This coming March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a time to reflect on the progress women have made in various aspects of society, especially in the workplace. In this regard, it’s important to highlight certain fields that have historically been dominated by men but have seen more equitable participation in recent years.

In the legal world, specifically within the currently popular startup and Fintech industries, the low representation of women in legal rankings is striking, where recognitions are still predominantly led by male lawyers. An example of this can be seen in the latest Fintech ranking for Chile by Chambers and Partners, a leading London-based company in global legal rankings that evaluates the best law firms in 185 countries. In the 2024 Fintech category, out of a total of 14 recognized professionals, only 3 are women, with Consuelo Mackenna being one of them. She is a partner in the corporate department of Apparcel Uriarte Abogados (www.apparcel.cl), advising various companies, including startups and Fintechs.

“While being part of these rankings is not the sole determinant of professionalism and prestige for lawyers, it could serve to differentiate them from their peers and increase job opportunities in the sector they operate in, especially in the startup ecosystem, where appearing in rankings could facilitate the generation of opportunities. This is even more relevant in companies founded by foreigners, who may not necessarily be familiar with Chilean regulations or know local lawyers specialized in certain areas,” explains Consuelo Mackenna, one of the few female leaders present in Venture Capital and Fintech rankings, who has experienced these changes firsthand.

Within these measurements, where female presence is scarce, the results of rankings published by The Legal 500, another important law firm evaluation company based in the UK, in the aforementioned categories, are noteworthy. In the Venture Capital category for the year 2024, only 2 women appear among a total of 11 outstanding lawyers. Similarly, Leaders League, in its 2024 Fintech ranking, highlights only 7 women out of a total of 40 professionals; the same evaluation is provided by the same company for the 2024 Venture Capital category, where out of 41 outstanding professionals, only 5 are women.

But despite understanding the importance for law firms to be listed in these rankings, the job opportunities that can arise from being listed, and how both are doubly significant in the case of women, they are still underrepresented in these areas, as well as in leadership positions, a situation that is gradually being addressed.

“Every day, more women are taking on senior management roles or becoming partners and directors of law firms, not because companies want to meet quotas for reputational reasons, but because they have realized the tremendous contribution that women make to the sector. Currently, I find it difficult to think of any legal team that does not have women; in fact, most leading lawyers in these fields have female lawyers in their teams; they not only recognize that women make a very positive contribution to the advice they provide but strategically seek to add more female lawyers,” expresses Mackenna.

Companies Driving Female Talent

Those who must contribute to creating these changes and improving the working environment for women are the companies themselves, who have the responsibility to promote equality and eliminate gender biases, creating a fair and equitable environment. “Highlighting and recognizing the talents of women is not only ethical but also contributes to building an inclusive and diverse corporate culture. There is tremendous potential and talent available, which translates into greater innovation, creativity, and problem-solving,” details Consuelo, a duty that all types of companies, including startups, have.

Finally, Mackenna emphasizes the need to continue working to promote the inclusion of female lawyers, detailing that there are “mentoring and professional development programs specifically for women, and the need for clear policies regarding the requirements for continuing to grow within the same company regardless of gender, as well as working towards the visibility of female leaders in the profession, through talks, seminars, among others.”

In conclusion, International Women’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on the progress and challenges facing women in the workplace, especially in fields historically dominated by men, such as the legal sector and emerging industries like startups and Fintech. Despite the progress made in terms of recognition and female representation, data shows that there is still a significant gap in the presence of women in leadership positions and professional recognition. Only through collective efforts and inclusive policies can true progress towards gender equality in the workplace be achieved.

Link to this new: https://www.diarioestrategia.cl/texto-diario/mostrar/4749400/abogadas-lideres-mundo-startups-faltan-mujeres-rankings-internacionales

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