Embaixatriz Kim Sawyer on gender equality

Kim Sawyer, second from right, at the Inspiring Women conference

Kim Sawyer, the wife of Ambassador Robert Sherman, was invited to be one of the four panelists on “Women in Entrepreneurship and Engineering” at the Frontiers Initiative before an audience of 40 people.
The Frontiers Initiative is a “space” created at the Nova University Faculty of Science and Technology library that includes a panel discussion three to four times a year, and includes a wide-range of challenging topics and plural/open discussions. This time the panel focused on women in the business world, and specifically on the fields of entrepreneurship and engineering. The panel was comprised of the Ambassador’s wife and entrepreneur Kim Sawyer, entrepreneur Mónica Pedro, engineer Dulce Pássaro, and engineer Paulina Martins; and counted with engineer Ana Ricardo as the moderator.
The panelists shared their own experiences in the work force, the difficulties they had faced, and discussed their realities in their different fields. By looking at the numbers, in the majority of fields, the number of female engineers is still scarce in comparison to their male counterparts. Regarding the situation of women in business and entrepreneurship, the reality is not fairer when looking at top leadership positions.
All panelists agreed that this is a social issue and it needs to be addressed as an important subject to be discussed and changed, a good place to start being culture. Culture is one of the biggest factors in contributing to the perpetuation of gender bias. The culture within companies is something that can be highly impactful on the participation of women, and the creation of stereotypes will most likely deter women from reaching for higher positions within companies. The change in culture comes from the top, and according to Mercer’s When Women Thrive Study, only 52% of organizations believe their board members are engaged in Diversity & Inclusion (D&I activities).