Bogotá, November 26, 2019—Four
women from Latin America, including Colombia, are among 20 female business
leaders profiled in a publication by IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—for
their professional success, defying culturally engrained gender stereotypes
The publication, Trailblazers--Portraits
of Female Business Leadership in Emerging and Frontier Markets,
highlights the personal and professional journeys of female business
leaders from emerging and frontier markets, including Argentina, Brazil,
and Panama, in addition to Colombia. These women, through their leadership,
have helped create new markets and add business value for their organizations,
giving a boost to their communities and national economies.
IFC partnered with CESA and the Instituto
Colombiano de Gobierno Corporativo to present this publication in Colombia.
The publication was produced in partnership with Canada, Luxembourg and
the SDG Fund.
Colombia’s Rosario Córdoba Garcés is helping
to improve the nation’s economic competitiveness as president of the Private
Council for Competitiveness, where she has pushed for private sector and
structural reforms, and as independent board chair of Grupo Argos, a leader
in corporate governance and sustainability.
Argentina’s Andrea Grobocopatel, the granddaughter
of Jewish immigrants who arrived as refugees from the Second World War,
grew up in a rural town. In adulthood she and her family turned their small
farm into Los Grobo, a powerhouse agribusiness conglomerate that has achieved
market leadership. Today she is dedicated to FLOR foundation, which trains
women for decision-making positions, with the goal to improve governance
and build responsible organizations. Andrea also created Resiliencia SGR,
a non-profit focused on financial inclusion.
Brazil’s Ana Paula Pessoa guided the 2016
Rio Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games through to a successful conclusion
as the Games’ first-ever female CFO—a remarkable feat given the nation’s
turbulent financial situation at the time. Today she is an investor in
and chair of Kunumi AI, a leading artificial intelligence company in Brazil
and a professional board director of global companies, guiding them toward
more equitable practices.
Panama’s Sigrid Simons de Muller credits
her family for encouraging her to pursue the same professional opportunities
as her brothers. As an expert on firm governance and sought-out independent
board director, she is helping to achieve better gender balance in leadership
on a national scale, advising on Panama’s recently approved law requiring
30 percent female participation on the boards of companies and institutions.
Research has shown that gender diversity
in leadership is good business, yielding dividends for companies, communities,
and economies. A 2016
Inter-American Development Bank study
of more than 7,000 listed companies in Latin America and the Caribbean
found that the firms with women on their boards or in executive suites
were more profitable than those with all-male boards and management.
Yet, across the region, women hold about
10 percent of board positions, while globally women hold
only 15 percent of board seats and 4 percent
of CEO and board chair positions.
In addition to the four Latin American women,
the list includes female business leaders from, China, Egypt, Ghana, India,
Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Morocco, Myanmar, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda,
Vietnam, and Yemen. They represent a range of industry experience, from
information technology to shipping, from healthcare to development finance.
“By sharing the empowering stories of these
trailblazing women, we hope that professional women everywhere will find
inspiration to pursue their own upward career trajectories,” Elizabeth
Martínez de Marcano, IFC’s manager for the Andean region. “Increasing
the pipeline of female leadership talent and narrowing the gender gaps
in business leadership are development imperatives and IFC priorities,
as we work towards inclusive and sustainable private sector growth.”
The publication, from IFC’s Women on Boards
and in Business Leadership program, is part of IFC’s multi-faceted gender
strategy, which includes accelerating the pace at which women in emerging
and frontier markets join boards and assume C-suite positions.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank
and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution
focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than
2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence
to create markets and opportunities where they are needed most. In fiscal
year 2019, we delivered more than $19 billion in long-term financing for
developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end
extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit