Ana López Mestre
Executive Vice President and Director General
American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico
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Expert Contributor

Female Leadership: Talent Is the Name of the Game

By Ana López Mestre | Tue, 05/10/2022 - 16:00

Women are power, creativity and potential.

Since we are all different, have different backgrounds and dreams, it would be inaccurate to write about what women need to thrive in the workplace, but we could agree about the importance of creating opportunities and a true culture of diversity and inclusion for women and everyone to achieve their personal and professional goals.

It is a matter of justice, but is it also a matter of business.

Today, 74 percent of companies in Mexico have trouble finding adequate talent (ManpowerGroup). Talent has no gender. Our diverse society needs diverse talent; and our companies benefit from female leadership. According to McKinsey, companies with a higher representation of women at management levels have a 55 percent higher profit margin.

However, data confirms there is still a long road ahead: according to the OECD, in Mexico, less than 50 percent of women have a job — compared to 82 percent of men — and almost 60 percent of employed women have informal jobs, with low or no social security. ILO data indicates that in almost half of companies globally, women occupy less than 30 percent of positions at the basic management level.

The pandemic has increased women’s vulnerability, driving up the inequality gap, making increasingly evident the disparity in the distribution of household chores and the care of children; and a noted increase in domestic violence. Globally, the time dedicated to unpaid domestic and care work by women is 2.6 times greater than the time dedicated by men. In Mexico, women dedicate an average of 50.2 hours per week versus 19.4 hours per week dedicated by men (UN Women).

It's clear: the gap in decision-making, income and opportunities impacts us all negatively. At the same time, we are all co-responsible to make a difference within our own scope of influence, starting from education at an early age.

Organizations should reflect the reality of a diverse society, so this effort should be seen as part of their business model, including their operations within and outside the company.

To promote a true culture of diversity and inclusion, companies need to understand the social context, ideological barriers, lack of opportunities and the biases that limit women’s development. This also implies reviewing institutional policies and processes, from recruitment to salaries and career plans.

AmCham’s Executive Women Development Program (EWDP) supports the growth and promotion of women's leadership through workshops, mentoring and evaluations of leadership potential. Last year, we had the historic participation of over 70 mentees of our companies and, for the first time, we gave 12 scholarships for women leaders of nonprofit associations and MSMEs.

As a personal choice and responsibility, women must be proactive in their professional and personal growth, making conscious decisions, tracing their path and seeking support; mentoring is a very powerful tool that allows us to grow from other people’s experience. Creating safe spaces is a shared task in which we all play an important role.

At AmCham, we want more women accessing decision-making positions, preparing themselves, growing and creating spaces of opportunity. Most of all, we want more women to have the possibility to do what they choose with their lives.

Photo by:   Ana López Mestre