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Dealing with the countless challenges of 2020 has been one of the most arduous tasks of recent times. In this context, it was necessary to evaluate so many areas and aspects of our personal and professional life, which, perhaps, has caused the agenda of diversity gain greater visibility in companies. Especially when we talk about the women that saw the imbalance between work and family growing in the pandemic

As we have already reported here and as shown by several surveys conducted in recent months, the effects of the pandemic were disproportionately felt by women: they needed to maintain their home office work and reconcile this with child care, homeschooling, household chores, among other functions that needed to be performed at the same time and without valuable help from a support network.

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But even with this scenario, it is necessary to recognize small victories, especially when it comes to gender equality within companies. According to the second edition of the survey “Women in Leadership”, carried out by newspapers Value e The Globe and magazines Business Season e Marie Claire, in partnership with the NGO WILL (Women in Leadership in Latin America), many companies are evolving and improving practices for gender equity.

This topic appeared as a priority on the agenda of 66% of CEOs this year, an increase of 14 percentage points compared to the number seen in the 2019 edition of the survey. In addition, almost 70% of the companies analyzed reported having formal leadership for the promotion of gender equality.

And more than half reported having policies with clear goals and planned actions. Sodexo, for example, established that 40% of the members of all teams must be women by 2025.

Shell ensures that in external recruitment there is at least one woman in the final stage of the hiring process for leadership positions. The practice of including at least one candidate in the shortlist of executive positions was cited by 33% of the companies surveyed. Just as 37% said they had the goal of gender parity in pre-selecting curricula.

If it is true that we still have a long way to go to ensure gender equality in different parts of society, we also need to recognize that the topic has entered the agenda - albeit belatedly - and should not come out anytime soon.

Culture change x Women in Leadership

The cultural changes promoted by companies were expected a few years ago and are considered positive at the moment. However, despite ensuring that women expand participation within companies, it is necessary to increase the effort to occupy specific, strategic and directive positions. It is necessary to guarantee the participation of more women in leadership positions.

Although practices such as guaranteeing a minimum number of female candidates in selection processes, the study showed that 59% of companies, that is, the majority, do not have policies for the inclusion of women in high-level positions, such as councils and administration.

And the low participation of women in decision-making positions has nothing to do with the qualification of these professionals. We represent 55,1% of university students and 53,5% of all graduate students, according to the IBGE. Despite this, an HP survey shows that women only apply for a position if they are able to fulfill all the prerequisites. Men tend to participate in the selection process with only 60% of the skills required. There is, therefore, a behavioral challenge that also needs to be overcome.

Therefore, it is necessary that gender equity also in the areas of leadership overcomes the barriers imposed for so many years in the labor market. This is because, in addition to being a human right, this brings financial gains for organizations: according to McKinsey research, a company with gender equity in leadership has an average financial result, 21% higher than those that do not have this characteristic . In Latin America, this index reaches 93% when companies in the same sector are compared.

The path is still long, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel

We have advanced in recent years, but there is still a lot of work ahead of us and we need to put this agenda on the agenda. Encouraging girls and women to occupy their spaces and be protagonists in their trajectories is a duty of all who, like me, have already faced numerous challenges to achieve success.

It is necessary to have hope for new times, with companies that are more attentive to the issue of diversity and that establish strategies and policies with the objective of giving more space to female leadership.

Although we can celebrate the advances, it is necessary to demand more effort and commitment from companies with the gender agenda. This must be an active and explicit commitment, with actions aimed at guaranteeing better working conditions for women, especially in technical areas.

That in 2021 and in the years to come we are committed to this agenda and cover more concrete actions, recruitment, development and talent retention policies. As Michelle Obama asks: "Do we settle for the world as it is or do we work for a world as it should be?" I believe, work and dream that the world can be different for women.