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INCAE launched study on Women’s Social Progress in Latin America

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women socialINCAE Business School launched a new research and regional impact project called The Social Progress of Women in Latin America: Towards the Construction of Equitable Societies- 2017. It focuses on identifying the development potential of women in the region and on improvement opportunities related to impact policies and action. The study will be aired for the first time on Tuesday, November 21 at 4:00 p.m. Miami time at Portafolio Global, CNN en Español, and CNNEspanol.com.

Women in collaborative leadership, a goal pursued by INCAE's Center for Collaborative and Women's Leadership Center, is a key topic at INCAE aimed to achieve business competitiveness and to foster development.

The research for the project was led by Dr. Camelia Ilie-Cardoza, Dean of INCAE and Chair of the Center for Collaborative and Women's Leadership, supported by Jaime García, Senior Researcher of the Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (CLACDS) of INCAE, and Dr. Guillermo Cardoza, Full Professor of INCAE.

According to the co-founder of the Social Progress Index Roberto Artavia, Women's Social Progress is "an innovative effort to create new measures of progress for women, and is part of the broader strategy of the Social Progress Imperative to move from data to action to impact".

To publicize the study an event was held on November 9th at Campus Walter Kissling Gam in Costa Rica, to consider the issues and challenges facing the region to move towards a more equitable society, offering equal opportunities for development and linking women productively to sustainable growth strategies.

The event concluded with a high level panel on Women and their Social Progress in Latin America attended by multisectoral leaders including Ana Elena Chacón, Vice-President of Costa Rica, Fidel Jaramillo, Director, Inter-American Development Bank, Costa Rica, Xavier Vargas Montealegre, President of Cargill Proteína Latinoamérica, Evangelina Avendaño, Regional Finance Director of Ernst & Young Central America, Panama & Dominican Republic, and Patricia Janiot, Anchor of CNN en Español

"There is an urgent need for clear, inclusive public policies with a real gender focus. We are working hard toward that goal", said Ana Helena Chacón, Vice-President of Costa Rica.

According to Dr. Ilie-Cardoza, "Intervention models based on legislation, policies, and gender data collection have not yielded results. Quite the opposite. In spite of significant investment, we are experiencing major setbacks, especially in civil rights, participation in public life, and the impact of women on national economies. Through the Women's Social Progress project we are proposing a new intervention model based on fostering initiatives to increase women's level of social progress by enhancing women's education, leadership, economic status, and active participation in public and political life".

The 2017 Report on Social Progress of Women in Latin America: Towards the Construction of Equitable Societies makes the following recommendations to design and take action toward women's social progress:

1. The results point out that public and private efforts to support women are not sufficiently known and, in practice, they are difficult to access and have little impact. Cultural prejudice and roles assigned to women in society hinder the implementation of these policies, which for the most part are taken from models of developed countries with very different contexts and cultures. Surveyed women have a negative perception of actual benefits in all four components analyzed (civil rights, educational potential, economic potential, and political potential) to enhance their progress.

2. It has been proven that investing in rational, non-contextualized actions, such as developing laws and policies, has not led to increased well-being (Kahneman et al., 2000). On the contrary, in the case of women, setbacks have been experienced in some areas. Thus, INCAE proposes to refine a measuring system to design better programs and frameworks, tailored to individual countries, communities, or organizations, to increase the number of female beneficiaries and improve their perception and experience. "The effectiveness of actions aimed to fully develop women and work toward their social progress will depend on this".

3. In this regard, INCAE recommends to cooperate with governments, multilateral agencies, private organizations, schools, and the media to adapt public and private laws and policies to specific regional contexts, on the one hand, and to design actions focused on improving women's experience, on the other. Only then can we create and make effective Women's Social Progress in Latin America.

About the Social Progress Index (SPI)

The conceptual framework for INCAE's Women Social Progress research project was based on the Social Progress Imperative's Social Progress Index. The Social Progress Index is the world's first comprehensive model measuring human development apart from economic variables. Unlike traditional models, the SPI focuses on carefully measuring the effects of economic growth on social well-being in order to take effective action to promote inclusion, gender equity, and sustainable development.

The methodology proposed to analyze the Women's Potential for Progress measures, from the beneficiaries' perspective and experience, the conditions and impact of social, institutional, and regulatory measures designed to improve gender equality. Indicators assessed in the four components of the model include access to civil equality laws, equality policies in education, access to labor flexibility plans, ease of entrepreneurship, equal access to public positions and political leadership, and perceptions of gender role in the environment.

The tool was designed and validated through a pilot test in late 2016 and was applied on a platform during the first half of 2017. It provided 5,469 responses from professional or entrepreneur women from Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru.

About the INCAE Business School - CNN en Español Agreement

Last May 22, INCAE and CNN en Español officially established a partnership to address critical issues in Latin America. This research, led by Senior CLACDS Researcher Jaime García, is being used, distributed and reproduced by CNN en Español and covering impact issues such as Renewable Energy, Sustainable, Intelligent Cities and Exponential Technologies. The two studies chosen by CNN to launch by year end are Social Progress of Women, led by Dr. Camelia Ilie-Cardoza, Dean of INCAE and Chair of the Center for Collaborative and Women's Leadership, Senior CLACDS Researcher Jaime García, and Dr. Guillermo Cardoza, Full Professor of INCAE, and Entrepreneurship of Women in Latin America and their Role in Economic Development, jointly led by Dr. Camelia Ilie-Cardoza and Dr. Cardoza.

CNN en Español - Contact:

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INCAE Business School Contact:

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