Essential information

Ongoing leadership
Sophisticated talent
Entrepreneural Enviroment
A Latin American hub

InvestChile highlights foreign investment’s contribution to gender equality in Chile

11 November, 2016

The director of the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (InvestChile), together with government authorities for the Los Ríos Region, drew attention to the contribution made by multinational companies.

In a meeting in the city of Valdivia, the director of InvestChile, Carlos Álvarez, spoke about the work undertaken together with local bodies to promote foreign investment in southern Chile’s Los Ríos Region and underscored the best practices that international companies bring to the country, particularly as regards gender equality.

Speaking at a seminar on “Foreign Investment, Work and Gender Equality in Chile”, Álvarez drew attention to the country’s new approach to the attraction of foreign investment, noting that “in the case of the Los Ríos Region, we are working to support and serve as a vehicle for the promotion of opportunities that the Region itself has identified, doing so in coordination with the local authorities, in sectors that are relevant not only for the Region but also for the country as a whole”. He added that “we want foreign investment to make a positive difference and to contribute to the Region’s development, harnessing its competitive advantages and helping to close the gaps that may exist.”

Álvarez also noted that “multinational companies bring with them management practices that include gender issues”. This is particularly valuable, he added, in the context of the country’s development policy, emphasizing that “if we want to progress in development, we also have to make significant progress on gender equality.”

The regional representative (SEREMI) of the Economy Ministry, Ana María Bravo, also spoke at the seminar, indicating that “it is crucial to attract high-quality foreign investment that fosters gender equality in the Region”. This stance was also underlined by the regional director of the National Service for Women (SERNAM), Paula Cárdenas, who pointed out that the aim is for “more women to participate in economic development and in companies’ decision-making”.

Other speakers at the seminar included the regional director of the ProChile export promotion agency, Marcelo Vera, who talked about the Women Export Program, underlining the high level of participation of micro-enterprises and SMEs led by women in the initiatives promoted by the agency. “Women account for some 30% of Chilean exports by individuals,” he reported.

Policies with a gender approach

During the seminar, representatives of Ocean Spray and Sodexo talked about their companies’ experience in Chile and the benefits of implementing gender policies.

Felipe Valenzuela, vice-president for operations at US-based Ocean Spray, which has operations in the town of Lanco in the Los Ríos Region, drew attention to his company’s integration policies, indicating that it has eliminated wage differences between men and women and seeks to counteract gender stereotyping. In addition, the company seeks to foster the conciliation of family and working life, offering a flexible working day for mothers. “We encourage the incorporation of women into our activity and have policies with a gender approach; these are practices Ocean Spray promotes globally and that we have also implemented in Chile,” he said.

Sodexo Chile was one of the first companies to apply and obtain certification under Chilean norm NCH3262 which seeks to foster gender balance and the conciliation of working, family and personal life. It has, in addition, been awarded SERNAM’s Iguala Seal.

Wenceslao Caro, coordinator of diversity and inclusion at the French company, talked about this experience, indicating that “people are at the heart of our operations and this means we place great emphasis on diversity and inclusion; our most important focus is on gender because we believe that the conciliation of personal, family and professional life is important, not only for the business but also for all the people who make up the company”.