By Aura Estela Picado, Financial Services Manager in Nicaragua
“Leading together” reminds me of Pro Mujer’s first slogan: Together, we can move forward. It has inspired me to join other women to change history. Together, we can take care of each other and be leaders to transform lives.
That’s exactly what Pro Mujer means to me: building community to help each other. For me, it has been an honor to be first a client of Pro Mujer and now a staff member with the organization. When I joined Pro Mujer as a client, I was able to recognize women’s power to make choices. I understood for the first time the real importance of financial inclusion and access to education and health care so that we can be leaders in all aspects of life.
Unfortunately, the current outlook regarding these types of tools for women in Latin America is worrying. According to the International Finance Corporation, 75 percent of small- and medium-sized companies led by women in the region do not have adequate financial support. The majority of women continue to work in the informal sector, which means they lack access to health care and social security, among other essential benefits.
GOING FROM CLIENT TO FINANCIAL SERVICES MANAGER AT PRO MUJER
I first heard about Pro Mujer when I was in law school. I wanted to grow and live a better life. At the time, I had a small clothing business that helped me provide for my family. As a client of Pro Mujer, I was able to expand my business and become a leader in the community while helping other women.
This was the first time I was able to recognize women’s power to achieve economic independence, earn an education, and have access to health care, while becoming leaders who can build a solid support network for our children.
Years later, I joined Pro Mujer as a staff member. I started working as a loan advisor, which allowed me to finish my career as a lawyer. Pro Mujer believed in me from the very beginning, and now I am a Financial Services Manager. But, my story is not unique. I have met hundreds of women who are clients of Pro Mujer who have been able to make their dreams come true.
If we want to live in a just Latin America, full of opportunities, we must support comprehensive policies focused on women.