The gender gap, political cynicism and other leadership dilemmas in Latin America
August 28 , 2018
The International Leadership Association (ILA) and Universidad del Pacífico Center for Leadership, Ethics, and Social Responsibility (CLERS as in the Spanish acronym) organized the event "Exploring the dilemmas of leadership in Latin America". In this conference, representatives of social and political organizations discussed the challenges of leaders in the region.
Universidad del Pacífico Center for Leadership, Ethics, and Social Responsibility along with The International Leadership Association (ILA) organized the leadership conference "Exploring the dilemmas of leadership in Latin America". The event addressed the political, economic, social and ethical challenges facing the countries and communities in Latin America. 

The first plenary was moderated by Stefan Reich, director of the Adaptive Leadership Center in Peru, who stressed that "the best way to talk about leadership is to dialogue with those in the trenches". This plenary opened a two-day conference in which the most critical problems facing the leaders of the region were discussed. 

Sara Cifuentes, Management and Development Manager of Taller de los Niños, provided the perspective of organizations dedicated to social work projects. She stressed that one of the challenges faced by the leaders of these projects is to maintain the balance between achieving the objectives and firmly committing to their own values.

"Taller de los Niños is an NGO that works throughout the year. We hope to be professionals, but also to be connected with the beneficiaries' reality and emotions. Being professional and, at the same time, remaining emotional and receptive, is complex for anyone, but it is necessary in this work", she said.

Cifuentes also addressed the issue of prejudice against women and put her own case as an example. “Women who work in a social project are expected to be very kind and motherly. It is important to break down that barrier for the others, to demonstrate that women leaders can be strong and serious about what they want to do", she said. 

For his part, Congressman Alberto de Belaúnde, highlighted management of frustration as a key skill of any leader. "Many times you advance and then you have to go back two steps or, worse, develop a cynical approach to reality to avoid frustration. I have seen people coming to Congress with many ideals and, eventually, becoming cynical". 

Female leadership 

The second day opened with Annette Richardson, Acting Chief of Office at the United Nations Office for Partnerships, who spoke on the challenges of female leadership and the management of organizations to favor it.

"Women are becoming an important part of politics. At the UN, for example, we have a 50:50 gender quota. For me it is an unfinished business, there are many success stories, but the numbers are still obscure. If we continue this way, it will take another 80 years to achieve a visible improvement in women's empowerment", she said. 

On the development of proposals that elevate the position of women in organizations, she stated that "there is a large number of proposals that promote gender equity on the UN waiting list, but there is no money to execute them. We talk about gender, but do we really invest in gender? That is part of the problem”. 

Annette Richardson, Acting Chief of Office at the United Nations Office for Partnerships

Indigenous culture 

​​On the second date of the event, a panel discussion was held on the role of indigenous women. In this context, Congresswoman Indira Huilca reflected on the situation of the northeastern communities of the country. 

"The voice of indigenous peoples is heard today in a leading way and there is a current of recognition of the indigenous peoples' culture. That current of recognition that has been achieved is not a small thing in a country that for a long time refused and turned its back on the diversity that accompanies us", she said.

Jessica Patiachi, a school teacher of the Harakbuts community, remembered for the powerful speech she gave during the ​visit of Pope Francis to Peru, invited the public to learn more about the indigenous peoples' traditions. 

"I am excited about the fact that indigenous peoples will eventually be recognized by the State and that their ancestral knowledge will be considered as a contribution to humanity, especially in the care of the environment", she said.

Patiachi also shared the fears of her community. "I fear that we will not do anything, that neither the State nor civil society will act and that the 48 indigenous peoples of Peru will disappear completely, that they will remember us like the Chavin or Inca culture, only in museums."



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