Women’s Participation in Boards of Directors Analyzed

Women’s participation in Boards of Directors was analyzed within the framework of the Work-Life Balance Forum held at EGADE Business School, and organized by the Mexican Institute of Finance Executives (IMEF).

This event, which included discussion panels, conferences and a book presentation to promote change in organizational structures and support equal opportunities for men and women, took place on September 18th at the school’s Monterrey site.

In the panel “The role of women in Boards of Directors”, Karen Mauch, co-president of the Women Corporate Directors Association (WCD), indicated that Mexico is one of the countries with the greatest gap in women’s participation in Boards of Directors. 

"In Mexico, there are no (gender) quotas and in the companies listed in the Mexican Stock Exchange, women’s participation in Boards of Directors reaches 6% - this indicator is one of the worst in the world.

“If women continue along the same path we are on today, it will take us 80 years to achieve parity. So, obviously something needs to change,” Mauch declared.

Irene Espinosa, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Mexico, commented that mandatory gender quotas are part of the solution to this issue, but, in addition, both public and private measures are needed to drive women’s participation.

“Unlike men, we rarely have a life plan for our professional lives. In some way, women get swept up in the opportunities that arise,” considered Espinosa.

Magdalena Carral, co-president of the Women Corporate Directors Association (WCD), added that if companies implemented the strategy of being transparent about who holds the top positions in businesses, the general public would be able to determine whether or not gender equality exists.  

Adriana Berrocal, partner at Deloitte, explained that in companies there is a degree of resistance to integrate more women in senior positions and that one way of making progress in this area would be to motivate companies. 

Another panel was “Same opportunities in an equal world”, with Judith Vila, Human Resources director at IBM México; Gabriela Siller, Economic Analysis director at Banco Base; María Corina Carmona, Brand and Media Strategy director at Sigma Alimentos; and Raquel Castaño, associate faculty dean of the School of Business of Tecnológico de Monterrey.

Furthermore, the most relevant findings of the book “Valoración del trabajo y equidad de género en México”, a publication coordinated by Joana Chapa, professor at UANL, and Edgardo Ayala Gaytán, professor at Tecnológico de Monterrey. 

The authors explained that the salary for hours worked is 9% higher for men than for women, and this difference is higher in the central-western region (11%) and lower in the south-southwest region (8%). 

They indicated that women devote twice as many unpaid hours to housework than men, and, giving value to these hours worked, represent 25% of the national GDP. 

“Women’s contribution to the economy of the country and its regions moves closer to that of men, when the economic value of freelancers, employers, unpaid workers and unpaid housework are taken into consideration. Image director of the Mexican Football Federation, talked about the importance of the way in which women manage their own brand. 

"A true team is made up of a diversity of talents. It’s not gender, or the number of hours worked, and far less seniority … The result is the only aspect that defines a professional,", she assured. 

Salvador Luna González, vice-president of Human Resources at Mary Kay México, offered a talk in which he underscored the importance of transforming companies’ recruitment processes to achieve inclusion and the necessary changes in organizational structures to support equality.

To close the forum, Dr. Carlos Zertuche, professor and physician at Hospital San José, and Teresa Catalina Fuentes, expert in communication, politics  and family issues, offered the conference “Challenges of the family in the 21st century”.