care of the home and family. Obviously this is a phenomenon whose scourge affects more those who have less resources and whose condition is thus perpetuated “, warns Andrea Grobocopatel, president of Fundación FLOR.

“It is not fair that the tasks of care are given to the woman in an exclusive way. The men are also parents, children, grandchildren, and as such also have the responsibility of assuming the roles of care. Similarly, reaching positions decision-making is often slowed down by not having the training: they did not enter the university by family mandate or because they believed that they were determined for other areas “, explains María Tettamanti, CEO of Camuzzi Gas.

In a recent study, Oxford Economics and IBM surveyed more than 2,300 executives and professionals from organizations around the world in multiple industries (men and women alike), and the study revealed that the advancement of women is not a formal priority of deal. Furthermore, according to a report by the D’Alessio IROL consultancy for Shared Management, seven out of 10 people consider that it is more difficult for a woman to access a hierarchical position. “Luckily for younger generations, the cultural factor is changing and may not have such a negative influence, even this trend is not yet reflected in the reality of the market and society,” says relieved Inés Cura, COO of IBM Argentina.

For all this, we must not forget what the W20 left at the end of 2018. “It allowed us to put into words the precarious state of many women who do not have access to remuneration for their work, access to technology and education. Forums of this type they are tools that support the changes we need to make and also help us to dimension the impact we can have when working with the same goal: equality to improve the quality of life, “says Mara Canonico, Marketing manager of Electrolux Argentina.

“Cultural aspects require long-term processes of change, because they depend on the education received, the spaces for socialization and the distinction with a simple adaptation to what ‘is right’ to do or say. But, based on the claims from different groups is helping to modify the representation of women. And this has positive results for their employment. We are all more permeable and empathetic with situations that a few years ago would have been resolved in a unique way, “says Silvana Lanari, director from Farmacity’s IT & Supply Chain.

STEM and more

Estela Cota, director-channel Sales of Forcepoint Latin America, entered the tech market when she saw a poster at the university that said: “It requires an enterprising woman who is not afraid of technology.” “When I read that advertisement, I did not understand why they were talking about fear, that is why I believe that we must motivate our daughters. That is why I maintain that we must recognize the feminine value at work, the woman who became empowered and made the best times for All of them. Their role is just as important, it is necessary to generate social construction in the workplace “, maintains the directive.

“In areas, such as technology, where you have to innovate, diversity is fuel, and the female gaze is key in disruptive processes,” says Marina Alvarez, vice president of operations and partner at everis Argentina, the first woman to become as a partner in the region in this company, which has 30% of its female staff.

In another context also classified as masculine, Felisa Blaquier develops within IguanaFix as manager of Communication and Public Affairs. “In the world of startups, everything is new, even the dynamic ones. The structures are more horizontal, changing and there is more disposition among peers,” clarifies this executive, who continues to recognize the role of her bosses, who always made her feel that she could.

Indeed, the incursion into these areas is more complex. In order to explore new terrain, some representatives point to the role of the quota law. “Although it is a complex issue, I think it serves to open up and accelerate female participation. I would like it not to be necessary, because it also carries the risk that the position will be filled by someone with inadequate capacities,” explains Marcela Fernie, COO and part of the Banco Galicia board of directors.

“At Philip Morris International we have set clear goals to improve the representation of women in our general management population: to reach 40% by 2022. This is not a fee, but an initiative to have the necessary representation of women in the company. Locally, at Massalin Particulares we have 34% representation in the company and 40% in managerial positions. In addition, almost 50% of the new positions are held by women “, exemplifies Tatiana Karpova, Managing Director of Massalin Particulares for Argentina , Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay and Bolivia.

Another tool is to resort to collective alliances, such as the one just presented by the consultancy EY: Professional Women’s Network. “The network has the power to include us all, it is important to retain female talent, to strengthen the talent of each one,” says Andrea Rey, partner in charge of the firm.

“Those of us who hold leadership positions in the private and / or public sphere must promote activities that increase women’s confidence and the development of their entrepreneurial skills. Generate private and / or state policies focused on supporting them as investors and entrepreneurs. In issues of family context, the extension of maternity and paternity leave should also be items on the agenda to help women in their role as mothers, and allow men to have the same right to accompany and be present, “Gabriela Renaudo lists, General manager for Visa Argentina and Southern Cone.

“In order to achieve professional growth, we must constantly overcome obstacles and make risky decisions. Thanks to the collaboration of my team and CWT’s innovation in diversity, I always had the possibility of aligning my maternal objectives with those at work,” says Florencia Scardaccione , CWT Director for South America.

For Carolina Paz Tormo, Head of IT Consulting and New Technologies at Paradigma Sociedad de Soluciones, it is necessary to work on the established messages. “Concepts such as: women fear occupying positions of power or women are not interested in occupying positions of responsibility generate stereotypes that make us ineligible and in turn work on the unconscious of many of us who internalize it and accept it almost without questioning it “he warns.

360º look

The feminine agenda is not alien to companies as much as employer brands and in the relationship with their consumers. This is how they understood it from Danone, who created the Women Who Create program, through which they seek to encourage women entrepreneurs to generate a chain “of sisterhood in which women producers are empowered by the brand and empower other women, thus generating a positive domino effect, “said Macó Estebanez, Marketing Director for Danone Lácteos.

Even the concern for being protagonists when training girls in STEM careers is repeated. Globant is one of the firms that took up this topic and works together with the Girl Programmer Clubs, creating recreational spaces for girls between 12 and 17 years of age to bring them closer to technology. “From organizations and the state, we must continue working to add policies and benefits that aim at the inclusion of women in organizations and promote education,” sums up Patricia Pomies, Chief Delivery Officer at Globant. Similarly, Eventbrite also focused on schools through its Mendoza Girls Inc program, with the idea of ​​supporting and promoting students as early as high school.

“The most effective measures have to do with promoting diversity by providing information, defining policies that promote that equality and that are coherent with the actions, and decisions that are made on a day-to-day basis. That all collaborators know and apply. special, the leaders of the organization “, concludes Gabriela Iacovino, director of Human Resources at DIA Argentina.

In the bases

Women from deprived social strata suffer more from unemployment. At Securitas they created the “Vision 2020 Mentor program, through which we help girls who are in high school to take that first step. We teach them to think ‘why not,’ so they can chart a path,” says Patricia Sclocco, director of Communication, Public Affairs and CSR of Securitas Argentina.

“Developing your career is not taught by anyone. Know that there are moments of higher speed and others that slow down, and nobody gives you advice to know how many plates you can have spinning in the air. Knowing him is important. And you have to avoid self-censorship, “says Cecilia Mascardi, regional CEO of Lacoste.

“There is the glass ceiling and the sticky floor. There are fewer women involved in the workforce or in decision-making positions because internally we have the concept that we must choose between our careers and our families. Much of these limitations come from a cultural imposition, “adds Nur Malek Pascha, CEO and founder of Patricia Furlong, VP and Global General Manager Commercial Services for American Express agrees: “Men have developed their networking system, find spaces for relationships where they strengthen their networks and develop a level of trust where women hardly have a place. This hinders growth from women to high decision-making positions “. Nadine Pavlovsky, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer DirecTV Latin America, He recognizes the advantages that men enjoy, but he does not believe in the glass ceiling. “It is key to have the support of other women who have reached leadership positions,” she says.

Still in the shadows

Although the women’s agenda is booming, there are two issues that are still difficult to debate: economic participation and care by women. “A cultural change is taking place that has implications for how roles are assigned to people based on their gender and how they participate in household chores. It is questioned today that they are the main caregivers and breeders, and when they go out to work they become overloaded Argentines dedicate 6.4 hours each day to domestic chores, and this has an impact on their careers, types of work and access to hierarchical positions, “highlights Gala Díaz Langou, director of Social Protection at Cippec.

“In the last year there were expressions, but they were not reflected. For example, there was talk of extending paternity leave, but it was not done. In Randstad we have a 21-day leave for parents, but as we noticed that they did not take it now it is obligatory, so that they stay. If it were the mother who returned, she would not be allowed, on the other hand, when the men did, she did not question it, “says Andrea Ávila, CEO of Randstad for Argentina and Uruguay.

This can be exemplified in industries such as coffee. “In production, the tasks in which women have an important presence are the heaviest and least remunerative, such as harvesting the fruits. In addition, they often have to take their young children or babies with them to the coffee plantations because they have no one to take care of them and the children are left in the shade while they work with the baskets full of fruits “, describes Analía Álvarez, owner and director of the Center for Coffee Studies.

AI gets into the gap

Although this technology does not distinguish between men and women, it seems that its managers do. The annual Global Gender Gap Report, produced by the World Economic Forum in conjunction with LinkedIn, notes that only 22% are women, compared to 78% who are men.

For its part, Argentina, along with Brazil and Mexico, is among the countries with the largest gender gap in AI since only 17% of the AI ​​talent pool is female.

They, great leaders

According to the research Women’s Leadership in Argentina, carried out by the 21st Century University, women have positive conditions to be team leaders:

– 52% of workers value their leader positively when they are female, while the figure drops to 43.3% when their leader is male.

– Almost 40% of women leaders give greater recognition (praise, approval or evaluation) for the results of the work and the effort made.

– 56% of workers report feeling more valued and proud of belonging to an organization or company when its leader is female, while this figure drops to 44.8% when it comes to male leaders.



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