OUTSOURCING: AN OPPORTUNITY FOR WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT?
At first sight, Coronda seems to be an Argentine rural town like any other. However, from its squares and strawberry plantations, a woman innovates in the service industry. Maricruz Tabbia with his personal computer is revolutionizing the labor market, recruiting professionals from Russia to the United States.
Maricruz is the Chief of Staff and Operations at SheWorks!, an international company that specializes in matchmaking for digital service professionals such as graphic design, programming, project management or communication, with clients such as Univisión, MasterCard and the Inter-American Development Bank. The company, based on the cloud, also offers training and tools for the monitoring and management of remote work.
“I love the flexibility of choosing where and when I work. But it is necessary to have a lot of discipline and daily ambitious goals”, explains Maricruz, who lives with her four-year-old daughter and her mother. Another consideration to bear in mind is that, after all, the payment has to cover living costs. “Working with respectable customers is important. The pay should be sufficiently interesting for the person to be able to cover health insurance, life insurance and taxes.”
Born in Buenos Aires and raised in Bangkok – two large capitals – Maricruz dreamed of raising her daughter in a village with lots of nature. “I love Coronda’s sense of community, being able to see horses on the street and playing with dogs and cats in the yard.”
Unlike other platforms that act as labor markets, SheWorks! specializes in professional women.
The company started eight months ago and has more than 600 registered and certified professionals. Last week, its founder and CEO, Silvina Moschini, officially presented the platform during the 7th World Forum on Women’s Empowerment organized by the United Nations.
“The goal is to have more than 100,000 Latin American women educated and employed by 2025,” says Moschini. “We just started, but we already signed agreements with Google, Facebook, SAP, Microsoft, Platzi, among other training platforms, and the idea is basically to invite women to take their courses.”
SheWorks! wants to break the gap between talent and opportunity. Clients or employers can increase the number of qualified women they work with, taking advantage of greater diversity and access to a wider variety of talents. Women can work from different places and at flexible times. “So, they do not have to choose between being professionals or moms because they choose a job that allows them to take care of their family.”
Latin American universities graduate more women than men, however, according to a recent IDB study based on the analysis of 70,000 companies around the world, women are underrepresented in leadership positions.
In fact, in 73 percent of the Latin American firms considered there was not a single Manager or General Manager. In an opinion editorial published at the NYTimes, IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno argues that the time has come for the private sector to also be a driver for gender equality. “Only then will we be able to take full advantage of the talent and productivity of all our people.”
The empowerment of women in global services was the subject of one of the panels at the 6th Latin American and Caribbean Outsourcing and Offshoring Summit: Outsource2LAC 2017 last week in San José, Costa Rica.
The event brought together at least 800 entrepreneurs from 446 companies and 35 countries in the service sector in the Americas, Asia and Europe. Out of those, 108 companies were interested in acquiring services. In addition, 122 female entrepreneurs participated in the event.
Working in information technology (IT) and business process outsourcing (BPOs) can be a means to women’s economic empowerment. The relatively high wages and benefits mean greater security and autonomy. Jobs in other innovative industries such as animation, video games and mobile and cloud software development provide training, unparalleled experience and international exposure that yield competitive global employees.
According to the Outsource2LAC panel, strategies to increase women’s leadership and empowerment in the digital services sector include:
- Training human resources managers on hiring strategies to equalize the imbalance;
- Retaining women through competitive benefits;
- Actively grooming women for leadership positions through training, career planning and mentoring;
- Publicly celebrating women’s successes in the field;
- Embracing opportunities for networking and dialogue on gender balance, including ensuring that women are well represented as expert speakers on all topics, not just women-related issues.
At the IDB, for example, the human resources department requires gender balance in the panels for job interviews.
In addition, it is piloting the use of the “anonymous curriculum”, a way to avoid discrimination in staff selection processes by ensuring that electronic applications for vacancies do not carry any gender or nationality indicators.
For Silvina Moschini, at SheWorks!, it is crucial that women work together, cooperate and promote each other “because, at the end of the day, doing business is a sport of networking”. According to her, support must come out of rhetoric. “If we are afraid that they will not want us if we are strong, we are damned if we do, damned if we don’t”, concludes.