A Call for Equality from the Executive Sphere
Claudia Jañez, President of DuPont in Mexico and Latin America and Chair of the Executive Council of Global Companies (CEEG), held a dialog organized by the NGO Alianza 2030 on March 6th at DuPont’s HQ with young students and professionals about her professional career as a high-ranking executive of one of the world's leading chemical firms. As head of CEEG, Jañez’s role is to foster a better business environment for 52 multinationals with presence in Mexico, including Nestlé, Coca Cola and Toyota, that invoice more than US$15 billion worldwide annually, generate 1.5 million of jobs and represent 10 percent of the country’s GDP and 11 percent of its exports.
During her dialogue, Claudia Jañez highlighted that she was one of the few high-level executive women in Mexico. “Currently, I am the first woman to be appointed Chair of CEEG and the only female president representing a large business union in Mexico,” said Jañez, pointing out that in multinationals and Mexican companies there is a clear gap in gender equality. "Sadly, only foreign firms have women as presidents. There are no major Mexican companies with a woman as CEO,” she said.
Young people presented their concerns and questions to the executive at the event. One of them asked what were some of the steps that Dupont is taking in terms of gender equality at the workplace. “Dupont’s commitment to gender equality relies on hiring and developing our employees based on their talent and not on their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any other circumstance. We see a person's talent and ability as the base to build an exemplar professional and employee for the company,” she replied.
Among other questions raised by the audience was how people with social and humanities studies could make a place for themselves in a world that needs more and more professionals oriented to science and technology. According to Jañez, social sciences and humanities will continue to be necessary in the world as there are activities that machines will never be able to replace. “I am a lawyer who manages one of the largest chemical firms in the market. Not being an engineer gives me a unique perspective that distinguishes my strategy from others in the market. In terms of machines, there are activities like designing and negotiating a free trade agreement that no machine can do and that are crucial for companies like DuPont to breaking into other markets.”
Addressing gender issues, Claudia Jañez concluded her participation by telling women not to be afraid to speak up and take risks to develop as an individual and as a professional. “Culturally, women have been taught to rationalize everything they want to say. But the reality is that we must speak and stop thinking what people will say about us. Women have a lot to say and it is time to be heard," she concluded.