The roles and aspirations of women in power were highlighted during the consumer fair CONSUMIAMI 2014; topics focused on women in power in the US and Latain America media, business and education sectors.
Women and their influence in the workplace has been rising for decades and they now hold positions of power in most areas of professional life; In the USA women are increasingly powerful and some 50% of them now occupy managerial positions.
Latin America is no exception, with women even holding the reins for political power in Chile, Brazil and Costa Rica. The region, moreover, has been electing female presidents long before other regions did –nine since 1974
Recent studies show the growing incidence of women heading businesses in Latin America.
According to the World Bank, over 70 million women have joined the labour force in Latin America over the past 20 years, playing pivotal roles in both micro and small enterprises – indeed women are huge participants in both the formal and informal economies across the region, to key positions in the corporate world.
This is not limited to the business world. Latin American women have been empowered for decades, playing critical roles in reducing poverty and influencing decision-making at every level.
The ‘feminization’ of business has also taken place in the past few years in the region, with a flurry of female CEOs and among the top management of both local and multinational corporations in South and Central American countries.
Gains in women’s involvement in society, politics, and business can be attributed to better access to education, especially at a tertiary and graduate level.
But there are still many challenges to overcome through the region in order to narrow the gender gap in all things business.
At CONSUMIAMI 2014, organised by Ausbanc and MD USA, Marianela Méndez Paolini, director of the Miami Journal, was commissioned to address the issue of women in strategic positions in the media. This investigative journalist with experience in Venezuela and the United States as well as in teaching drafting issues, understand their profession as a way of life, citing the situation in the country right now.
Becerra said that “having fewer students in higher grades, fewer women reaching senior management.
She noted: “Women are fighters, ever since we become mothers,” and added that our spirit to succeed and work hard is linked to this. She said with passion, confidence and professional grounding women can achieve much in the world of work.
She highlighted 10 influential women that her newspaper has profiled, and noted that over the last few years, 500 women have been profiled.
One of note, said Mendez, is the Colombian designer Silvia Tcherassi, the adviser to the mayor of the city of Miami Miki Canton and Nina Torres director of one of the most important art galleries in Florida, among other examples.
Meanwhile, Irma Becerra, professor of Management Information Systems, School of Business and Management at Florida International University, brought her unique vision of the importance of education for Latino women.
She cited interesting data showing that while males are dominant at senior corporate posts, in education the breach is greater for Latin American women with only 17% of Latina starting their degree between the ages of 25 and 29 finishing a college degree, this compared to 43% of American Caucasian women.
She said in the areas of science, the statistics are even less favourable to Latin American women and the gap is greater.
The panel was moderated by Jackeline Carrillo, directora de Mercado de Dinero Colombia.