24 March 2002 19:44 [Source: ICIS news]
SAN ANTONIO, Texas (CNI)--Women professionals in the Latin American petrochemicals industry have to work "very hard" to achieve top positions, but an increasing number of women are moving into leadership roles, an industry executive said here.
Graciela Gonzalez Rosas, the first woman executive director of the Latin American Petrochemicals Association (APLA), told CNI that while there were few women chemical engineers when she entered the field 25 years ago, "more and more women are in the petrochemicals industry now and more women are holding prominent positions in the industry."
"Women have to work very hard to achieve executive and professional positions in the Latin American chemicals industry," she said. "We women have to demonstrate that we can do more than the very best among our male colleagues in order to advance our careers."
But Gonzalez Rosas said she has found no salary disparity between men and women professionals in the Latin American petrochemicals business. Wage disparity is a problem for women at the blue-collar level, she said, but not in professional and executive ranks.
She said women professionals often chose to devote time to their families rather than accept a promotion or assignment that would interfere with their family obligations. That decision will impact a woman professional’s career development and compensation, she noted. "But we must after all continue the human race!" she said.
Gonzalez Rosas held executive positions with Dow Chemical and YPF Repsol in Argentina and most recently was with the Argentine Ministry of Energy before being named executive director of Buenos Aires-headquartered APLA in January 2001.
She noted that when she was a chemical engineering student 28 years ago, "there were very few women in that field." But some eight years ago when she taught college courses in Buenos Aires, she said she was pleased to see that the number of women studying chemical engineering had grown to 30-49% of the student population.
"In the next ten to fifteen years you will see many more women in senior management positions in this industry," she said.
Gonzalez Rosas spoke with CNI at the 27th annual International Petrochemicals Conference (IPC) here. Sponsored by the Washington, DC-based National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), the IPC begins today and continues through Tuesday.
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