(Photo: AFP)

Of the 193 member countries of the United Nations (UN), only 20 are governed by women. Although gender representation has increased in politics, it is estimated that parity in this area won’t be achieved for another 107 years.

The organization reported in May that the vast majority of countries have never been governed by a woman, but the number has increased compared to 2005 when only eight held that position.

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According to the most recent Map of Women in Power, from the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the UN, when they occupy political positions around the world, their portfolios are usually programs for families, young people and the elderly; social problems; environment and energy; work and education, and gender equality.

According to the International Knowledge Network of Women in Politics (iKNOW Politics), female candidates, heads of state, ministers, mayors, and community leaders often face barriers ranging from resistance within their own parties to discriminatory treatment by the media and greater demands made by the population.

“Society is twice as demanding when women express themselves or hold positions of high responsibility. They must demonstrate at every step that they are suitable, capable and competent,” states the organization.

In addition, it says that their absence in political life contributes to perpetuating inequality in the exercise of power and in decision-making spaces.

The UN shows that more than half of the female heads of state and government are in Europe, especially in Nordic countries such as Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Finland, with the exception of Sweden.

Meanwhile, on the American continent, there are three female leaders, half of what there were back in 2015. In Asia, there are female heads of state in Nepal, Singapore and Bangladesh, as well as Ethiopia, in Africa.

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Female leadership

Elena Compte Tordesillas, an expert in communications and marketing, explains that women in sectors such as science, politics, and business have a different leadership style, but they are often less visible than men.

“We cannot say that Angela Merkel or Hillary Clinton are the same. The common denominator, I have found, is that they are strong women with character. They make aggressive gestures and stand firm, but I couldn’t generalize and say that to be a leader, a woman must show herself like this,” said Compte.

Compte states that women have a different way of leading. Among the weak points of female leadership, she lists how hard it is for them to be direct, they avoid confrontations, and are very self-critical.

“It is also very difficult for them to delegate and they prefer to overload themselves with work before delegating it to someone else,” says the specialist.

But the positive aspects of female leadership come from teamwork, as she says that women like to seek more cooperation from teams than to compete. They know how to prioritize tasks and think more in the long term.

“They are more empathetic. They care about what the team thinks and feels. They care about their aspirations and their happiness. They also tend to seek more balance between personal and professional life, even if this implies a lack of rest,” she added.

Economic benefits

However, achieving equality would bring economic benefits worldwide and for Mexico too.

The Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), José Ángel Gurría, recalled last January on a visit to Mexico that the inclusion of women in the labor force would mean an increase in income for the country.

“You have to change not only for moral and ethical reasons, not only for justice, but also for economic reasons. As we highlighted in the Gender Study of Mexico we performed in 2017, if Mexico were to halve the gender gap in the workforce, 0.16 percentage points would potentially be added to the annual growth rate of Gross Domestic Product per capita, to reach 2.46% per year,” he recalled.

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