Celebrating International Women's Day at Inter-American Development Bank


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IDB celebrated women's crucial role in development by holding events at country offices and HQ on March 8, 2011. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day (IWD), the IDB hosted events
at country offices in Belize, Bahamas and Uruguay, and at headquarters in Washington, D.C. Speakers
addressed the UN theme for IWD in 2011: Equal access to education, training and science and
technology: Pathway to decent work for women.

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Celebrating International Women's Day at Inter-American Development Bank

  1. 1. Inter-American Development Bank, March 8, 2011 International Women’s Day“Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women”
  2. 2. Reverend Angela Bosfield Palacious opened the International Women’s Day event of the IDB Country Office in the Bahamas. Born in Naussau, Reverend Palacious was the first female Bahamian deacon (1999) and priest (2000) in the Anglican Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.Astrid Wynter, IDB Country Representative in the Bahamas, seated on the far right in the photo, celebratedInternational Women’s Day with a seminar entitled “Young Single Mothers and the Challenges of Motherhood andthe Workplace”. Ms. Barbara Burrows, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social Development, Bahamas,chaired the panel discussion, which received media coverage in the Nassau Guardian.
  3. 3. International Women’s Day at IDBTo commemorate the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day (IWD), the IDB hosted eventsat country offices in Belize, Bahamas and Uruguay, and at headquarters in Washington, D.C. Speak-ers addressed the UN theme for IWD in 2011: Equal access to education, training and science andtechnology: Pathway to decent work for women.International Women’s Day in IDB Country OfficesIDB Bahamas Country Office event:‘Young Single Mothers and the Challenges of Motherhood and the Workplace’.A panel comprising Ms. Carolyn Evans, Magistrate of Family Court; Reverend Angela Palacious,Anglican Priest and Counselor; Dr. Pearl McMillan, Head of Public Health, Ministry of Health; andMs. Carolyn Roberts, Chief of Psychology, Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre, led discussions on thetheme of the event. Ms. Barbara Burrows, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social De-velopment, chaired the panel discussions.The audience was made up of members from civic organizations, such as the Bahamas Family Plan-ning Association and Providing Access To Education (PACE) Program for pregnant young women aswell as government agencies, such as The Bureau of Women’s Affairs, The Crisis Centre, The Depart-ment of Statistics, and independent Researchers, Lawyers and Educators from the College of theBahamas and other institutions.The panel members discussed the theme from legal, religious, health care, and psychological per-spectives, identifying the challenges that young single mothers face. Some of the challenges men-tioned were: the expense of legal services and the implications of legally unrecognized unions, suchas cohabitation; the spiritual need for forgiveness, peace and love for self and others; the fact that20% of all pregnancies in the country are to females under twenty years of age; and the psychologi-cal feelings of entrapment, isolation and frustration when a young woman is faced with mother-hood unprepared and all alone, and before completing her own physical, emotional and intellectualemergence into adulthood.Panel and audience members proposed several recommendations to address the challenges of theyoung single mother, such as a Family Court Unit that would function to assist mothers with know-ing their rights under the law, enactment of legislation that acknowledges cohabitation. Addition-ally, the need for safe houses and primary schools that also included nurseries. The panel suggestedthat free nurseries be established in areas close to workplaces to facilitate mothers being able tovisit their babies during the lunch hour to nurse them and to continue to bond. This would bringgreater peace of mind to the mothers and enable them to focus on their work as they would be as-sured of their child’s wellbeing and security. Finally, financing to carry out research and studies inthe area to better understand the varied reasons behind the cause of child and adolescent pregnan-cies and their ramifications, were also recommended. Inter-American Development Bank 1
  4. 4. The Panel Members suggested that the Bank assist the coun- try with the implementation of these recommendations. The Country Office Representative, Ms. Astrid Wynter informed the participants that the Bank bases its involvement in the country on the priority areas which are discussed and agreed upon with the Government in a Country Strategy. The current IDB Strategy with The Bahamas covers the pe- riod 2010-2014, and focuses on four priority areas for Bank support: energy, water and sanitation, transport, and small and medium sized enterprise development.From left to right.: Carolina D´Angelo - Project Asst, Alejandra González - IT Sr Assoc, Tracy Betts - IDB Country Representative inUruguay, Ing. Karina Santo - Guest speaker, Sofía Salvagno - Res Plng & Admin Spec, María Victoria López - Asst, Nicole Perelmuter- Consultant, Luciana López - Consultant, Nadia Rauschert - Fiduc Fin Mgmt Spec, Federica Gómez - FOMIN Sr Analyst, Marión Lakatos- Finance Sr Asst, María Noel Villamarzo - Research Fellow, Sandra Carabetta - Office Support Sr Asst y Sofía Cataldo - Receptionist. 2 IDB IntErnAtIOnAl WOmEn’s DAy At IDB
  5. 5. IDB Uruguay Country Office event Celebrating International Women’s Day, the IDB Country Office in Uruguay organized a luncheon with its staff to discuss the day’s UN theme: “Equal Access to education, training and science and technology – Pathway to decent work for women”. Keynote speaker was Karina Santo, engineer and Director of Artech Consulting, which provides advice and analysis to help companies optimize their operations. Ms. Santo shared her perspectives regarding the need for society to ensure equal op- portunity and access for boys, girls, men and women to education, science and technology.More than 35 people gathered for an inspiring lunchtime International Women’s Day event at the IDB Office inMontevideo, Uruguay. Guest speaker Karina Santo, engineer and Director of Artech Consulting, spoke of women inthe consulting business and gender issues related to science and technology, education and family life. Inter-American Development Bank 3
  6. 6. Some 85 participants joined the event. Inforeground, Rachel Pierre and her father, EricqPierre, Senior Counselor for Haiti, Office of theExecutive Directors for Argentina and Haiti, IDBSteven Puig, Vice President for Private Sectorand Non-Sovereign Guaranteed Operations,receives the first “Gender Equality ChampionAward” from Marta Calderón, Coordinator of theIDB Professional Women’s Network
  7. 7. International Women’s Day at IDB HeadquartersBefore a panel discussion, the Professional Women’s Network presented its “Champion of GenderEquality Award”.Steven Puig, Vice President for Private Sector and Non- Sovereign GuaranteedOperations, IDBMr. Puig thanked the Professional Women’s Network and said he felt honored to receive the “Cham-pion of Gender Equality Award”. His commitment to gender equality was inspired by his mother.Being one of the first female medical doctors in the Dominican Republic, her dedication and hardwork helped shape his life. She also became one of the first Latina physicians in the US. Thanks tohis mother he became more aware of the important contribution that women make in the workforce,when given the opportunity. The award from PWN will be proudly displayed in his office.Marta Calderón, Coordinator of the IDB Professional Women’s NetworkMs. Calderón welcomed everyone to the International Women’s Day event, which addressed the UNtheme of this year’s IWD: Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathwayto decent work for women.Ms. Calderón recounted a story from the Toastmaster’s Magazine entitled: “Muslim Computer Sci-entist Promotes Gender Equality - A Pioneer in Pakistan”. The story was about Maliha Elahi, whostarted a computer-run bulletin board service in Pakistan in the early 1990s. She used her youngson’s name to conduct business, because at the time, and even today in some parts of the country,it was unheard of for women even to speak to men. Armed with a master’s degree in computer sci-ence, the young mother and recent widow ignored custom and ran the business. Over the next 20years, Elahi forged a successful career in computer science and project management training andhas worked towards expanding gender equality. As the story shows, education was the main factorthat allowed Eliha to overcome the adversities that millions of women come up against in the world.On behalf of the IDB Professional Women’s Network Ms. Calderón presented the first “Champion ofGender Equality Award” to Steven Puig, Vice President for the Private Sector and Non-SovereignGuaranteed Operations. He was recognized for his active promotion of gender equality in the IDB.Mr. Puig set up a Women’s Council in VPP soon after he arrived at the Bank, providing coaching andgrowth opportunities to VPP’s women. He sponsors a series of speakers on gender-related topicsin the workplace and has generously invited the Core Group of the IDB PWN. Ms. Calderón gave Mr.Puig a toy hammer that he could use to continue breaking glass ceilings that block women’s careers. Inter-American Development Bank 5
  8. 8. Tina Tinde, Diversity Advisor, Human Resources Department, opened the event at IDB Headquarters Tina Tinde, Diversity Advisor, HRD/IDB On March 8, 2011, the IDB celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the International Women’s Day. The IDB Country Office in Bahamas is hosting a panel discussion on “Young Single Mothers and the Challenges of Motherhood and the Workplace”, with prominent speakers from the Bahamas Ministry of Labour and Social Development and from the health, judiciary and church sectors. Since this day was a public holiday in Uruguay, the Country Office will hold an IWD event in a few weeks, and in November it plans to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The Country Office in Belize is collaborating today with Love FM to host a television show, “Belize Watch”. At the IDB, the employee composition is 51% women and 49 % men. However, in managerial posi- tions, only 23 % are women. The proportion of women in leadership roles has increased by less than one percentage points per year since 2007 and the proportion of women in grades 4 and up has increased by nearly 2 percentage point annually since 2007. Keeping its focus on merit-based recruitment and advancement, the Bank needs to use effective and transparent succession planning tools in order to achieve the gender targets that the IDB Board of Governors set for 2015 in con- nection with the 9th General Capital Increase: 38% women among representatives and executives, 40% women in grades 4 and up, and 40-60% women among the Executive Vice President and Vice Presidents. Of the 28 country representatives, five are women. To achieve 38% women among country representatives, 11 would have to be female. The trend towards increasing the share of women in senior positions is positive, yet needs keen attention. 6 IDB IntErnAtIOnAl WOmEn’s DAy At IDB
  9. 9. Gender Distribution total - 2007 to 2011 VPs, Executives and Representatives, Grades 04 and Up (IIC excluded) 12/31/07 12/31/08 12/31/09Category F % M % Total TOT% F % M % Total TOT% F % M % Total TOT%EVP and VPs 5 100.0% 5 0.3% 5 100.0% 5 0.3% 5 100.0% 5 0.3%Exec/Reps 14 20.3% 55 79.7% 69 4.0% 11 17.5% 52 82.5% 63 3.5% 13 21.0% 49 79.0% 62 3.4%Grades 04 178 27.9% 460 72.1% 638 36.6% 196 29.7% 464 70.3% 660 36.4% 210 30.3% 482 69.7% 692 37.7%and UpOther 685 66.3% 348 33.7% 1033 59.2% 714 65.7% 373 34.3% 1087 59.9% 709 65.8% 369 34.2% 1078 58.7%Grand Total 877 50.3% 868 49.7% 1745 100% 921 50.7% 894 49.3% 1815 100% 932 50.7% 905 49.3% 1837 100% 12/31/10 3/31/11Category F % M % Total TOT% F % M % Total TOT%EVP and VPs 1 20.0% 4 80.0% 5 0.3% 1 20.0% 4 80.0% 5 0.3%Exec/Reps 14 22.6% 48 77.4% 62 3.3% 14 23.0% 47 77.0% 61 3.2%Grades 04 242 32.5% 503 67.5% 745 39.6% 256 33.5% 509 66.5% 765 40.7%and UpOther 710 66.4% 359 33.6% 1069 56.8% 700 66.7% 350 33.3% 1050 55.8%Grand Total 967 51.4% 914 48.6% 1881 100% 971 51.6% 910 48.4% 1881 100% Gender Distribution total - 2007 to 2011 VPs, Executives and Representatives, Grades 04 and Up As of March 31, 2011 Category F % M % Total TOT% EVP and VPs 1 20.0% 4 80.0% 5 0.3% Exec/Reps 14 23.0% 47 77.0% 61 3.2% Grades 04 256 33.5% 509 66.5% 765 40.7% and Up Other 700 66.7% 350 33.3% 1050 55.8% Grand Total 971 51.6% 910 48.4% 1881 100% General Capital Increase targets by 2015 40% - 60% Female VP’s / EVP 38% Female Execs + Reps 40% Female Profs. Grade 4 and Up Inter-American Development Bank 7
  10. 10. Angela Franco, Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said women’s advancement is high on the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce agenda Angela Franco, President and CEO, Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Com- merce Ms. Franco said it is important for women to have a positive attitude towards life. Each day brings a new challenge and that is the beauty of life. Take things one day at a time, live in the present. There are things that you can’t change, and accepting them brings peace to your life. Taking risks takes you places you never imagined. For Ms. Franco it was a life-changing experience to move from Colombia to the US, and has been very enriching personally and professionally. Accepting that things happen for a reason and opening your arms and receiving them makes your life easier. Every day poses a challenge to keep a bal- ance. Look after yourself, do not worry too much about what others say or think. We all decide at the end who is the driver of our lives, ourselves or others. Believing in yourself is our homework for every day, but it is very, very worthwhile. Maintain and cultivate your femininity and the value of being a woman. In your list of priorities it is important to define what family means to you. To Ms. Franco, family comes first. She urged everyone to love and respect your country of origin. Her home country would always be in her heart. She pledged allegiance and commitment to the country she adopted, and is assimilating to the culture. How far we want to go is up to us, she said. We all set our own limits.8 IDB IntErnAtIOnAl WOmEn’s DAy At IDB
  11. 11. Aurélie Flavy Gilles, Consultant, Haiti Response Group, IDBHaiti has a history of political instability, with 14 governments and five coups over the past twodecades, compounded by violent uprisings and catastrophic natural disasters. Public provision ofeducation has been, and continues to be skeletal. There are very high levels of non-state provisionof education. It is important to recognize the challenges children face in such a complex environ-ment. To have success, there has to be an enormous and consistent parental support. It is importantto have education as a value within a family and within a country.The Haitian state has very limited service delivery or regulatory capacity, due to entrenched histori-cal reasons. There is an uncoordinated proliferation of non- state providers in the education sector.Only 18 % of children in primary school attend public schools and only 35 percent of non-publicelementary schools are accredited. Curricula and pedagogy are fragmented and quality is poor,with only 10 percent of teachers having obtained teacher training qualifications. Only 28 percentof those who attend school finish elementary school, 12 percent complete high school and only 1.3percent complete college.A main constraint affecting Haitians is their household economy. Families are forced to prioritize:Their limited resources often have to be concentrated on one or a few children. Those who are giventhe opportunity of schooling are expected to give something back to the household. On the topic of Aurélie Gilles grew up in Port-au-Prince, where her parents reside. Her position with the IDB Haiti Response Group takes her on frequent missions to her home country, where she assists the reconstruction effort after the January 2010 earthquake
  12. 12. gender discrimination in education, available data confirm that there is no preferential treatment.There is no significant gender discrepancy in any of the three cycles of primary education. Haiticontinues to experience a huge brain drain. Of the 1.3% of those who finish college 95% of themleave the country. It is important to reverse this trend in order to bolster Haiti’s chance to develop.Haiti also is in serious need of quality education and needs to create opportunities for its youth tocome back.Ms. Gilles, who is 24, stressed the importance of education in her own life. She took her first degreein Paris, France, fought a bout of serious illness, and went to Montreal, Canada and completed twomaster’s degrees. Before joining the IDB Haiti Response Group she was an intern with the HaitianCentral Bank and the UN Development Programme (UNDP)Dilva Perez, Manager, Importaciones Astrit, Lima, PeruAn entrepreneur, Dilva Perez is a beneficiary of the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) “Strength-ening Women Entrepreneurship in Peru” project that provides training to women micro and smallentrepreneurs throughout Peru. The MIF has partnered with Goldman Sachs, Grupo ACP/Mibanco,Universidad del Pacifíco, the Australian Government and Thunderbird School of Global Manage-ment to bring business education and access to capital to thousands of women. The project has twocomponents, each targeting a distinct group of women microfinance clients.The first component, called “Proyecto Salta,” is a large scale, country-wide training program fo-cused on women micro-entrepreneurs. Salta includes seminars, mentoring, and other resources tohelp 10,000 women micro-entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Training sessions are held in urbanand rural locations, and stress practical methods for improving business processes, building self-esteem, and getting access to resources.Ms. Perez is 35 years old, married and has a five-year-old daughter. Her husband joined the meeting.Ms. Perez said she lost her job when she became pregnant in 2006. After her daughter was born Dilva Perez, an entrepreneur from Lima, Peru received a scholarship from the MIF strengthening women entrepreneurship project to attend Universidad del Pacifíco. She completed a 4,5-month certificate program/ night classes in marketing, finance, accounting, human resources management, strategy and operations.
  13. 13. Joining via videoconference from the IDB Country Office in Lima, Peru Dilva Perez testified to the direct, positive impact of the entrepreneurship project on women’s lives. She was introduced by Xoan Fernandez, Consultant with the Multilateral Investment Fund.she was not able to find a job that paid enough to cover child care. In order to contribute to thefamily economy Ms. Perez made products by hand and sold them to friends and people she knew.She would work from 11 p.m. until 2 a.m. Those were difficult times for her, as the family neededmore income than what came out of these limited sales. Her husband encouraged her to create herown business.She decided to do so, and received assistance from the Ministry of Labor to get started sellingmedical supplies. Thanks to her nine years of professional experience she knew how to reach outto potential customers via the internet, yellow pages etc. Her first order was received in September2006 and this was a very exciting moment for her. Her business began to grow. At the end of 2006,her monthly turnover was over 20,000 soles (approximately $7,225). It was a challenge to workevery day, bring up a child and taking her along to different distributors of medical supplies. Thedistributors helped transport supplies to the provinces, as most of her clients are not in Lima. Therewere times when Ms. Perez was on the telephone attending to a client and her daughter was cryingand calling for her. She did not know how to juggle the tough demands on her time and felt desper-ate sometimes. In 2007 a generous friend began looking after her daughter, so that the businesscould expand.The MIF women’s entrepreneurship project selected her as recipient of a scholarship to attend theUniversidad del Pacifíco. Ms. Perez said the education made her a better and more empowered en-trepreneur. Today she employs 10 persons and just landed her first import contract. Inter-American Development Bank 11
  14. 14. Ancil Torres, President, Torres Foundation for the Blind, Trinidad and Tobago Assistive technologies help persons with disabilities conduct activities, whether it is at work, home or play. These technologies help people with disabilities access education and become productive members of society. An illustration of assistive technology is the kit for Mr. Torres’ laptop, which read out the text in the presentation he showed. He explained to the audience that he was used to listening to the fast-paced voice of the device, which could seem unintelligible to an untrained ear. In this way, you catch a glimpse of professional tools available to someone with a visual impair- ment, he mused. Mr. Torres explained how important access to education and work is for the empowerment of wom- en with disabilities. He presented examples of women with disabilities who had made enormous personal and professional strides. His wife Sonia Torres, who also participated in the event, was born in Pakistan and is blind. She lived in Kuwait when Iraq invaded the country in 1991, and had to make an arduous journey back to Pakistan. From Pakistan she immigrated to the US. As the pair became acquainted, Mr. Torres noticed that Ms. Torres had a talent for technology and as an educator. She now conducts classes on assistive technology at the Torres Foundation. He spoke about Senator Kerryann Ifill who was elected in 2008 to the Senate in Barbados, as the first blind person to hold such an office. She is currently Deputy President of the Senate of Barbados and uses assistive technology to take notes and read documents. He also spoke of Annette Wallace, the Executive Director of NALIS Library. Not blind herself, she is a relentless advocate for equitable access to government services for persons with disabilities. NALIS is the national library in Trinidad. Ms. Wallace made sure assistive technology became available in Ancil Torres, who is from Trinidad and Tobago, has over 20 years of experience in the assistive technology field, adapting modern office business workstations to accommodate persons with disabilities12 IDB IntErnAtIOnAl WOmEn’s DAy At IDB
  15. 15. Shaquilla Augustine and Lindy Mahabub from Trinidad working ontheir resumes at a career workshop held by The Torres Foundationfor the Blind’s “Camp Can Do” in Bon Accord, Tobago in 2010. Photo: Joseph richardson, Iron Eagle all libraries of the island. It is the first project of its kind in the Caribbean and was such a success that other countries have emulated the project. Finally, he spoke of Janeil Odle, who is blind and scores at the top of her high school class. She is a very powerful and smart young woman. The Torres Foundation launched in 2009 a summer camp called Camp Can Do. It is an annual program for blind youth in the Caribbean. Camp partici- pants learn about different assistive tech- nologies as well as about themselves. The counselors focus on what blind people can do rather than what they cannot do. Ms. Odle wrote a poem called “Let us be what we can be” which highlights that people with disabilities can do whatever non- dis- abled persons can do. Rapporteurs: Tina Tinde, Diversity Advisor, Human Resources Department (HRD), IDB, and Oscar Ruiz, Diversity Research Fellow, HRD, IDB Inter-American Development Bank 13
  16. 16. Multilateral Investment Fund Member of the IDB Group