Catalina Cajías is CEO & founder of Atributos, a company focused on talent potential and management in Ecuador, Business Partner at INCAE Business School in Ecuador, President of ALL Ladies League, Ecuador, Director of Women Economic Forum Ecuador 2021, Member of Latin American Women Leaders in INCAE, Member of Global Plan Red Ecuador. I talked to her about her social projects in benefit of women, gender equality, and Women Economic Forum Ecuador, she is a leader who impacts positively in Latin America.
Tell us about some of the initiatives you have worked or are working on in terms of leadership, inclusion, and gender equity.
I am sure that the economic reactivation and inclusive prosperity is achieved from infinite views, with the positive and diverse collaboration of its citizens, integrating and impacting with best practices. The inclusion of women is not only a fundamental human right, but their active participation also generates growth opportunities in business and positively impacts their environment with their empowerment.
Pursuing this mission, we connect with international institutions and organizations that allow us to provide scholarships to a large number of women in the business and entrepreneurial community to increase profitability, generate employability and productivity. This initiative was achieved and continues to grow thanks to all the work we do, and together with the valuable women who accompany me on the Board of Wicci Ecuador Business Council, we reached out to 374 people: 96% women 4% men.
Our initiatives contribute to SDG4, SDG5, SDG17, filling us with the joy of being drivers of massive intercultural exchange between Ecuador & India; achieving so far two editions: "DO IT... Dream and Act", which allowed to connect 400 young people between 10-15 years, establishing an interactive online ecosystem with the clear objective of fostering global curiosity, embracing diversity and practical experience, emphasizing the importance of similarities instead of differences, overcoming obstacles, and finding new ways to communicate, with the key axes of foreign trade, technology, sustainable development goals, culture and heritage.
I work continuously to create delegations of leader women from various sectors in order to make their trajectory visible, to make their voice heard and to achieve empowerment in the circles of influence, through participation in international forums in America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. This allows to visualize the impact of best practices in the economy of women, from the actions, raising the opportunities for our countries. With this spirit, the WEF ECUADOR forum was born, allowing us to impact in 21 countries and to achieve the participation of the best Spanish speakers.
I actively contribute to leadership development, entrepreneurship and empowerment programs for Latin America, which strengthens inclusion, diversity and highlights the importance of working in favor of gender equity.
You are internationally recognized as: Influential Woman 2020, Exceptional Woman of Excellence, Woman Icon Creating a better world for all, Illustrious Woman, Waw Honorary Awards and in your country, Ecuador, Hogar Magazine recognized you as one of the Women of the Year, in the Leadership category, what has it meant to you personally and professionally to have received these awards?
It is an honor, a blessing and a great responsibility that keeps me actively seeking new opportunities for growth that will allow me to continue contributing from all the areas so long as life and my efforts allow me.
While representing my country, on several occasions I reached non-traditional places and all the effort and work had its reward when I was able to raise my flag. I am very proud to be Ecuadorian, woman and Latina; each recognition has a different experience and rewarding story, all of them filled with many emotions, immense gratitude to God and to all those in my way: people, organizations and companies who trust me and with whom we have implemented impact projects.
These awards have meant for me, the reward for my commitment, collaborative leadership and persevering work, generating a light called passion and a personal purpose to create a positive footprint, transcend and inspire because dreams may come true.
I firmly believe that everyone has the potential to achieve great things "right where we are!" by acting, from each of our spaces, roles, the position we occupy in this world, learning and preparing ourselves constantly, being resilient and generating value in virtuous circles.
Professionally, I have been inspired by women of reference with whom I have had the privilege of sharing the stage, people who in the same lead the way, leaders of excellence in different sectors. That is why each recognition is a treasure that today is part of my story.
As director of the Women Economic Forum Ecuador, tell us what is WEF, what its purpose is and what is the mission that unites the different countries in the same event?
The Women Economic Forum was born in India, one of the most important forums in the world with 250,000 members from 150 countries. A high-impact event that brings together world-class speakers to share their knowledge and experience to continue transforming the ecosystems, by publicizing initiatives that seek economic progress, leaving as learning experiences, best practices, reflections, and connections.
WEF Ecuador celebrates this great start that strengthens inclusion, diversity and highlights the importance of commitment as a tool to establish and cross multicultural and multigenerational bridges. We are confident that the reactivation will be achieved from the integration and impact with best practices towards innovation, generating greater opportunities with balance and action.
The essence of the WEF is sisterhood beyond all borders, each director does a committed and hard work in favor of women, together we build a Hispanic America and a world increasingly united, working for a great goal: to reach in 2022 to 1 million women and 5 million by 2025, as part of this great family; we promote the example of our Global Chairperson Harbeen Arora and her mission to connect and inspire women to achieve success and economic independence, increasing their voice, influence, impact on the economy and society. We are growing in numbers, and it is important to continue to invite all women leaders and individuals to join us in this great common goal.
Our next edition from the Middle of the World, WEF Ecuador 2022, will be on September 7, 2022, connecting 25 countries, world-class speakers, generating networking, sharing best practices on current issues to empower and transform the participation of women in the economy.
Have we made progress in gender equality? What are the biggest challenges facing women in Latin America and what do you propose to solve them?
According to a World Bank publication dedicated to gender equality and development, in the last decade progress has been made in several key areas, for example, maternal mortality has decreased by about 10% and three quarters of girls now attend secondary school.
The Women and Business Index shows that women's economic rights have improved, and there are now more women than ever before in national parliaments around the world. However, significant gender disparities remain in labor market participation, salaries, care responsibilities for children and the elderly, and leadership positions. Violence against women and girls also persist around the world. The global COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated these problems.
The solution is not in the short term, it is said today that closing the gap will take 254 years, therefore we must join efforts to generate a multiplier effect that will lead us to sustainable development and gender equity, practicing collaborative leadership between men and women, building new and more opportunities for growth. "No change in history was made by one person alone, that is why we need the effort of society as a whole."
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