Colombia making progress in fight against gender inequality

Global Business

Fighting against gender inequality in the workplace is an ongoing struggle across the globe, but some countries have made advancements. In this edition of Women at Work, we look at how Latin America is making progress, starting with Colombia.

CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reports.

Colombia has the second highest number of women in managerial positions, according to a 2015 world ranking.

The report by the International Labor Office says females in this South American nation hold just over 53 percent of managerial positions. Jamaica is number one with almost 60 percent.

In the Colombian headquarter of the Pfizer biopharmaceutical company, where the likelihood of having a female boss is higher than the average, 54 percent of the firm’s executive board is comprised of women and two of every three employees are female.

Corporate Affairs Head Margarita Garcia credits such record to their mentorship program.

Garcia says women sometimes hurt their own advancement chances in a company because they don’t believe they are capable. She says mentorship programs can help overcome this obstacle.

But according to one expert, some Colombian women have more challenges than men. Those who choose to be mothers have a harder time in the workforce, because employment laws don’t always protect them. Long hours, for example, make it difficult for a woman to work without help.

However, Garcia also says employers benefit when businesses work with female employees to figure out the best practice for a working parent, such as flexible hours and breastfeeding rooms .

According to the International Labor report, women do not want to be the subject of special quotas or treatment to advance in the workplace.

Instead, flexible solutions to manage work and family commitments are the biggest requests from women and men, who are increasingly spending more time with their families.

Donna Hrinak discusses gender equality and her career journey

Donna Hrinak is the current president of Boeing Latin America. She transitioned to the private sector after a prestigious career in U.S. government. CCTV America’s Joel Richards spoke with her to get a personal perspective of gender equality and women at work.