Opening Remarks Mujer Apoya Mujer

Remarks by Ambassador Dogu
March 29, 2017

Good morning everyone.

What better way to end Women’s History Month than witnessing first hand your enthusiasm.

The commitment and teamwork of the women leaders like Adelayde Rivas, Director of SET NET Communications, and WeAmericas alumnae like Janny Tercero, Sara Lila Cordero, and Maribel Espinoza, whose efforts have brought us here this morning. Women’s participation in business is absolutely fundamental.

And yet, her we are. Still finding ourselves fighting for that seat at the board table, for that contract, for that new round of venture capital all of which, for some reason, always seem to fall just outside our grasp.

I feel very committed to this issue, and I will continue working with you to make progress. Last year, I remember I had recently read a study conducted COSEP, which showed that representation by women in leadership positions is minimal in Nicaraguan business. But we must ask ourselves why? Why are women poorly represented? According to various studies, the fear of failure is one of the top concerns for women who start businesses. This fear is real, and can be overcome with effort and collaboration.

Many groups are supporting entrepreneurs, but women need extra support. Support networks are vital in overcoming these challenges.Tools such as Mujer Apoya Mujer is in the capable hands of all of you here today, which is important for businesswomen in Nicaragua and the region to take the next step.

For instance, as women business leaders you are balancing taking care of families with your work responsibilities. How does one juggle all of this?

Who knows who Sheryl Sandberg is? Has anyone read her book? Sheryl Sandberg is currently the COO of Facebook. In 2013, she wrote a book that sent shock waves through US businesses, classrooms, and homes.

The book is called Lean In (Women, Work, and the Will to Lead), and it takes a look at what women can do to close the gender gap. Her advice? “Advance”, which means “challenge stereotypes including your own comfort zone to launch you forward”.

Do not let your own assumptions about what you are capable of doing prevent you from getting first level jobs and salaries.

Did you know that men apply for a job or contract if they think they have 60% of the requirements, while women only apply if they think that they meet 100% of the requirements? I think this is due in partto the fear of failure and sometimes this fear prevents women from giving themselves a chance to try.

I would encourage all of you here to push each other to follow Sherryl’s message in her book Lean In. Help each other take calculated risks and always invest in and strengthen your support network. For instance, Mujer Apoya Mujer came about as a result of WeAmericas alumnae deciding that they wanted to build such a network so you could have access to other businesswomen with experience and knowledge from Latin America and the Caribbean.

On the most basic level, if women don’t participate in the economy, a country’s earning potential is literally halved. Furthermore, women are responsible for nearly two-thirds of worldwide consumer spending. This means that women hold tremendous economic power.

That this group right here – in this room – and the larger network being created through Mujer Apoya Mujer holds tremendous economic power. I would charge you all to take that power and use it with judgment and determination.

To use it to support each other in our shared goal of having women better represented in business and a more prosperous, secure, and democratic Nicaragua.

Thank you.

# # #