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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Expert: Female leadership in the Caribbean is insufficient

Karina Castellanos, CEO of Grupo Eulen

By The Star Staff

Karina Castellanos, the CEO of security services provider Grupo Eulen in the Dominican Republic, said Wednesday that female leadership continues to be insufficient in the Caribbean.

Castellanos, a guest speaker at the 2022 Women Economic Forum – Caribbean, which opens today at Interamerican University of Puerto Rico’s San Juan campus, said that according to data from the 2022 United Nations Strategic Development Plan, the participation rate of women in the workforce has risen from 20% to 65%, which demonstrates significant progress. However, 78% of women in the workforce are in low-productivity jobs.

Castellanos runs the security and services division at Grupo Eulen in the Dominican Republic. The company founded in Spain in 1962 has a global presence in 14 countries and Castellanos is the first and only woman in the executive position at the company.

“My job represents a step forward for breaking the glass ceiling in upper management positions at Grupo Eulen, but there is still much to be done,” said Castellanos, who used as an example that in the Dominican Republic there exists only two institutions run by women – the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Women.

Castellanos, who has occupied a senior management position in the mining industry that is traditionally held by men in other countries in the region, said with conviction that the presence of female leadership is insufficient.

A study by the Inter-American Development Bank reveals that the glass ceiling continues in the private sector in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Of 1,259 listed companies in 31 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, only 37% have women in their business directory and 73% lack women in senior management positions, Castellanos noted.

For example, according to data from the Ministry of Economy in the Dominican Republic, of the 599,000 public sector employees, despite that more than 65% of the jobs are occupied by women, very few reach high level positions, she said.

The International Labor Organization states that the female population in Latin America and the Caribbean earn a 17% lower salary per hour compared to men, which represents another challenge for a region whose economic and social future depends greatly on it taking on feminine leadership with challenging positions.

Castellanos said Grupo Eulen is becoming a stronger advocate to boost equality in its operations. At a global level, 54% of the multinational company´s 90,000 employees are women.

Another reality that continues to demonstrate inequality among men and women is the salary gap. Gender equality and diversity are topics that are taken seriously. Since Grupo Eulen arrived in the Dominican Republic in 2000, salaries have been equal for men and women who occupy the same position, both in security and services, Castellanos said.

“We are a company in the Dominican Republic tied closely with corporate governance in favor of our employees,” she said. “Our salaries are the most competitive in the country and the women get training workshops, which helps keep staff turnover at 2%.”

Castellanos said the promotion of women should serve as a roadmap for gender equality as part of a comprehensive policy framework in the public and private sectors, and should be included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Global Goals.

“The public-private alliances in the Dominican Republic and Law No. 47-20 created a solid base for the development of projects where social sustainability and equality are a priority,” the executive said. “Regulation and institutionalism have positioned the country above other countries like Costa Rica. Now the important part is execution.”

Law enforcement regulations of Law No. 47-20 for Public-Private Partnerships established by the decree 434-20 has an objective to promote investments in the country to contribute to economic development.

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