Figures relating to gender parity at the most senior levels of business in T&T are not encouraging. Although there is gender parity up to middle management, at the C-suite level the ratio falls to less than 25 per cent female participation, according to data released by AmCham T&T yesterday.
The business group said it is taking tangible steps to reduce gender inequality and increase the representation of female leadership at executive and board levels, including through its Women in Leadership Mentorship Programme held in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
This initiative, now in its second cycle, pairs 21 female mentees with mentors from AmCham T&T and the IDB professional network locally and in Washington DC.
AmCham T&T president Patricia Ghany said: “Using the feedback from the many women who attended our annual Women’s Leadership Conference over the years, we realised that one area that needed to be addressed was the lack of mentorship for women in business.
“We believe that diversity and gender balance are integral to innovation and economic growth. This initiative is designed to facilitate mutually beneficial relationships, enabling both parties to be enriched professionally and personally, invigorating their commitment to their respective careers and allowing participants to further develop their capacity as proficient and effective leaders.”
Ghany said mentoring makes a difference, especially for women. She added that the mentorship programme was conceptualised in 2017, and the pilot began in 2018 with just six mentees. After only one year the programme has grown, with the 21 mentees being paired with mentors in the areas of Economics, Science, Technology and Occupational Health and Safety.
This year’s conference theme is Balance For Better and it will feature international speakers Roopa Unnikrishnan, Head Strategy at Harman and international bestselling author of the Career Catapult, as well as Suzy Teele, Head of Marketing and Communication for Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing.
Local speakers include Trade Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon; Claire Fitzpatrick, Regional President BP T&T; Stephen Bagnarol, Senior Vice President & Managing Director
Scotiabank T&T; social inclusion consultant Shamla Maharaj, founder of AbNormal Progress; and fashion designer Anya Ayoung Chee.