Capta 63 Graduation
Why do we do what we do?
Throughout the world, there is vast evidence to demonstrate the existence of inequality in the labor market that disadvantages women, evidenced by lower conditions of well-being in terms of levels of hierarchy, income, and harassment, among others.
The gender gap is not narrowing, according to the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report 2022. The Gender Gap Index analyzes the division of resources and opportunities between men and women in 155 countries. It measures the size of the gap regarding participation in the economy, skilled work, politics, access to education, and life expectancy. At the current rate, it will take another 132 years to close the global gender gap1. As new crises emerge and current ones deepen, women's workforce continues to be affected, and the risk of global gender parity reversing is further intensified.
In the overall index, Latin America and the Caribbean ranks third among all regions, after North America and Europe. The region has closed 72.6% of the gender gap, an increase of almost 0.4 percentage points since the previous edition2. Based on the current rate of progress, it is estimated that Latin America and the Caribbean will close their gender gap in 67 years.
However, Panama is far from being the best example of the region. Although there was an improvement in the global ranking (stepping from position 46 to 40), Panama still maintains a gender gap of 74.3%3. As a result of the pandemic, in 2019, the percentage of economically active women was 10 points below the Latin American average (55%). It decreased another 8 points in 2021 (47.3%), according to reports from the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC). At the local level, the percentage of women participating in employment lost 2 points in those two years, from 42% of the country's labor force to 40%4. Considering that data tends to analyze formal jobs, we can agree that the situation implies much more complexity for those who maintain an unsteady and informal income.
At Fundación Calicanto, we recognize the adversity that the data above reveals. Yet we also focus on identifying and accompanying the strength of all those women who approach our organization to receive training and new learnings, with the hope of prospering personally and economically. In 2022, the percentage of women seeking training to start a business or find a better job has increased significantly. Strength, desire, and commitment cannot be ignored and must be accompanied by education and proper support. Appropriate training is what makes it possible for more and more women to fend for themselves. It is what will help them achieve the life they deserve while also being able to provide a more prosperous future for their families.
An encouraging fact is that, in Panama, 30% of businesses are created by women5. In our training, 98% of the women enrolled come with a business idea or an ongoing business. Only 1% of them arrive with a clear plan or vision they might follow to achieve their goals. At the start of each course, they have yet to have an economic program for their project, mainly because of the uncertainty and economic vulnerability that burden them. Additionally, in the current post-pandemic context, higher levels of education and training will be required for the labor market, especially in a country where more than 40% of jobs have disappeared, and the prospect of recovery is still uncertain.
Our CAPTA training program aims to accompany all women in developing their potential through a comprehensive training proposal that includes psychology topics to improve self-esteem and acquire knowledge, skills, and essential tools to obtain a job or build their businesses. The course has helped me a lot to improve my self-esteem. It has helped us all to improve ourselves and to believe in ourselves, to believe that it is possible¨, said Yamileth during her graduation ceremony for the CAPTA 63 class. Attitude and a genuine feeling that one is capable are essential since women's most significant challenges in this arena are the prejudices and resistance that still exist toward being included with dignity in the work market.
Our program Agentes de Cambio (Agents of Change), dedicated to promoting female empowerment and the eradication of gender-based violence against women, obtains excellent support and commitment from those who join the program from the group of agents each year. These women's groups are a crucial part of our system framework since they can replicate critical messages in their communities and reach places or audiences where the organization has no reach. They are spokespersons for their rights, accompanying other women through their healing and empowerment journeys. They are the light on the path of many women who are still figuring out how to take the first step to escape from the circle of vulnerability that takes hold of them. ¨We are the first support for women who want to get out of the process of violence; we are the shelter for desperate women who want to run away. Thanks to the fact that we are trained to walk along with them, we have become an essential piece for the community¨, says Kennya about her experience as an Agente de Cambio in 2022.
Our commitment is more vital than ever in a global context where numbers are discouraging. We try to tackle this complex problem through different angles and the edges of the problem and focus on guiding and strengthening all those women who show up and say "I can" and those willing to try. We believe in the ripple effect of our work, and we know that it will help reduce the local and global gender gap.
1 World Economic Forum. Global Gender Gap Report (Julio, 2022) .https://www.weforum.org/reports/global-gender-gap-report-2022/in-full
2 Mujeres 360. Informe Global sobre brecha de género 2022 (Julio, 2022). https://mujeres360.org/publicaciones/wef-informe-global-de-brecha-de-genero-2022/
3 Datos Macro. Indice Global de la brecha de Género (2022). https://datosmacro.expansion.com/demografia/indice-brecha-genero-global
4 Martes Financiero. Mujeres estarían más capacitadas para enfrentar el mercado laboral (Marzo, 2022 )https://www.martesfinanciero.com/voz-calificada/mujeres-estarian-mas-capacitadas-para-enfrentar-el-mercado-laboral/
5 Martes Financiero. Impulsan el emprendimiento femenino en Panamá (Mayo, 2022). https://www.martesfinanciero.com/relieve/impulsan-el-emprendimiento-femenino-en-panama/
Capta 63 student during job interview training
CAPTA 63 group
Agentes de Cambio 2022