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Friday, November 03, 2006

Is machismo still alive?


Change is afoot in Latin America. Maybe it took a while, but change definitely happening. UPS's Valeria Prado (pictured above) says her company surveyed 500 small and medium businesses in the region to find out where women stand. (UPS has surveyed various parts of the world for many years.) Prado is the communications manager for UPS Americas.
The results on Latin America are in and they're telling. Machismo is out, maybe not completely out, but heading in that direction. (Not all that different from the U.S. is it?)About 63 percent of business are adopting policies to promote women in management.
Argentina's business owners had the most favorable outlook towards promoting women in management. Brazil had the worst (40% or less of companies have interest in adopting any policies)
Where's the progess? Not surprising, women seem to be better represented in Latin America in family owned businesses - this also holds true in the U.S. where in Florida 70% of women lead businesses they started.
I asked Prado about her company's role in the region. She said UPS encourages women to hold non-traditional positions. In fact, in Mexico (one of the most important markets for UPS in the Latin American region) Griselda Hernandez, was appointed as country manager. Prado says it is important to note that in Mexico only 14% of women are able to obtain a middle manager position and only 2% are ever able to make decisions. "At UPS we are proud to say that we have a woman in that 2% in one of the most male-dominated business markets in the region," Prado said.
Prado says UPS has learned that its women managers are able to establish those key relationships in Latin America that are critical for doing business there. But they key, is helping women with work/life balance and networking.
I find UPS' strategies impressive. Women rotate in different positions so that they learn skills to help them in management company. Prado says a lot of vice presidents started as drivers or in operations and now they are managers in public affairs or communications. UPS also has a women's networking group and a policy that women to relocate to another UPS office if their partners are transferred out of their work area.
To see highlights from the UPS Latin America Business Monitor, click here. If you would like the full 21-page report, e-mail me at cgoodman@MiamiHerald.com.

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