In economic and business activity, the glass ceiling that slows the advancement of women is still being felt. Despite the progress made in female empowerment in the last 50 years, in Argentina there are still barriers to break.
In the country, less than 7% of large companies are led by a woman. And half of the companies listed on the Buenos Aires stock market do not have not a single lady in his directory. In this framework, last week the meeting “Women who cross borders” organized by Clarion within the cycle “The world to come”.
In this fifth meeting the protagonists were Mónica Flores Barragán (CEO of Manpower Group Latin America), Rosana Negrini (President of Agrometal), Verónica Marcelo (General Manager of Natura), Sofía Soulez (CEO of Soaljo) and Irini Wentinck (Director of WTK Conductores Eléctricos, UIA and President of the Gender and Diversity Commission of the UIA). The event was hosted by Daniel Fernández Canedo and Silvia Fesquet, journalists from Clarion.
According to a World Bank survey, in our country just 9.5% of small businesses are run by a woman. The larger the company, the worse the data. The study shows that this percentage drops to 6.9% when it comes to a large company.
Although the participation of women in the labor market is high, they have less chances of accessing hierarchical positions. Proof of this is that among scientific researchers in the country, 61% of the attendees are women, but only 25% of senior researchers are.
The situation is replicated in the private sector. According to a CIPPEC survey, in the National Public Administration only 39% of employees are women, and female representation is barely 17% in the positions of board of directors of public companies.
Video: Women Crossing Borders
The debate organized by Clarín summoned five referents from the private sector who spoke about the challenges they face.
“We are a bridge generation, we have not advanced too much,” said Verónica Marcelo, the speaker who kicked off the talk.
Verónica has been working for 17 years at Natura where she held different positions: sales supervisor, manager and director in various areas, both in the country and for the regional operation. And she said that in her personal history a very strong moment was when after being a mother they asked her ‘Why did you have children if you wanted to keep working?’“.
“One has to incentivize extended maternity leave, reduce the salary gap, and give visibility to the achievements of women so that women do not have to demonstrate why they are there, “said the executive.
Mónica Flores Barragán is Mexican and has been working at Manpower for 20 years, in a career that, like many women, built in two stages.
The first phase lasted seven years, until he married and his first daughter was born. There he made an impasse to turn to parenting. Four years later he returned to the company and began this second phase that has already spans 20 years and that led her to be Manpower’s general manager for all of Latin America.
“At Manpower we live the philosophy of seeing talent instead of looking at gender. My personal position is to open spaces for women who come back and seek that men join this cause. It’s incredible that in the 21st century we are still talking about gender, when we need to be talking about more sophisticated issues. “
Negrini has been president of Agrometal, his family’s agricultural machinery company, for 21 years. She is a public accountant and has a degree in administration. “I prepared myself to fill this position. I never felt any discrimination nor did I feel uncomfortable dealing with the clients, who are mostly men. “
The Cordovan businesswoman also fights in the entities. He is part of the leadership of the Mediterranean Foundation, the Association of Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers and Agrocomponents of Córdoba and the Argentine Chamber of Agricultural Machinery Manufacturers.
In Agrometal they work 440 people. There are 25 women in the administration area and since last year they began to incorporate women into the plant. “We already have 25, some already operate laser cutting machines and do tasks that historically only men did. They and the men who were used to being the only ones in the plant have adapted very well.”
Irini Wentinck chairs the gender and diversity commission of the Argentine Industrial Union (UIA). “It’s very important move forward with the deconstruction of stereotypes“, she indicated. She was in favor of the quota policy to give more space to women, but emphasizes that” the quota by itself does not generate changes, the fundamental thing is to work on the leaders of the organizations. “
In turn, Soulez said that he has been in charge of the family business since 2018. “I think I contribute a lot from a generational perspective. In my generation we have much more naturalized the issue of equality and I don’t think being a man or a woman makes any difference. In the company, more than 50% of us are women. “
The cycle has the main support of Banco Macro, OSDE, DESA and the Government of the City of Buenos Aires. And also with the accompaniment of Telecom and Afarte, as well as Natura and Soaljo.