Empowering Women is Good Business in Mexico…and Around the World
[Editor's Note: This post is a follow up to our recent event in Mexico City, Promoting Women's Economic Empowerment in Mexico: Exploring Private Sector Opportunities for Engagement and Impact.]
Ensuring that women can successfully advance their careers in business or become entrepreneurs just makes good sense. Numerous studies show that efforts designed to establish greater parity and equality in the work force can significantly boost both economic growth and profitability.
Recently, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation spearheaded an event in Mexico City - along with partners like WEConnect and the American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico – that brought key stakeholders to the table to discuss workforce development strategies and how to increase the pipeline of up-and-coming female entrepreneurs. Companies like Walmart, EY, Accenture, Reserveage, American Express, Cargill, Uber and others talked about what they do both to ensure inclusion within their organizations and to encourage it amongst their suppliers as well.
Female entrepreneurs often face uphill battles when it comes to finding financing, partners and clients, issues that need to be effectively addressed in order to level the playing field. WEConnect certifies women-owned businesses and plays a critical role in helping them develop commercial relationships with multinational companies, allowing their own entreprises to grow and prosper.
Businesses that take the issue of inclusion seriously understand that retaining and developing their female talent is not a woman’s issue, but a factor that is critical to their bottom line. Companies with diverse workforces are more innovative and understand their customers better. After all, customers are as varied as the general population and in order to understand their needs, a company must have a team that represents that same diversity of thought and taste. In addition, companies with women on their boards and in top management demonstrate higher rates of return on equity.
The event in Mexico was filled with the energy of executives and entrepreneurs interested in ensuring that more female colleagues are able to achieve their professional goals. At the same time, there was an acknowledgement that important challenges remain. It is important to understand that women’s economic empowerment is not just a matter of corporate social responsibility, but one of economic development, competitiveness and profitability. More needs to be done to incorporate men into the conversation, bring Mexican multinationals to the table and ensure that inclusion forms part of the core business strategy of every company. Change will take time, but the business case for an increasing role for women in the private sector has been clearly established.