Project Management

Women in PM Leadership

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We'll explore the lessons, traits, characteristics and opinions of women serving in leadership positions in the project management profession. Join the conversation!

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Brantlee Underhill
Cecilia Boggi
Marcela Terzi
Fernanda Quinteros
Adriana Cibelli
María del Rosario Valicente
Vanessa Guimarães

Recent Posts

Diversity and Inclusion at PMI (English and Spanish)

Behind every great woman there can be a great man

Role Models for Women: Why are they important

Our yesteryear grandmothers’ strength, an inspiration for today.

“My name is Steve” / "Mi nombre es Steve"

Diversity and Inclusion at PMI (English and Spanish)

PMI CEO & President, Mr. Sunil Prashara, send us recently an email mentioning the launch of Diversity and Inclusion steering committee and his concern about low female participation among PMI Board of Directors candidates.

I appreciate and share his concern so, that I’ve been studying gender diversity in project management, both within the framework of my Doctoral Thesis, investigating Female Leadership in Project Management in Argentina, since 2016, and also from the PMI Buenos Aires Chapter’s Community of Interest in Female Leadership, of which I am founder and leader since 2018.

At our Community of Interest, we carry out an investigation to find out the representation of women of the PMI Chapters of Latin America, regarding percentage of women among Chapter’s members, Chapter’s PMP® holders, Chapter’s Board of Directors members and Chapter’s President.

This study showed that, in 2019, only 28% of Chapters members and 26% of the Chapters PMP® credential holders were women; 37% of the Chapters Board of Directors members were women but only 22% of the Chapters have Female President.

In contrast to this very low representation, we are proud to say that the 100% of the 3 Region Mentors in Latin America are women!

I had the opportunity to present this research at various congresses and conferences, including PMI North America LIM in Philadelphia, last October 2019.  This year we are repeating the study to see the evolution of female participation.

Additionally, this year we are also researching the percentage of women in leadership roles and, especially, as project managers, in organizations and state agencies as well as the diversity programs they are carrying out in Latin America. As soon as we have that information, we will share it with the community.

On the other hand, investigating the history of the PMI, we can mention that:

• Among its 5 founders, James Snyder, Eric Jenett, Gordon Davis, Ned Engman and Susan Gallagher, there was only one 1 woman.

• Among the 51 Chairs of the PMI Board of Directors from 1969 to now, only 8 have been women.

• All three PMI CEOs since 1996 are men.

The good news is that the current BoD, even though it’s chaired by a male, is represented in a 50% by women.

Perhaps, all the above data explains the reason to have only one female candidate for Board of Directors this year, and that’s why I appreciate so much Sunil's posting and concern.

From the PMI Buenos Aires Chapter, we are conducting awareness, promotion and professional development sessions for women, as well as a mentoring program with the aim of reversing this unbalanced reality and achieving greater diversity, with the benefits it entails.

The purpose of our community is to achieve a more diverse profession, with fewer biases, stereotypes and barriers, with more opportunities for women in project management.

Thank you very much, Sunil, for opening this dialogue!

#WomenLeaders #WomenInProjectManagement #FemaleLeadership #Leadership #Diversity #Inclusion

==== En Español

El CEO y Presidente del PMI, Sr. Sunil Prashara, nos envió recientemente un correo electrónico mencionando el lanzamiento del comité de Diversity and Inclusion y su preocupación sobre la baja participación femenina entre los candidatos a Board of Directors del PMI.

Aprecio y comparto esa preocupación, tanto que desde hace varios años estoy estudiando la diversidad de género en la Dirección de Proyectos, tanto en el marco de mi tesis doctoral, investigando el liderazgo femenino en dirección de proyectos en Argentina desde el año 2016, como también, desde la Comunidad de Interés de Liderazgo Femenino del PMI Capítulo Buenos Aires de la que soy fundadora y líder desde el 2018.

En nuestra Comunidad de Interés de Liderazgo Femenino, llevamos adelante una investigación para conocer la representación de mujeres de los capítulos de PMI de Latinoamérica, los que nos informan el porcentaje de mujeres entre sus miembros, certificados PMP®, integrantes de la comisión directiva y presidente de la comisión directiva.

Con este estudio hemos encontrado que, en el año 2019, sólo un 28% de los miembros y un 26% de los certificados PMP® eran mujeres; el 37% de los integrantes de las comisiones directivas eran mujeres pero sólo el 22% de los Presidentes.

Como contraste a esta muy baja representación, tenemos que el 100% de los 3 PMI Region Mentors de Latinoamérica, son mujeres!

Tuve la oportunidad de presentar esta investigación en diversos congresos y conferencias, incluyendo el taller que realicé junto a Adriana Cibelli en la LIM de Filadelfia en Octubre de 2019 y este año la estamos repitiendo el estudio para ver la evolución de la participación femenina.

Adicionalmente, este año estamos investigando también en organizaciones y organismos del estado la participación de mujeres en roles de liderazgo y especialmente de project managers y los programas de diversidad que están realizando las organizaciones en Latinoamérica. Aún no contamos con esa información para poder publicarla.

Por otro lado, investigando la historia del PMI podemos mencionar que:

  • Entre sus 5 fundadores, James Snyder, Eric Jenett, Gordon Davis, Ned Engman and Susan Gallagher, solamente se encontraba una 1 mujer.
  • Entre los presidentes de los BoD desde 1969 a la fecha, sólo 8 de 51 presidentes han sido mujeres.
  • Los tres CEOs de PMI desde 1996, fueron hombres.

La buena noticia es que el BoD actual, si bien está presidido por un varón, está representado en un 50% de mujeres.

Tal vez todo lo anterior explique la razón por la que sólo tengamos una candidata mujer para en Board of Directors y es por esto que aprecio la publicación y preocupación de Sunil.

Desde el PMI Capítulo Buenos Aires estamos realizando sesiones de concientización, promoción y desarrollo profesional de mujeres, así como un programa de mentoring con el objetivo de revertir esta realidad dispar y lograr una mayor diversidad, con los beneficios que esto conlleva.

El propósito de nuestra comunidad es lograr una profesión más diversa, con menos sesgos, estereotipos y barreras, con más oportunidades para las mujeres en la dirección de proyectos.

Muchas Gracias, Sunil, por abrir este diálogo!

#MujeresLíderes #MujeresEnProjectManagement #LiderazgoFemenino #Liderazgo #Diversidad #Inclusión

Posted by Cecilia Boggi on: July 30, 2020 12:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Behind every great woman there can be a great man

A beautiful dawn when I was 6 years old my father woke my eldest sister and me up to announce us that we had a new little sister. By that time ultrasounds did not exist yet, so the doctor told my father about the birth and he later apologized, jokingly, about the gender. I had a new sister. My father, who was very grateful, said: “three girls… boys will come with time”.   

My mother was studying a technical career in the construction industry then. It was her second year and she was almost the only woman at the school. Since she was giving birth, she missed a test that day.  Once she was able to return, the teacher, a man, told her, “I had to put you the lowest mark” and with a proud tone he added, “Have you seen how that lowers your average score? “

She was a very tenacious woman and continues to be nowadays. She had decided to start that path to help my father who was a Civil Engineer.  After the delivery, the routine changed and every day, me and my family went to her school with my little sister for my mom to breastfeed her.  Two years later she got the degree with a gold medal. It was given by Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat 1 - a executive Argentinian women, school ‘sponsor -. Since then my mother worked not only next to my father but by her own until her retirement.

My mother was undoubtedly my inspiration. My father bought me a home computer in the early eighties to evaluate my vocation. When he asked me if I was sure about my career choice as a woman – he was conscious about gender inequity, not me -, I knew that it was possible because that was what she had taught me.  While my father was afraid to send me to another city to live alone being seventeen years old to study, my mom didn’t hesitate and sent me.  When I got my degree in Systems Engineer my father was emotionally touched.  I later formed my own family with a supportive husband like him, having my own three girls, working all the time with passion and enthusiasm.

A sad sunset three months ago was my turn to announce to my sisters and my mother that my father could not wake up anymore. I hugged my great mother and sisters, and I felt that great man with us. Immediately, every member of the family had self-assigned a duty, and I felt the necessity of writing the obituary for the local newspaper. 

As an engineer, teacher by vocation and a very active member in social institutions, he had developed in his local and regional community a very extensive activity. I was afraid of not being able to honor him in the short period of time that I had. But I recalled an old folder where he was collecting all the local clippings where he had been mentioned. As if he had foreseen facilitating my task, I found in the same place his professional transcript, course certificates, awards and handwritten drafts. As I read, I was able to understand him as a young man, his hopes, desires and concerns, his battles promoting the professional ethic, constructions laws modernization and school foundations. And then, through notes and discourses written when he was retired, I discovered his nostalgy and pride due to his achievements and results. 

Nothing on those papers was new to me. Neither it was to receive a condolence remembering him like a “creative and free ship captain!” or to see the blackboard on his room with his last attempts to learn another language or his recent history courses certificates. But it was a real surprise for everybody to find poems written by himself. Beautiful poems that told us about his reflections about being a father, the family, love, life and being in peace.

The review of his long trajectory and his pride gave me the strength, without hesitation, - as well as my mother's strength -  to return immediately, carrying all my immense pain, to my IT complex projects that continue without any compassion advancing steadily.

Since then his enthusiasm and passion for the action and the knowledge combined with the sentimentalism and generosity, beats – now consciously - in my heart. 

As women, we know that we dont need a man to pursue our dreams. But it becomes easier and more harmonic if we count on them.  And I am sure that in the same way that we have a positive influence in them, they can influence us with their example and with their unconditional support.

So, we can say, with no shame and with pride, that behind a great woman there can be a great man.

María del Rosario Valicente 

In memorian to  Eng. Cesar V. Valicente. (Argentina 1931-2019)ía_Amalia_Lacroze_de_Fortabat


Detrás de una gran mujer puede haber un gran hombre.

Un bello amanecer, cuando tenía 6 años, mi papá me despertó a mi hermana y a mí, para anunciarnos que había llegado una hermanita. Entonces no había ecógrafos, asi que el médico anunció al mismo tiempo el nacimiento, y casi como como disculpándose en broma, el género. Mi papá se sintió agradecido de que todo hubiera salido bien y dijo: “ Tres niñas, los varones llegarán con el tiempo”.

Por aquel entonces, mi madre estudiaba una carrera técnica en la industria de la construcción. Estaba en su Segundo año y era casi la única mujer en la escuela. Debido al parto ella faltó a un examen. Al volver, un profesor, como si estuviera orgulloso y contento por ello le dijo, “Le tuve que poner un cero. Notó como le bajé el promedio?”

Ella era una mujer muy tenaz y continúa siéndolo. Había decidido iniciar ese camino para ayudar a mi papá que era Ingeniero Civil. Después del parto, la rutina cambió y todos los días, toda la familia iba a la escuela para que mi mamá pudiera amamantar a mi hermanita. Dos años más tarde ella tuvo su graduación con medalla de oro y otorgada por Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat  – importante empresaria argentina, patrocinadora de esa escuela. Desde entonces trabajó de su profesión, no solo junto a mi padre sino por su cuenta, hasta su jubilación.

Sin duda, fue mi inspiración. Mi padre me compró una computadora hogareña en los ochenta para evaluar mi vocación y cuando me preguntó si estaba segura de la carrera – él era consciente acerca de la inequidad de género, no yo – supe que era posible por mi mamá. Cuando él tuvo miedo de enviarme a vivir y estudiar a otra ciudad a mis 17 años, mi mamá no dudó y me envió. Cuando me gradué de ingeniera de sistemas, mi papá estaba notablemente emocionado.  Luego formé mi propia familia con mi esposo, teniendo mis propias tres niñas y trabajando con entusiasmo y pasión.

Un triste atardecer de hace tres meses fue mi turno de anunciarles a mis hermanas y mi madre que mi padre no despertaría más. Abracé a esta gran mujer y a mis hermanas y pude sentir a aquel gran hombre con nosotras. Inmediatamente cada uno de los miembros de la familia se autoasignó una tarea.  En mi caso, sentí la necesidad de escribir su recordatorio para el diario.

Como ingeniero, docente por vocación y miembro activo de instituciones sociales, su actividad en la comunidad local y regional en la que se había desempeñado había sido tan intensa y diversa que temía que no le iba a poder rendir el honor que se merecía en el corto tiempo que disponía. Decidí recurrir a un viejo álbum donde iba guardando recortes de diarios con notas que le habían hecho y, como si hubiera previsto facilitarme la tarea, estaban apilados en el mismo lugar, su legajo docente, su actividad profesional, certificados, reconocimientos y escritos. La lectura de hechos permitía desentrañar sus anhelos, sus preocupaciones, sus luchas por la ética profesional, reformas de leyes y fundaciones de escuelas. Mientras que las notas más recientes y discursos preparados para aniversarios descubrían su nostalgia y orgullo por los logros alcanzados. Nada del contenido de todos esos papeles y escritos eran novedosos para mí.  Tampoco el haber recibido entre las muestras de afecto y condolencias que lo recordaran como el capitán de un barco libre y creativo. Ni el pizarrón con los últimos intentos de practicar inglés. Lo que realmente nos sorprendió a todos fue encontrar recientes poemas, borradores y pasados en limpio, en los que reflexionaba sobre la felicidad de ser padre, del amor, de la vida, de irse en paz.

Fue seguro el haber repasado su vida profesional, su pasión y su orgullo - así como la fortaleza de mi madre - lo que me dio fuerzas para no dudar en retomar a los pocos días, arrastrando todo mi dolor, mis proyectos complejos de IT que no daban tregua.

Desde entonces, su entusiasmo por el saber y la acción, así como el sentimentalismo y su generosidad, laten - ahora conscientemente – en mi corazón.

Como mujeres, no necesitamos un hombre para cumplir nuestros sueños. Pero con su apoyo puede resultar más fácil y armónico.  Y así como nosotras influímos en ellos positivamente, ellos pueden haber influído con su ejemplo o con su soporte incondicional.

Podemos decir entonces, sin avergonzarnos y con orgullo, que detrás de toda gran mujer, puede haber también un gran hombre.

María del Rosario Valicente

In memorian Ingeniero Cesar V. Valicente. (Argentina,1931-2019) 

Posted by María del Rosario Valicente on: October 06, 2019 11:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Come see the world from up here

Today I’m going to spend the day revisiting myself

Resetting my world

Reorganising my shelf

Because yesterday is too far gone

And all I need is to be ready for tomorrow…

Vanessa Guimarães


I wrote this text to myself but I think it should be shared. I want to share it here because we are part of a global community, and that should mean something. We are supposedly open to diversity and more tolerant to the differences. We have travelled around the world, we learned about other cultures, we speak other languages, most of us have been labelled “the foreigner” somewhere. When we speak our minds, people see a person who is international, a leadership. It should mean something. So I want to share this with you, and if you still think diversity is only another policy to tick out of your corporate social responsibility list, please, just please re-evaluate your privileged position and have some empathy. You might be making someone’s life a bit harder.  



Every now and then we have to face a difficult situation. It makes us stronger, it makes us review our values and principles, it tests our patience, it brings us closer to who we really are.

Every now and then we are caught in a dilemma. You can either follow your heart, your guts or your brain. You can hurt, be hurt or let hurt. You can take a breath, take some time, react, overreact, but you can never keep it quiet.

Silence does not exist. Those who are alive are always haunted but a little voice inside asking those questions that we try so hard to avoid. Is this it? Is that all? What is next? Who is next? Am I enough? Am I strong enough? The thing is that the answers to these questions are not relevant. What triggered them, what they make you feel, that´s what really matters.

Understanding the trigger, though, is just as complicated. Sometimes it was just a bad day, you were just not feeling it, it was just the weather, the pending bills, your boss, your partner, a car driving too fast, an unworthy person, an idiot that crossed your way. Do people really say things they don’t mean? How long does it take one to process what is in front of them, rationalise about it, decide to say something about it and… Regret? Really?

Some things just can’t be changed. Yesterday I was a victim of racism. I can’t change the colour of my skin and I shouldn’t need to change the texture of my hair. I can’t change the fact that I heard what I heard. And it was such a dear person to me… It still is. Some things can’t be changed, at least not that fast.

Those who know me will agree that I am not easily offended. And for sure it was not the first time that racism has looked me in the eye… Usually I am strong, I rise above, I prefer to think that I deserve better, that that person is just not worth my energy. But why do I always have to be so strong? Why do I have to wear such a thick shell to protect myself from others, from the world? Why can’t I just be me?

Dressing up, the make-up, the hair, the neutral colours… How much of that is really me? I tried not to be affected by what happened and, like I said, usually I am pretty good at it, but should I?

Going back in time I realise that this so called strength has been with me since I was just a kid. Is it fair that a kid needed to be strong in order not to be broken by the environment? You might think it is an exaggeration, but I remember second guessing myself, not because I did not believe in my potential but because I always had something else to prove. It was always harder for me, I was never an option, I would always have to explain that no, I am not the maid, I am not the babysitter, I am not lost I live here, I was just looking, I want to try that dress and yes I can afford it, please don’t touch my hair, I am not a woman yet despite the body, I don’t need to show my parents’ payslip to be accepted by your family, yes my nose is natural and small, these are not homeless people it’s a picture of my family.

Yesterday, when I heard what I heard, and it wasn’t even the worst thing I’ve ever heard, I just allowed myself to be hit, feel offended, act normal as anyone else would have done in my shoes. And it took me to a very deep place that I had not visited for quite a while.

So yes, today I allowed myself to stay in, to sleep longer, get in touch with these feelings, understand my moment, reassess my plan, and rebuild my pillars. The funny thing is that vulnerability is the key to that room where only a few people are allowed in. We are not born strong, we become strong. We are not born fighters, we become fighters. But what are we actually fighting against? And why now? Why has vulnerability hit me now?

I have recently dropped a brilliant career working for a foreign government to start my own business. Actually two businesses. They are both growing well; I have managed to mobilise more than 20 wonderful women to volunteer in this initial phase; my network is bigger and greater than ever; I am constantly being complimented on my achievements; I keep on having one great idea after the other; strategic partnerships are being established. Why now? Like I said, it was far from being the worst thing I’ve heard, usually I would have ignored, but this time was different, and I believe that it might have something to do with the so-called “Impostor Syndrome”.

Yes, minorities tend to feel unworthy of their accomplishments and we doubt ourselves all the time. It had been a while since the last time I was in that confusing place but here I am again, allowing myself to be offended because being a woman of so much success can only mean I am a fraud, right? So my old friend Vulnerability decides to pay me a visit and next thing I know… Racism and sexism hit me hard. One punch from the world, another punch from my own mind, tricking me into believing that “this”, a successful career, an extensive portfolio of achievements, this can only be one thing: a fraud.

Going back in the whole situation, which happened a few minutes ago, I have come to one conclusion: you can only be a “fraud” if you allow yourself to be one, and there will be many insecurities that will arise to make sure you feel like you are an impostor. Being the only woman in every single board meeting I have recently been to has certainly made me more likely to go down that road, but it can also be proof that this is exactly where I should be:  at the top, because I know it was not an easy mountain to climb, and you know what? I’ll dry my tears – which have reminded me of my struggle -, and instead, I will enjoy the view: oh yes, it was a tough challenge to get to the top, but it is a beautiful view from up here. 



Portuguese version (from Google Translator, sorry)


Eu escrevi este texto para mim mesma, mas acho que deveria ser compartilhado. Quero compartilhá-lo aqui porque somos parte de uma comunidade global, e isso deve significar alguma coisa. Estamos supostamente abertos à diversidade e mais tolerantes às diferenças. Nós viajamos ao redor do mundo, aprendemos sobre outras culturas, falamos outras línguas, a maioria de nós foi rotulada como "o estrangeiro" em algum lugar. Quando nos expressamos, as pessoas veem uma pessoa que é internacional, uma liderança. Deve significar alguma coisa. Então, quero compartilhar isso com você, e se você ainda acha que a diversidade é apenas mais uma política para cortar da sua lista de responsabilidade social corporativa, por favor, reavalie sua posição privilegiada e tenha alguma empatia. Você pode estar tornando a vida de alguém um pouco mais difícil.


De vez em quando, temos que enfrentar uma situação difícil. Isso nos torna mais fortes, faz-nos rever os nossos valores e princípios, testa a nossa paciência, aproxima-nos de quem realmente somos.

De vez em quando, nos vemos presos em um dilema. Você pode seguir seu coração, seus instintos ou sua mente. Você pode machucar, se machucar ou deixar machucar. Você pode respirar, demorar um pouco, reagir, reagir exageradamente, mas nunca conseguirá silenciá-lo.

O silêncio não existe. Aqueles que estão vivos são sempre assombrados, mas uma pequena voz lá dentro faz as perguntas que nós nos esforçamos para evitar. É isso? Isso é tudo? O que vem depois? Quem é o próximo? Eu sou o suficiente? Eu sou forte o suficiente? O problema é que as respostas para essas perguntas não são relevantes. O que os desencadeou, o que eles fazem você se sentir, é o que realmente importa.

Entender o gatilho, no entanto, é tão complicado quanto. Às vezes, era apenas um dia ruim, você simplesmente não sentia, era apenas o tempo, as contas pendentes, seu chefe, seu parceiro, um carro dirigindo rápido demais, uma pessoa indigna, um idiota que cruzava seu caminho. As pessoas realmente dizem coisas que não querem dizer? Quanto tempo leva para processar o que está na frente deles, racionalizar sobre isso, decidir dizer algo sobre isso e… Arrependimento? Mesmo?

Algumas coisas simplesmente não podem ser alteradas. Ontem fui vítima do racismo. Eu não posso mudar a cor da minha pele e não preciso mudar a textura do meu cabelo. Eu não posso mudar o fato de que ouvi o que ouvi. E era uma pessoa tão querida para mim ... Ainda é. Algumas coisas não podem ser alteradas, pelo menos não tão rápido.

Aqueles que me conhecem concordam que não me ofendo facilmente. E com certeza não foi a primeira vez que o racismo me olhou nos olhos ... Normalmente sou forte, me elevo, prefiro pensar que mereço melhor, que essa pessoa não vale a pena minha energia. Mas por que eu sempre tenho que ser tão forte? Por que eu tenho que usar uma concha tão grossa para me proteger dos outros, do mundo? Por que eu não posso ser apenas eu?

Vestindo-se, a maquiagem, o cabelo, as cores neutras ... Quanto disso é realmente eu? Eu tentei não ser afetado pelo que aconteceu e, como eu disse, normalmente eu sou muito bom nisso, mas eu deveria?

Voltando no tempo eu percebo que esta força tão chamada tem estado comigo desde que eu era apenas uma criança. É justo que uma criança precise ser forte para não ser quebrada pelo meio ambiente? Você pode pensar que é um exagero, mas lembro-me de adivinhar a mim mesmo, não porque não acreditava em meu potencial, mas porque sempre tinha outra coisa a provar. Sempre foi mais difícil para mim, eu nunca fui uma opção, eu sempre teria que explicar que não, eu não sou a empregada, eu não sou a babá, eu não estou perdida, eu moro aqui, eu estava apenas olhando, eu quero tente esse vestido e sim eu posso pagar, por favor não toque no meu cabelo, eu não sou uma mulher ainda apesar do corpo, eu não preciso mostrar o salário de meus pais para ser aceito por sua família, sim meu nariz é natural e pequeno, estes não são pessoas desabrigadas é uma foto da minha família.

Sim, as minorias tendem a se sentir indignas de suas realizações e duvidamos de nós mesmos o tempo todo. Já fazia um tempo desde a última vez que eu estava naquele lugar confuso, mas aqui estou eu de novo, me permitindo ficar ofendido porque ser uma mulher de tanto sucesso só pode significar que eu sou uma fraude, certo? Então meu velho amigo Vulnerabilidade decide me fazer uma visita e a próxima coisa que eu sei… Racismo e sexismo me atingiram com força. Um soco do mundo, outro soco da minha mente, me enganando em acreditar que "isso", uma carreira de sucesso, um extenso portfólio de conquistas, isso só pode ser uma coisa: uma fraude.

Voltando em toda a situação, que aconteceu alguns minutos atrás, eu cheguei a uma conclusão: você só pode ser uma "fraude" se você se permitir ser um, e haverá muitas inseguranças que surgirão para ter certeza de que sinta-se como um impostor. Ser a única mulher em cada reunião de diretoria a que fui, certamente me fez mais propenso a seguir esse caminho, mas também pode ser a prova de que é exatamente onde eu deveria estar: no topo, porque sei que não uma montanha fácil de escalar, e sabe de uma coisa? Eu vou secar minhas lágrimas - o que me lembrou da minha luta - e, em vez disso, vou apreciar a vista: ah, sim, foi um grande desafio chegar até aqui, mas é uma bela vista daqui de cima.


Posted by Vanessa Guimarães on: February 02, 2019 05:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (12)

Leadership styles: opportunities for women

Categories: leadership, women

Much has been studied about leadership styles and about the characteristics a leader should have. However, not as many studies include gender as a variable in their evaluations. Additionally, the studies that have done it differ in design, methodology and evaluations performed so though it is tempting to make an assertion about the case, it is difficult to conclude that there is a feminine leadership style in contraposition with a masculine one. Nonetheless, women have been associated more than men to exert a transformational leadership.

Transformational leadership style is often compared with the transactional style and is a model that takes into account different variables addressed separately by other leadership theories like traits, behavior, context and organizational culture that are combined in this model. Below is a brief summary and comparison of both models.



The transformational model of leadership focus on team-building, motivation and collaboration with employees to accomplish a desired change. Transformational leaders motivate and inspires employees through incentives and by providing opportunities for growth while setting goals that are aligned with the strategic vision of the organization as well as with the team and the employee’s own interests, values and needs. This style of leadership is proactive and best for turbulent or changing environments. Women are more identified with this style of leadership where cooperation, collaboration, equity and empathy are characteristics traits.

Transactional leaders, on the other hand, use disciplinary power and incentives as rewards or punishments to motivate employees to perform at their best. They are more concerned with maintaining the normal conditions and operations of the organization rather than with achieving change. This style of leadership is reactive and more suited for settled environments.

The transactional style is the traditional leadership style used extensively across different organizations for many years and it is identified with masculine traits like self- interest and competitivity, authority, control, effectiveness, etc.

Today many companies are immersed in changing and dynamic environments where the ability to response fast is highly valuable and needed to stay competitive. The traditional leadership model, based almost exclusively in increasing productivity and efficiency is being challenged. Strong hierarchized and bureaucratized organizations with specialized functional areas may not have the adequate structure for this new globalized environment.

Opportunities arise here for women who generally exert a transformational leadership style that is more suited in this scenario. Inspirational motivation, the ability to create a sense of purpose and commitment, intellectual stimulation and the creation of shared spaces for discussion and joint resolution of problems are all traits and abilities associated with feminine characteristics related to cooperation, collaboration and empathy. These characteristics are needed in organizations that required flexibility and rapid adaptation to change, where innovation and changes are not only needed but welcomed.

In summary, though is it difficult to differentiate and define a feminine leadership style it seems that women are more identified with the transformational one in which more feminine characteristics are represented. Certainly, also men could have them and exert a transformational style. Though transactional style has been the model widely accepted and used in traditional organizations, a fact that may have contributed to the under-representation of women in managerial positions, there seems to be now good perspectives for women with the values and attitudes needed to be a transformational leader.

Lastly but not less, many studies reveal that men outperform women when testing self-confidence perception. We should pay attention to this, it is time to start working on it so as to be able to fully seize every opportunity that arise.



Spanish version


Estilos de liderazgo: oportunidades para las mujeres.


Mucho se ha estudiado sobre los estilos de liderazgo y sobre las características que debe tener un líder, sin embargo, no se han realizado muchos estudios que incluyan al género como una de las variables de sus evaluaciones. Los estudios que sí lo han hecho, además, difieren en el diseño, la metodología utilizada y las evaluaciones realizadas, por lo que, si bien es tentador hacer una afirmación sobre el tema, es difícil concluir que existe un estilo de liderazgo femenino en contraposición con uno masculino. A pesar de esto, las mujeres se han asociado más que los hombres a ejercer un estilo de liderazgo del tipo transformacional.

El estilo de liderazgo transformacional normalmente se compara con el estilo transaccional y es un modelo que toma en cuenta y combina diferentes variables que han sido abordadas por separado por otras teorías de liderazgo tales como rasgos, comportamiento, contexto y cultura organizacional. A continuación, se muestra un breve resumen y comparación de ambos modelos:




El modelo de liderazgo transformacional se centra en la formación de equipos, la motivación y la colaboración con los empleados con el objetivo de lograr un cambio deseado. Los líderes transformacionales motivan e inspiran a sus seguidores a través de incentivos y brindan oportunidades de crecimiento al tiempo que establecen objetivos que están alineados con la visión estratégica de la organización, así como con el equipo y los intereses propios, valores y necesidades del colaborador. Este estilo de liderazgo es proactivo y es mejor para ambientes turbulentos o cambiantes. Las mujeres están más identificadas con este estilo de liderazgo donde la cooperación, la colaboración, la equidad y la empatía son características.

Los líderes transaccionales, por otro lado, utilizan el poder disciplinario y los incentivos como recompensas o castigos para motivar a los empleados a rendir al máximo. Están más enfocados en mantener las condiciones y operaciones normales de la organización en lugar de lograr un cambio. Este estilo de liderazgo es reactivo y más adecuado para entornos establecidos.

El estilo transaccional es el estilo de liderazgo tradicional que ha sido utilizado ampliamente en diferentes organizaciones durante muchos años y que se identifica con rasgos masculinos como el propio interés y la competitividad, la autoridad, el control, la efectividad, etc.

En la actualidad, muchas empresas se encuentran inmersas en entornos cambiantes y dinámicos donde la capacidad para dar respuestas rápidas es muy valiosa y, aún más, necesaria para mantener la competitividad. El modelo de liderazgo tradicional, basado casi exclusivamente en el aumento de la productividad y de la eficiencia, está siendo desafiado. Las organizaciones fuertemente jerarquizadas y burocratizadas, con áreas funcionales especializadas pueden no tener la estructura adecuada para este nuevo entorno globalizado. Es aquí donde surgen oportunidades para las mujeres que generalmente ejercen un estilo de liderazgo transformacional, más adecuado a este nuevo escenario.

La motivación inspiradora, la capacidad de crear un sentido de propósito y compromiso, la estimulación intelectual y la creación de espacios compartidos para el debate y la resolución conjunta de problemas son rasgos y habilidades que están asociados con características femeninas relacionadas con la cooperación, la colaboración y la empatía, características que se necesitan en organizaciones que requieren flexibilidad y rápida adaptación al cambio, donde la innovación y los cambios no solo son necesarios sino también bienvenidos.

En resumen, aunque es difícil diferenciar y definir un estilo de liderazgo femenino, pareciera ser que las mujeres se identifican más que los hombres con el estilo transformacional en el que están más representadas características femeninas. Ciertamente, también los hombres podrían tener estas habilidades y características y ejercer un estilo de liderazgo transformacional. Si bien el estilo transaccional ha sido el modelo ampliamente aceptado y utilizado en las organizaciones tradicionales, hecho que puede haber contribuido a la subrepresentación de las mujeres en puestos directivos, pareciera ser que hay ahora buenas perspectivas para las mujeres que poseen los valores y las actitudes necesarias para ser una líder transformacional.

Por último pero no menos importante, cabe notar que existen varios estudios que revelan que los hombres superan a las mujeres en su percepción de confianza en sí mismos. Deberíamos prestar atención a esto, pareciera ser hora de empezar a trabajar en esto de manera de poder aprovechar de lleno las oportunidades que se nos presentan.




-Liderazgo femenino: un modelo transformacional frente al paradigma de la organización tradicional. Thesis · September 2013. Maria Medina-Vincent. Universitat Jaume I. España

-Mujer y liderazgo en el siglo XXI: una aproximación psicosocial a los factores que dificultan el acceso de la mujer a los puestos de alta responsabilidad. Memoria Final (Abril 2009). Proyecto nº: 22/05. Investigador principal Fernando Molero Alonso. Instituto de la mujer. Secretaría General de políticas de igualdad. Ministerio de igualdad. España.

Posted by Fernanda Quinteros on: January 16, 2019 07:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (14)

A fair language to build a fairer world

Categories: leadership, women

"Language is not a mere tool through which we express and communicate our thoughts. Language makes thought – when we speak we are thinking - and at the same time, we are representing and constructing our surrounding reality. (...) The biased use of language (...) influences our attitudes, behaviors and perceptions of the world..."


From the article “Non-sexist language and barriers to its use. A study in the university environment”, University of Sevilla (1)


When analyzing journalistic notes, conversations, books, advertisements and other symbolic products, we notice the lack of awareness of the undeniable fact that we are recording certain messages biased in our minds. We seem to find it hard to notice that apart from merely speaking or writing we are forging culture.


Therefore it seems appropriate to include an article about language as a fundamental tool in Project Management. We spend many hours of our day communicating. It is one of our most important tasks and merits a conscious effort to spot possible gender biases such as prejudices, stereotypes and mandates.


In Spanish, the masculine gender is inclusive compared to the feminine gender, which happens to be the exclusive one: "Los alumnos de esta clase" includes men and women, but "Las alumnas de esta clase" excludes the males. The masculine is the default, the generic principle.[i]

According to the Real Academia Española: "The explicit mention of the female is only justified when the opposition of the sexes is relevant in the context". It is the definition of a use of the language in which women are invisible.

Concerned about the undesirable effects of this generic masculine principle which invisibilizes women, linguistic policies have been implemented in the English-speaking world, which aim at focusing on the replacement of masculine terms by neutrals. For example, the noun “fireman” has been modified so that it includes both male and female candidates to the professions. Nowadays, the neutral noun “firefighter” is preferred. This is a clear and graphic example in which the old biased role expectation (for firefighters to be men) has been replaced for a fairer noun which includes both men and women.

We must bear in mind that language is not only an instrument for us to use consciously but the medium by which we build ourselves as desiring subjects. We either aspire to something or refrain from it according to the options that our language offers us.
In certain cases, such as job descriptions, the use of a neutral language has become a legal requirement.

In my case, I should mention that when I questioned the fact that my salary receipt indicates the male noun "Jefe" [ii] and not the female "Jefa", this -innocent?- issue was not considered important by most women. This lack of awareness of the invisibility of women in certain jobs is due to our unconscious use of the language.
My decision to make my electronic signature to indicate "Jefa" (the female noun) far from whimsical, or even politically correct, is a commitment to make women visible in leadership positions. (It must be noted that -after two years- I am still struggling to get the fair print “Jefa” on my salary receipt)

We all know that full equality can only be achieved through deep cultural changes. Nevertheless, the conscious effort of younger generations to intervene language with forms such as @ or "x" or "e" should be taken as the relentless call for attention concerning the unequal state of affairs. The asymmetry regarding the possibilities of men and women in the labour market comes as an urgent concern for us all.

New measures are being implemented in the developed countries to modify the status quo that has for centuries marginalized women from positions of power, or subjected them to unequal payment. All these modifications are emerging from numerous and global social and linguistics studies which take the issue of inequality in the workforce as of paramount importance.

Language builds reality and helps transform it.Quoting the philosopher Francis Steiner (2) "What is not named does not exist".




       2. Francis George Steiner (Paris, April 23, 1929) is a writer, philosopher, and critic and theoretician of literature and culture. He is one of the most important intellectuals of international influence since the mid-20th century


[i] Both sentences in English means the same: "The students of this class" but in Spanish nouns, articles and pronouns are marked for gender

[ii] “Jefe” / “Jefa” means both “Boss”



Un lenguaje justo para construir un mundo más justo

 “El lenguaje no es una mera herramienta mediante la cual expresamos y comunicamos nuestros pensamientos. El lenguaje hace pensamiento- se piensa cuando se habla-y al mismo tiempo, representa y construye realidad. (…) El uso sesgado del lenguaje (…) influye en las actitudes, el comportamiento y las percepciones de las personas…”

Del artículo “Lenguaje no sexista y barreras a su utilización. Un estudio en el ámbito universitario”, Universidad de Sevilla (1)


Al analizar notas periodísticas, conversaciones, libros, publicidades y otros productos simbólicos, notamos la falta de concientización de que estamos grabando ciertos mensajes sesgados en nuestras mentes. Pareciera que nos cuesta tomar conciencia de que estamos forjando cultura.

Por eso me parece apropiado incluir en nuestro blog un artículo respecto al lenguaje como una herramienta fundamental en la Dirección de Proyectos. Quienes nos dedicamos a esta profesión pasamos muchas horas de nuestro día comunicando. Es una de nuestras tareas más importantes y amerita un esfuerzo consciente para detectar los posibles sesgos de género tales como prejuicios, estereotipos y mandatos.

En el español el género masculino es el inclusivo o incluyente frente al femenino marcado, que pasa a ser el género exclusivo o excluyente: "Los alumnos de esta clase" incluye a hombres y mujeres, pero "Las alumnas de esta clase" excluye a los varones. El masculino es el default, el principio genérico.
Según la Real Academia Española: “La mención explícita del femenino solo se justifica cuando la oposición de sexos es relevante en el contexto”. Es la definición de un uso de la lengua donde las mujeres están invisibles.

Atentos a los efectos indeseados de este principio del masculino genérico, en el mundo angloparlante se han enfocado en el reemplazo de términos masculinos por neutros. Por ejemplo, fireman (bombero). En este caso hoy se usa preferentemente firefighter, que es neutro. En este ejemplo queda graficada la expectativa de rol que si bien antes quedaba limitada al varón hoy en día se abre (mediante el uso del neutro) tanto a varones como a mujeres. Hay que recordar que la lengua no sólo es instrumento que usamos sino que es el medio en el que nos construimos como sujetos deseantes. Aspiramos o no a algo según las opciones que nos proponga nuestra lengua.
En ciertos casos, tal como descripciones de trabajos, se volvió un requisito legal el uso de un lenguaje neutro.

Como ejemplo personal, al mencionar que mi propio recibo de sueldo indica “Jefe” y no “Jefa”, el tema no fue considerado importante por la mayoría de las mujeres. La decisión de que mi firma electrónica indique “Jefa” es un compromiso con visibilizar a las mujeres en puestos de liderazgo, aun cuando sigo en la lucha de que esto se refleje en la descripción de mi cargo.

Más allá de que para lograr la equidad sean necesarios cambios culturales profundos, el esfuerzo consciente de las generaciones más jóvenes de intervenir el lenguaje con formas como el @ o la “x” o la “e” debería tomarse como el llamado de atención constante que estos jóvenes hacen sobre la urgencia de intervenir en otras esferas.
Apuntan a modificar el statu quo que ha mantenido durante siglos una asimetría en los puestos de poder, evidenciada por el pago desigual, la falta de mujeres en puestos directivos, el lenguaje sexista en las oficinas, y otros hechos que son hoy en día objeto de numerosos estudios en todo el mundo.

El lenguaje construye la realidad y contribuye a transformarla.
Citando al filósofo Francis Steiner (2) “Lo que no se nombra no existe”.




       2. Francis George Steiner (París, 23 de abril de 1929) es un escritor, filósofo, y crítico y teórico de la literatura y de la cultura. Se trata de uno de los intelectuales de influencia internacional más relevantes desde mediados del siglo XX

Posted by Marcela Terzi on: January 06, 2019 05:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

"I never thought much of the courage of a lion-tamer. Inside the cage he is at least safe from people."

- George Bernard Shaw



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