January 26., 2018

The number of women in the labor market has increased in the past few years. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, about 48% of women in the active economical population sector are currently working. Nevertheless, a high percentage of them have underpaid jobs — some even receive no remuneration at all. It is a fact that women do not have enough negotiation power, do not have a voice during important decision-making meetings, receive lower wages than men for equal type of work, and suffer countless other situations of gender discrimination in the workplace.

There are several persistent factors that deepen the gender gap in the work sector:

1. The first, is the existence of cultural prejudice that casts both women and men into rigid gender roles.

2. There is also a need of more gender-lens corporate policies to enhance the professional development of women and help balance women’s work and personal life.

3. Additionally, women very often lack mentorship within companies, and they tend to remain excluded from informal networks that are formed within the workplace.

4. Finally, but not least important, are the limiting beliefs that women impose upon themselves. Many talented women reject promotions or high responsibility positions because of fear, guilt or because they are averse to risk. This has a lot to do with cultural stigmas and the sort of education that we have been exposed to as girls.

These factors hinder women’s empowerment and leadership. It is therefore crucial that men actively commit to gender equality and pledge to promote inclusive policies within organizations.

Organizations cannot benefit from diversity without gender equality. So, the question is, how do we make workplaces more inclusive?

The first step is to promote open communication and use a gender-lens screen in order to evaluate the state of an organization and the perception of its members in terms of gender equality.

The next step is to educate people on the benefits of diversity and of female participation, so that members may discuss a strategy to combat gender inequality. It is vital that these initiatives are quantifiable, so that progress may be monitored and areas of opportunity, easily identified. Commitment to equality, constant reports, as well as transparent recruitment and promotion processes are key to successful changes within company’s policies.

The efforts towards equality should not just rely on the pro-equality initiatives that women undertake for other women. Society should work together for the common good. Men have the potential to diminish the gender gap in the work sector and to break the iron roof that stops women from developing themselves professionally. Cooperation between men and women will allow us to walk towards a fairer society where everyone has the same opportunities, regardless of gender.

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.