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The impact of diversity on Latin America’s economy

By Miguel Ángel Sánchez Cruz — July 4, 2019

The value you give to people is the value that clients will give to your company

The topics of diversity and inclusive spaces lead to debate in Mexico and Latin America, where small steps are being taken towards a more inclusive society, particularly in the areas of gender, disabilities, sexual orientation, age and economic status. However, there is still work to be done.

In its blog, the Federación Mexicana de Empresarios LGBT (FMELGBT, Mexican Federation of LGBT Business Owners) states that discrimination towards this group costs the nation $80 billion each year, an amount equivalent to the GDP of five Mexican states. Based on this, it can be said that segregation affects the country’s economic growth.

A similar thing occurs with gender discrimination. According to El Universal, only 44.6% of Mexican women are in the labor force and happen to earn 18.3% less than men, of which 78.1% are employed. The publication also notes that women with jobs are able to significantly sustain the per capita GDP over the next 25 years, as long as they do not experience workplace discrimination.

Additionally, according to data from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI, National Institute of Statistics and Geography), mothers in Mexico face discrimination starting as of pregnancy. This is due to the lack of daycare services, and these factors hinder the group from advancing professionally.

The same situation occurs in Latin America. As noted in the 2019 Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) by the OECD Development Center, the Ibero-American General Secretariat (SEGIB) and the BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF), “One of the biggest concerns regarding gender equality in Latin America lies in the family setting, where women spend three times more of their time than men on household tasks and caring for children and elderly relatives.”

In both instances, it can be said that the impact of diversity is a social matter as well as a financial one, and it affects the nation’s public and private sectors.

As far as Mexico, many companies have joined initiatives that provide support, becoming entities that directly influence society. Uber, Facebook, Google, Citibanamex, MasterCard and AT&T are just some of the corporations that have launched campaigns to become inclusive companies.

How to be an inclusive company?

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, which is headquartered in the United States, recently published its list of the Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality. The rating criteria are based on three key pillars:

    • Non-discrimination policies.

    • Employee resources and tips for diversity and inclusion.

    • Public activities that support LGBT inclusion.

It is also essential to address other equality matters, such as people with disabilities (multiple disabilities). According to the Inclúyeme Foundation, which helps people with disabilities find jobs, some of the advantages of hiring these individuals are:

    1. Return on investment: Companies that hire people with disabilities transform social issues into business opportunities.

    2. Marketing: Customers with disabilities, along with their family members, friends and associates, represent a market segment that is worth billions of dollars.

    3. Innovation: Employees with disabilities bring unique experiences and knowledge that help transform the workplace and also improve products and services.

So not only does discrimination affect the economy, it is important to note that in addition to generating profit, diverse thinking in innovative settings always guarantees healthy and creative environments.

Below is a list of initiatives that are easy to implement. However, we recommend that you address them through an Internal Inclusion Committee, because involving everyone adds more value:

    • Create your own non-discrimination policy: Make sure that your internal and external clients view you as a company that takes care of and respects its employees.

    • Guarantee inclusive recruiting: Show all of your candidates and employees that you hire talented people.

    • Train people with value: Certain foundations are willing to provide free awareness training, so find out which ones are available to you.

    • Share experiences: Create internal communication campaigns that increase awareness and share your ideology.

Keep in mind that the value you give to people is the value that clients will give to your company.

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