Listen, Be Humble, and Support: A Man’s Perspective on Women’s Empowerment

Any conversation about women’s empowerment must also involve men. Men play a huge role in empowering women.

We asked 2016 YLAI Fellow from Mexico Germán Santillan Ugarte, CEO and founder of Oaxacanita Chocolate, what men can do to support entrepreneurial women.

  1. What can men do to be an ally for women’s empowerment?

Germán Santillan UgarteFirst of all, all men on Earth have the obligation to see women as equal. If we as men don’t recognize the real value of a woman, we can’t speak about women’s empowerment.

Secondly, I am developing a project in one of the poorest regions in México (the Mixteca region of Oaxaca) where most women are not considered as good workers. We give them the opportunity to have a job and the results are epic: Women are not only responsible, but they are changing their own houses and families, teaching their own husbands that they have the skills to work on their own.

With this I am trying to say that a good ally for women’s empowerment is the one who decides to bet on women by letting them participate in companies, and even more, letting them participate in the taking of decisions of the company. 

And last, men have to listen, be more humble and support the decisions and the ideas of women that show up their own value!

  1. Why is it important to have women leaders in the economy? In politics?

I am not on the side of only having more women in economics or politics just for having them in those positions. The same with men.

I am more on the side of developing a better system to choose good profiles that could cover important political and economic positions without considering gender equality.

With this I am saying that no matter if we have more women participating in politics or economics or we have more men participating in those sectors, what really matters is that we have to choose the best people to cover those jobs.

In México, it is very sad to see that a person can reach an important political or economic position just because he or she has friends or contacts that help them to get the job. And as a result, the progress in my country has been slowed down and we can’t reach better conditions for all.

  1. How can you empower a female entrepreneur?img_6868

In my country, I am giving conferences and workshops about entrepreneurship in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca. I am encouraging women to take the risk, to believe in their own ideas and also to work for a better community, because if we have a better community we will have a better country and a better world.

With Oaxacanita Chocolate (the company where I am the CEO and founder and the reason I am a YLAI Fellow), we are supporting women artisan cooks and palm craftswomen to give them a job that can help them to cover some personal and family needs.

I am also the communication manager of Iluminarte: Espacio Creativo, a place where we support local artists of the Mixteca to show their own works. Most of them are women.

And, finally, with Sanfri Refrigeración Comercial, the company where I am the finance director, we encourage women to create their own businesses.