Consulting industry leaders join Women’s Economic Empowerment conference

22 May 2018

This year’s annual Women’s Economic Empowerment in Brazil conference will be held in São Paulo on the 23rd of May. The conference is being held by the Council of the Americas, in partnership with Amcham Brasil and will feature industry leaders from the Latin America private sector. The conference will run for a half day of discussions on the economic empowerment of Brazilian women. 

Brazil has recently shown a strong commitment to gender equality and working towards upholding the rights of women. The country’s commitment to protecting women has been enshrined in legislation through the 2015 Femicide law which created stricter penalties for domestic violence, contempt or discrimination against women. The law was signed by Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff, and in her cabinet women held 26% of the seats.

Whilst Rousseff was impeached, and, to the dismay of women’s rights groups, her cabinet was replaced by a masculine majority economically, women in Brazil are more empowered than the world average in terms of percentages. Globally, 21% of managers are female, whereas in Brazil that number is as high as 27%. Nearly 60% of the country’s women participate in the labour force, higher than in both the UK and France.

However, women in Brazil still on average earn only 65% of the salary that men receive and still face challenges in climbing the career ladder. The Women’s Economic Empowerment in Brazil conference understands the challenges that the country faces and asks questions about the best course of action. Some of the issues which will be raised include; How can women get ahead in male-dominated fields and what are the next steps?

Fernando Alves, Ana Carla Abrão and Paula Ramos

Included in the lineup will be a consortium of influencers and industry leaders from the consulting industry as well as Grace Mendonça, the Attorney General of Brazil, and Susan Segal, the President and CEO of the Americas Society/Council of the Americas. In addition, PwC Brazil’s Fernando Alves, Oliver Wyman’s Ana Carla Abrão, and McKinsey & Company’s Paula Ramos will all make an appearance.

Fernando Alves will attend the conference representing PwC and the firm’s diversity journey. He is the president of PwC Brasil, vice chairman of Amcham Brazil, and a member of PwC’s network of Global Strategy Council and Asia, Pacific & Americas Cluster Leadership Team. Alves has also been involved in the #heforshe campaign for a number of years and is an avid supporter of gender equality and LGBT rights around the globe. Alves will open the conference together with Susan Segal. 

Oilver Wyman Partner Ana Carla Abrão will speak on the panel about women in leadership. Abrão will be one of five panelists to ask the question; “What’s Next for Brazil?” in terms of equality in the workforce. Abrão is a former secretary of state for finance in the state of Goiás and is currently president of the Fiscal Management Council of the City of São Paulo. She holds a master's degree in economics from the Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Brazilian School of Economy and Finance and a PhD in economic theory from the School of Economics, Business and Accounting of the University of São Paulo.

McKinsey & Company’s Paula Ramos will be the moderator on the panel ‘Empowering Women in Male-Dominated Fields’ alongside three other guests. Ramos is currently a Partner with McKinsey in New Jersey, and prior to her move to the US, she was a Partner with the Brazilian branch of the firm. Ramos led a Women’s Initiative for McKinsey in Latin America and has been heavily involved in women’s advancement topics in the region over the last decade. 

Other speakers involved in the conference include: Miguel Velandia, Vice President and General Manager for Medtronic Brazil, José Eduardo Carneiro Queiroz, a Managing Partner with Mattos Filho, Fiamma Zarife, Managing Director of Twitter Brazil, Ana Fontes, the founder of Rede Mulher Empreendedora (Network of Entrepreneurial Woman), and Camila Achutti, the CTO and Founder of MasterTech.

The consulting industry show of force for Mexican workplace diversity

20 November 2018

Some of the world’s largest consulting firm’s have joined the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s five year in-the-making Workplace Equality Program, demonstrating the industry’s determination to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Diverse and inclusive workplaces benefit both companies and economies as a whole. They promote engagement, attract a greater talent pool and improve decision making as there is a broader range of knowledge across sectors. Whilst the uptake in equality policies – especially for LGBTI+ people – has been slow in comparison to Europe and North America, Latin American businesses are beginning to capitalize on the many benefits that accompany equality.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation released the results of Equidad MX Best Places to Work LGBT 2018 – with the help of local diversity consulting outfit FVConsulting – outlining a number of companies that represent the top standards of equality. HRC Equidad MX promotes three strategic pillars to improve equality across workplaces. They include; the adoption of nondiscrimination policies, the creation of employee resource groups or diversity and inclusion council, and engagement in public activities to support LGBT inclusion.

“Corporate leaders in Mexico increasingly recognize that when they stand up for LGBT people, including their own employees, customers, and consumers, they promote justice while also serving their bottom line,” said Francisco Robledo and Fernando Velázquez of HRC Equidad MX Implementing Partners.

The consulting industry show of force for Mexican workplace diversity

The consulting industry overall exemplified best practice and joined industry heavyweights such as AT&T, Google and Walmart. At the top of the list, scoring 100% on their assessment is Accenture, EYIBM and The Boston Consulting Group who join 28 other businesses. Together, the group accounts for over half a million workers throughout the country. They were also joined by out-performers McKinsey & Company and Oliver Wyman who were also celebrated for their achievements.

“We are proud to witness the growth of LGBT-inclusive businesses throughout Mexico. This year’s honorees keenly understand that the economy of the future is built with the diverse talent of today, and that LGBT inclusion is key to attracting and retaining the best workforce,” said Deena Fidas, HRC Director of HRC Equidad MX and HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program.

“Mexican multinational companies have enormous economies and employ thousands of people. This gives them the ability to influence change on this issue in a unique way, and we are delighted to recognize them for this commitment.”

Inclusion and diversity

The report states that the reasons for driving change and move into line with the global standards of inclusion and diversity can aid international growth. Anti-discrimination policies can allow businesses to align with key investors and supplier standards, eliminating barriers to trade and mobility of talent.

For example, as over 80% of Fortune 500 companies prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, a lack of policy itself may be a barrier to trade in general. For Mexico in particular, the country itself has been plagued by a high level of gender inequality driven by machismo.

Described in an A.T. Kearney report last year as one of the main factors in a lack of workplace diversity in Mexico. Machismo is a large barrier to the economic benefits which diversity will bring to the Mexican economy. The report identified that the prevalence of a ‘macho' culture itself is hindering Mexican workplace growth and productivity.

That being said, the growth in partners and participants for Equidad MX shows that times are changing. “HRC Equidad MX 2019 is an unprecedented moment for LGBT inclusion in Mexico and the Latin American region,” Robledo and Velázquez concluded.