Across the globe, prejudice continues to be highlighted as the main barrier to women's access to positions of president, vice president, councillor and other leadership positions in major international companies.
By Silvia Fazio *
On the other hand, more and more research studies worldwide are highlighting feminine differences and qualities as an immeasurable value to be added to positions of leadership, as much in the business environment as in the political realm. Several studies highlight certain fundamental characteristics for leadership positions as naturally feminine skills. These include emotional intelligence, empathy, resilience, commitment and ability to assess risk.
In this context, statistics show that the launch of an international organisation dedicated exclusively to causes involving women, could not be more timely. The proportion of women in leadership positions has increased considerably between 2012 and 2013, from 9% to 14 % worldwide. Interestingly, the proportion grew further in emerging countries like Brazil, which saw an increase from 3% to 14 % . China was the country with the biggest jump, from 25% to 51 % in just one year .
To broaden this discussion, W.I.L.L. (Women in Leadership in Latin America) arrives in Brazil. More than a forum for discussions between female leaders, W.I.L.L. arises with the ambitious goal of creating an organisation dedicated to causes involving women in Latin America. It is a pioneering initiative, given that so far the region, despite having grown substantially in economic and social terms in recent decades, still has few initiatives on the part of civil society, geared specifically towards women.
W.I.L.L.’s mission is to put the spotlight back on Latin America with the aim of encouraging the socioeconomic development of women in all levels of society and to act as a torch-bearer, promoting an environment of inclusion of women in the labour market and alerting Latin American companies to the importance of recognising female merit, where and when it is due.
The launch of W.I.L.L. in Brazil comes with the aim of supporting and promoting the career development of women, as well as encouraging companies based in Latin America to implement programmes related to both women and business, promoting the exchange of best practices between national and international organisations.