In partnership with Women Forward International, Pro Mujer created a specialized 90-minute gender training for mentors to raise awareness on the importance of gender equality and the most significant gaps that women entrepreneurs face throughout the business development and investment process.
Women entrepreneurs in Latin America continue to face challenges when accessing capital to start and grow their businesses.
Recent research led by Pro Mujer and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) titled Bridging the Gap Between Women Entrepreneurs and Investors in Mexico, showed that investors in Latin America often characterize women-led small and growing businesses (SGBs) as too risk-averse, highlighting the gap between investment offerings and the needs of women-led SGBs in the region. Additionally, the disconnect between investors and business development services (BDS) providers disproportionately affects women entrepreneurs, depriving them of training, mentorship, and networking opportunities that could help them raise capital and learn how to succeed in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Watch this video to learn more about the challenges facing women entrepreneurs:
“If a woman entrepreneur faces a harassment situation from someone in the ecosystem, as it was my case, she might not feel comfortable to share it; instead, if the mentor is inspiring and trustworthy, then she/he can provide more comprehensive mentorship that helps us to go through difficult situations,” a Mexican women entrepreneur said during the study.
The research project suggested that “mentors should go through gender mainstreaming training to ensure they are not perpetuating gender stereotypes.” That is why, thanks to the support of Women Forward International and in response to this regional issue, Pro Mujer implemented training on basic gender concepts in an interactive way with a focus on using inclusive language and communication and identifying and reducing gender biases. With 15 directors from the organization, both male and female, from five different countries in Latin America participating, the results of the initial pilot were extremely positive.
Over 90% of participants declared they would recommend the training to other mentors and over 78% of participants wished the session had lasted longer.
“Intersectionality was a new approach to inequality for me,” said one of the participants of this training program adding: “I want to be more conscious about the language I use and overall gender perspectives, not only during mentorships but in my day-to-day.”
The methodology and content of the training will be offered to other BDS providers and relevant ecosystem builders interested in strengthening their mentorship services. The training will also be integrated into Emprende Pro Mujer, a new digital entrepreneurship center that launched in November 2021, during Pro Mujer’s GLI Forum Latam virtual event.
“It is crucial to make the conversation on gender more diverse. Men must be included in spaces that focus on gender. We need more male mentors, and more voices overall, so we can all work together. Sharing success cases of women, redefining working models, and generating support networks will make a big impact on women, including those living in communities who face additional challenges” said Natalia Wills, Country Representative of Pro Mujer Mexico.
If you want to learn more about this initiative, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org