The empowerment of women in Latin America's jewelry, diamond and gemstone sectors came under the spotlight at a special seminar, organized as part of the Second Latin American Diamond and Jewelry Week (LADJW) at the World Jewelry Hub in Panama City.
Some 50 women from multiple countries joined in the round-table discussion. They hailed from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Turkey, Romania, Italy and Panama. All are owners of important brands in their home nations.
The seminar was moderated by two WJH executives: Ali Pastorini, Senior Vice President of both the World Jewelry Hub and its resident diamond and gemstone exchange, the World Jewelry & Diamond Hub, Panama; and Judy Meana, Vice President of the bourse.
"We work in a business where the primary end-consumers are women," said Ms. Pastorini in her presentation to the seminar. "Does it not make sense that we should have more women in key positions? Would that not make the business stronger?"
"I am proud to say that at the World Jewelry Hub, the story is different. Of the three vice presidents in our senior management team, two of us are women," she continued. "We also have a group of talented and competent women on our staff, just as we have talented and competent men."
The meeting covered a wide range of topics, all converging on the theme of elevating the role and influence of women in the various sectors that comprise the jewelry and gemstone industry in Latin America. It was agreed that, for the benefit of future generations, multinational cooperation is essential, and that more meetings of this sort should be held in the future, to monitor progress, to plan strategy and discuss specific programs. On a more general note, the women discussed ensuring integrity and transparency in the business.
"There is tendency on the part of people outside of Latin America, and even in the region, to see ourselves as behind the developed world. But today we are seated in the world's youngest diamond, gemstone and jewelry exchange, which also happens to be first and only one of its type in Latin America," said Ms Pastorini.
She referred to a recent study conducted by Mercer, one of the world's leading human resource consultants, which reviewed gender equality in the workplace. "Right now, according to the study, only 17 percent of Latin America executives are women, which isn't a statistic for us to be proud of," Ms Pastorini said. "But this is the only region in the world that, according to the study, is likely to approach gender equality at the professional level and above by 2025. If trends continue as are right now, 44 percent of all business executives in Latin America are likely to be women nine years from now."