Women in Leadership Positions Are Key to Companies’ Success
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Women in Leadership Positions Are Key to Companies’ Success

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Antonio Gozain By Antonio Gozain | Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst - Wed, 11/10/2021 - 16:42

You can watch Adriana Macouzet's presentation here. In addtion, you can find Lizette Gracida's presentation here and Alexandra Loboda's presentation here

While there is still a long path to cover, gender diversity and inclusion in general are advancing in the Mexican automotive sector and are crucial for companies’ success in all levels of the supply chain, agreed female industry leaders at the International Mexican Automotive Industry Congress (CIIAM), an event organized by INA, in collaboration with Mexico Business.

“Diversity is key for the success of companies and I believe that the automotive industry is still in debt. Although there is a lot to work on, specifically regarding gender, diversity is not only about this. We must seek to encompass all solutions. Diversity helps companies to become stronger and have more innovative, fresh perspectives,” said Adriana Macouzet, Vice President PPG LA and PMC LA General Manager.

The growing importance of environment, social and governance (ESG) criteria is strongly intertwined with the global automotive industry’s transition toward greener, more sustainable mobility. Inclusion and diversity within auto companies has not been common historically. However, automakers and suppliers are already taking action to address the gender parity issue in senior management positions.

Besides gender quotas, companies must foster robust D&I programs to help women and employees in general balance their personal and professional lives. “The balance between personal and professional life is complicated and we understand that. To avoid losing that talent, at Toyota we have robust mechanisms and programs for women who are mothers to successfully combine their personal and professional lives, from flexibility in maternity times to supports in nurseries. This is not only for women; it also includes men," said Lizette Gracida, Director of Government Affairs, Toyota Motor México.

While 82 percent of men of working age participate in the labor market, less than half of Mexican women in this bracket are part of the labor force, according to OECD. Countries from Latin America, Africa and South-East Asia often outperform the global average of women occupying 31 percent of senior leadership positions, according to Grant Thornton. As reported by MBN, Mexico itself performed well in this regard during 2020, by reaching 37 percent.

It is important to balance gender at all levels of companies. However, there is a long way to go, said Alexandra Loboda, Managing Director Mexico & Middle America, Maersk. “In general, the office balance is quite optimal. We also have a good representation of women in warehouses, handling merchandise, cranes and trailers, but in top management everything is very different. By 2025, we want to have twice or more participation of women in managerial and vice-presidential levels. “We want to go from a 15 percent participation to 40 percent in director-level positions. The current participation in VP levels is 18 percent and we want to raise it to 37 percent by 2025.”

Although the private sector must commit to promoting gender equity, women themselves need to pave their way to managerial positions. “I exhort women to think long-term and get to know themselves to detect their strengths and areas of opportunity to develop. Always seek feedback from managers, colleagues and subordinates. Create and work on your network. Create the network you need to be successful in the role you play within the company but also thinking about your future,” said Alexandra Loboda, Managing Director Mexico & Middle America at Maersk.

Every company plays an important role to create a more inclusive world, with people having to play an active role to achieve it, said Macouzet. “We do not become leaders only by ourselves; we need to create solid teams and develop them.” While the private sector is key to grow women’s participation in the labor force, the public sector is also influent and relevant to the entire industry. “Representation of women is gradually growing in the private sector and we have more and more examples of CEOs driving automotive companies. We have important representation also in the public sector, with (Minister of Economy) Tatiana Clouthier and (Deputy Minister of International Trade) Luz María de la Mora," said Gracida.

The automotive sector has Mexican women leading big OEMs, such as Mayra González at Nissan, Claudia Márquez at Hyundai, Maru Escobedo at BMW, Magdalena López at Renault, Marcela Barreiro at Daimler, Rosangela Guerra at Lincoln Ford and Luz Elena Jurado at Volvo Trucks & Mack Truck. While measures such as robust D&I programs and agenda quotas are currently needed to narrow the gender gap, in the near future this must progress and gender must not matter, said Loboda. “All of us must be selected for our talent, skills and abilities in all positions of a company, not for being a man or a woman.”

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