Six months after the launch of the “100 women in 100 days” challenge, Vanessa Guimarães — founder of the self-funded company behind this unique initiative — explains why its success underlines the need to change the conversation around women and professional development in Latin America.
Our stated goal may have been to help 100 women achieve PRINCE2® certification in 100 days, but we always knew that this campaign would be about much more than hitting a target.
So far, we have welcomed over 60 participants — including four enlightened men — to various locations around Brazil and have an additional three courses scheduled to run over the next few weeks. This means we will achieve our numerical goal, albeit within a slightly longer timeframe. But what is much more important is the fact that we have all learned a great deal along the way. And this is largely thanks to the open and honest engagement of the talented women who have taken part.
We have brought together women with different points of view and levels of experience; ranging from the very senior project manager — for whom PRINCE2 Foundation is now a requirement of the job — to those seeking to improve employment opportunities with a stronger resumé.
Yet, although these women come from different backgrounds and sectors, every one leaves with the same sense of purpose: to empower professional women in the workplace.
There have been many positive outcomes from our campaign, but there are two that particularly stand out.
Firstly, the point when many participants realize how much PRINCE2 would have helped them, had they known about it much earlier in their careers. It’s often marked by a spoken outburst of revelation!
Secondly, the sense that we are building something special. We have seen strong support, respect and friendship grow within each group. It’s a privilege to be creating this much-needed network of women who are ready and able to help each other. This organic growth means that we know we are doing something right.
Making a difference
Although this has been a hugely rewarding experience, it is important to reflect on why it is still so important to promote gender equality in Latin America. It has raised so many questions, which deserve to be answered.
Why do professional women still feel afraid to challenge the male hierarchy in their organizations? Why is there still this level of self-doubt among intelligent, capable and experienced female project managers? Why has the international response to Elas Projetam been supportive, but the same cannot be said of our domestic audience?
That’s why it’s vital we continue to challenge the status quo. We are already planning our next initiative for next year and would love to have greater engagement with international organizations who can help us shape the narrative and further our cause. So, if you have ideas, experience, and suggestions to share — or would like to get involved and can offer support or employment opportunities — please do get in touch.
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