Girls at the Brink of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

We live in an interconnected world where the way we work and communicate with each other is strongly shaped by technology. The speed at which communication and information technologies are progressing makes it hard to envision what the future will look like for new generations. What will the world of work look like 15 years from now?

We might not have the answer to that question, but we are certain that the speed of current technological innovation has no historical precedent in terms of complexity, speed and scope. This revolution is rapidly transforming every industry around the globe — in terms of production, management and governance.

Thus, our role as leaders is to pave the way for new generations so they are able to acquire the knowledge, skills and capacity to face the challenges that lie ahead, and succeed. The good news is that the mobile devices and the enormous processing we now have access to have also opened new paths to access knowledge — learning is also becoming unlimited. How does this help us build a fairer, more equal world?

It is essential for girls and young women to be fully aware that most professions to be created in the following 15 to 20 years will have a strong technology component. This might be a great opportunity for them to take new career paths. It is vital to continue inspiring girls to pursue careers in traditionally male dominated areas and to eradicate false assumptions regarding girls not being capable of pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) — related professions.

New generations have enormous opportunities as well as challenges ahead: demand will most likely increase for highly skilled labor, especially for the types of jobs that machines cannot take over. However, girls face an additional trial: they need to bridge the gender divide. Many jobs which are currently dominated by women run the risk of remaining undervalued or of disappearing. This scenario could sharpen inequality, posing new difficulties for women to succeed professionally in the future.

For all the above reasons, it is essential to encourage youth, particularly girls and women, to use technology and to develop financial and entrepreneurial skills to create economic opportunities. As a society we must continue fostering a culture of scientific and technological education for girls.

On the other hand, this technological revolution will help advance gender equality in several ways. Increased opportunities for remote work will provide both parents with time flexibility to share family responsibilities more equally, while advancing their careers. Companies will need to adapt to remote work modalities, but these changes will allow more women to balance their roles as professionals and mothers without having to put their careers on hold while raising children.

Opening opportunities for girls and women to develop their full potential can lead to greater overall economic growth and sustainable development. Join me in this effort to inspire new role models where collective intelligence becomes the catalyst for global prosperity and gender equality.

Angélica Fuentes, Founder Equal Invest

Angélica Fuentes is a Latin American businesswoman and impact investor, who has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of Mexico’s most influential women.

Ms. Fuentes was appointed CEO of Grupo Imperial in 1992 and quickly positioned the company as a top player in Northern Mexico’s energy sector. Under her leadership, Grupo Imperial’s annual growth rate increased from 5% in 1992 to 9.5% in 2005. Ms. Fuentes served as President of the Business Energy Network of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Agreement (APEC) from 2002 to 2004, and as President of the Mexican Natural Gas Association from 1996 to 2000. From 2007 to 2015, she served as CEO of Grupo Omnilife-Angelissima-Chivas. Under her leadership, the company became one of the top 100 corporations in Mexico.

Throughout her career, Ms. Fuentes has dedicated significant time and resources to NGOs, international organizations and professional groups that support the cause of women. She participated in the World Economic Forum’s Gender Parity Programme, and led the Mexican Gender Parity Taskforce. She currently serves on Secretary Clinton’s International Council on Women’s Business Leadership; is member of the Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council of UN Women; is a Global Advocate for the Girl Up Campaign, a United Nations Foundation program; co-chairs the PVBLIC LATAM regional platform; is member of the Latin American Program Advisory Board of the Woodrow Wilson International Center; and is member of the Global Dignity’s International Council of Advisors.

Her work in this field has been recognized by numerous honors and awards. In 2015, UN Women gave her the Women’s Empowerment Principles CEO Leadership Award; she was the first female CEO to receive this award for championing gender equality in the private sector. In 2016, PVBLIC Foundation, Ismael Cala Foundation, and the United Nations gave her the award for Latin Woman Empowerment. In 2017, she received the Corporate Social Responsibility Award from The Maestro Cares Foundation.

Gender equality, women empowerment and the eradication of poverty have always been a priority in all her endeavors. In 2014, she established the Angelica Fuentes Foundation. In 2016, she founded A Complete and The Imperative Fund. In 2017, she founded Equal Invest, The Beauty Station and A Complete Journey.

#madre, #empresaria y #defensora de los #derechos de la #mujer. Be more, to do more: for #life, #business, and #equality.