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A Generation with Desire to Improve Itself

Written by Marisol

In order to better understand the profile of Latin American female professionals born between 1980 and 1996, the Center for Collaborative and Women’s Leadership, of INCAE and the Citi Foundation, carried out the study Women Millennials Professionals, Workers, Urban, which included women from San José, Bogotá, Lima, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

“In the history of Latin America this is the generation of women with the highest academic level, never before have there been so many professional women in the region. As they reach professional titles and are in this global environment, opportunities are demanded and opened up”, said Tica Margaret Grigsby, Professor of Leadership and Marketing at INCAE.

Overcoming their condition compared to that of parents, undertaking, building a wealth, and meeting professional goals are some of the objectives. On average they have eight years of work experience, one in five have postgraduate studies. Economics and administration, health, and education are the areas of study with the highest percentage.

Although 13% of those surveyed are dedicated to engineering and architecture, a large part of the sample reveals that they are still discriminated against in universities when choosing a typically male career such as STEM. In addition, the lack of a figure to inspire them, outside of their family circle, evidenced a lack of having women references in other areas.

The highest percentages indicated that motherhood is part of their life project, but to have children with confidence they must reach their professional goals sooner. In the same sense, the average age in which they had their first child, those who are mothers, is 24-25 years, which implies a post-university stage.

Motherhood, a high workload

However, combining motherhood and working life represents a high workload for women, according to the highest percentage in all the countries in the study. Another of the difficulties that stand out in the professional situation and being a mother, is that women are not chosen for a promotion due to the possibility of being mothers, marrying or having small children, according to more than 27% in each country.

Much more effort required

Likewise, the perception that women make twice as much effort as men for job recognition is another of the obstacles that the most interviewees agreed with. Regarding the responsibility of domestic tasks, although there is progress in the involvement of their partners as indicated by 40%, six out of ten of those surveyed still carry most of it.

Stability, a priority

Contrary to the belief that the millennial generation does not seek stability, one in three participants most look for opportunities for growth and development from their employer. Starting a business and occupying managerial positions are the highest professional goals according to the highest percentage in the five cities, and investing to generate wealth is one of the main financial goals.

Investing to multiply their money, also represents an opportunity for financial institutions and banking opportunities focusede towards women, in the creation of innovative financing schemes for housing, for example”, considers the research.

A range of 34% to 46% do not seek financial advice and from the participants who do, the majority turn to their immediate circle to ask for it; the lowest percentages are those sought in the media or directly in banks. Support in the payment of other people’s debts is another relevant data since more than 24% helps to cover other commitments, mainly from parents.

Social perception

In the social perception, the biggest problems faced by women are violence and sexual harassment according to the majority of the participants, although this does not mean that they have suffered, they consider them to be the main ones in their environments. In personal goals, they feel fulfilled when they achieve goals set by themselves, so they no longer aspire to meet social impositions or family expectations.

A brave generation

“It is a brave generation that is moving forward, they are not playing victimhood, they chose to work and if they have to try twice that does not stop them,” Grigsby concluded.

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