What was the most significant business challenge you had until reaching your current position?
Argentina is a macho society like many South American countries. In multiple spaces, there is gender violence, in different forms (physical and emotional), and many challenges to the insertion of women. The media is one of the main problems: the image of women living a luxurious life because they married a wealthy man is promoted and idolized; it has a heavier weight than enterprising, hardworking, professionalism and intelligence.
My punctual challenge has always been to justify my suitability for my job. My gender, my age and having a “strong aesthetic”… My experience have been insignificant compared to what I colleagues have shared with me; but more than once people have questioned me “who” (man) has supported in my career, or “what” (relationship with man) is the reason I obtained a position. So justifying, evidencing and keeping a firm position in this regard, has always been a challenge. The fact that I have to be wary of the height of my heels or the size is an evidence.
We are organizing the association of women in renewable energy in Argentina, supported by professionals from our industry and I have heard all kinds of circumstances, where the challenges are really challenging. I have had a particularly fraternal environment in my work spaces.
If you had to give advice to future women leaders in the Energy sector, what would it be?
My advice to future women is not to be influenced by environments. Be projected into the future, and each act, each action, each initiative, pursue an objective where you want to be in five, ten or fifteen years, without forgetting to co-exist with personal life and motherhood.
Permanent training is one of the main competitive advantages, we must be in the vanguard, be curious, but above all things be “self-sufficient”. What is gained with sacrifice is doubly meritorious and the independence of women is a personal “plus” for all fields of life.
What business policies / practical changes would you implement in your country to improve inclusion (not only gender, but religious, racial, sexual, etc)
The world is diverse, companies and services are completely globalized, knowledge is in many cases universal (because access to information is so) so that the more heterogeneous the workplace, the more fruitful will be the “product or service” “Offered.
Generational inclusion is something that influences me too much, because of my age. And I think that institutions should already provide work alternatives for dynamic people, with different hours than usual, with work practices different from the 9-hour standards. I think it will be management’s challenge over the next few years to include labor competitiveness with millennials. It is clear that the figure of the self-taught and the independent professional are the “next profiles” that should be adapted to the “old structures” (or vice versa); but they must begin to balance themselves.
Automation is replacing many jobs and this generational progress must be accompanied by an educational level very different from the traditional one.
Regarding sexual or racial inclusion, I am sure that most companies, when applying for a profile, do not have preferences, if the professional’s model and suitability are the intended ones. Argentina, and especially Buenos Aires, has great cultural diversity, so I do not see any difficulty in integration. What is certain is that Argentines are very jealous of their assets and natural heritage. There is a lot of nationals, who decide to maintain the local directory with native professionals. And I do not think it’s a discriminatory matter, but because Argentina’s reasoning is very different from the international one. Issues such as corruption, “political arrangements”, “tax evasion”, “financial exchange business”, are issues that unfortunately in many companies is internalized and even institutionalized. And I understand that it is a question of penal / reward labor policies that eradicate these “bad habits”.
For women, I do not think we should demand a “minimum quota” of participation, because it is not imposing, but integrating. There is a lot that we have to do as women … but I think we should institutionalize simple activities such as the following: freezing of ova as an alternative to late motherhood, maternity leave shared with men, repatriation policies for married women with work leave to the husband (in many cases, the man does not assume the role of “householder”), and many other alternatives that depend on the construction of an equal day to day.