“I am sure that women who have managed breaking the glass ceilings that contained them have a lot to give to other women, a lot to teach”, explained Yaneth Giha, AFIDRO Director, in a column published by the digital edition of Dinero magazine. Through her years of experience, Giha has realized that female leadership is necessary in the healthcare sector, and it is a crucial steppingstone for women to achieve a “real and powerful” impact. Bearing this in mind, Giha along with other women in high management and media positions within the healthcare sector in Colombia, launched entrepreneurship Mpodera.
Mpodera is a project intended to enhance personal and professional growth of gender through mentoring and a sense of collaboration. The industry (Sanofi Pasteur, Pfizer, MSD, Biomarin, Astellas, Abbvie), the Association of Pharmaceutical Research and Development Laboratories (Afidro), the National Institute of Cancerology (Instituto Nacional de Cancerología, INC), the ADRES, the Institute for Healthcare Technological Assessment (Instituto de Evaluación Tecnológica en Salud, IETS), the High Cost Account (Cuenta de Alto Costo), Scientific Societies, Cruz Verde, are part of this movement.
To fully understand the scope reached by female empowerment worldwide, the
Inter-American Development Bank conducted a study between 2000 and 2010 in Latin America. Such study concluded that the income earned by women in the employment sector contributed to a 30 percent reduction of poverty. The study also concluded that women invested a greater portion of their salaries in food, health and education for their families; thus, contributing to an upward social mobility.
Another specific number to demonstrate female employment situation was provided by the International Labor Organization (ILO) in 2017. In their most recent study regarding women in business management positions in Latin America, findings show that only 4.2 percent of women hold a CEO positions. In contrast, female stake in labor force is 49.7 percent. That is to say, almost half of the labor force in the region is composed by women, but this number is not evident in senior business positions.
More specifically in Colombia, place where Mpodera initiative was born, the consulting firm Mercer revealed the results of the 2019 Total Remuneration Survey (Encuesta de Remuneración Total). The results concluded that only seven percent of senior business positions in the country are held by women. Moreover, the salary gap between men and women in equal hierarchy positions is 24 percent less for women. In second-level positions such as vice-presidents, women occupy 41 percent of these positions.
Regarding the healthcare sector, in 2019 the World Health Organization (WHO) analyzed gender equality in healthcare sector personnel in 104 countries. Findings conclude that women occupy 67 percent of jobs in the healthcare sector; however, they earn an average of 28 percent less than men.
Finally, two conditions must be added to the above distressing figures. First, it is important to recognize that domestic duties are a non-paid job, which is performed by women in greater proportion. Second, to a greater extent woman are the primary caregivers for children and family members. As a result, there is a wider pay gap between men and women increasing over the years.
The importance of women in senior management positions
According to McKinsey & Company, an international consultant firm in the business management area, from 345 companies in Latin America, those who had women in their boards of directors had better results than such companies who had an all-male board of directors. Capital return was 44 percent higher and profit margin was 47 percent higher too.
In 2019, Credit Suisse Group, a financial services company, studied the situation regarding female leadership in comparison with male leadership in over 4,000 companies in 56 countries. One of their findings concluded that as more women participate in the executive boards there is greater gender equality within the company. In a company with 50 percent of women in management positions, 30 percent of workers were female. In addition, the study analyzed that companies which had 30 percent of management positions held by women, had a performance 540 points higher (points are counted on the basis of companies’ answers). Only in 2013, companies with only men in management positions had better performance than gender diverse companies.
Hence, women in the Colombian healthcare sector decided to join forces and promote a business change in favor of gender equality. Through Mpodera leaders such as Yaneth Giha from Afidro, Claudia Varela from Sanofi Pasteur, Adriana Robayo from IETS or Claudia Sertling from Cruz Verde are endeavoring to change Colombia’s reality and become an example for Latin America. Evidence that women in senior management positions bring benefits for the company and the country is on the table, and now it is under discussion.
Brecha de género en cargos directivos sigue siendo amplia, afirma estudio
El poder del nuevo MPODERA
Empoderamiento económico de las mujeres: Bueno para las mujeres, bueno para los negocios, bueno para el desarrollo
Gender diversity is good for business
Gender equity in the health workforce: Analysis of 104 countries
How advancing women’s equality can add $12 trillion to global growth
La mujer en la gestión empresarial: Cobrando impulso en América Latina y el Caribe
WOMEN ON BOARDS
You’ve heard that women make 80 cents to men’s dollar. It’s much worse than that.