Dr. Rosalía Arteaga Serrano studied Journalism and Anthropology, completed her doctorate studies in Law and is a practicing lawyer. Her political carrier began in 1992 when she was the deputy minister for culture. Two years later she became the minister for education, culture and sport. Following this she was then Vice President, and finally in 1997 she became the first female President of Ecuador. Dr. Arteaga is the author of numerous scientific publications and magazine articles and from 2004 to 2008 she was member of the editorial board for Encyclopedia Britannica. For her work, Dr. Arteaga has received numerous honours including the grand cross of the Order of Rio Branco, the highest award given by the Brazilian government.
She is interviewed by Hollie Weatherstone.
It was wonderful to hear you speak at the Economic Youth Forum in Poland this year, you were the first woman I heard speak on stage at the conference. Only eight out of a total of 59 speakers at this conference were women. Why do you think this is the case?
Wow, that is terrible representation, I had no idea. There obviously weren’t enough women invited unfortunately.
It is a well known fact that across Europe alongside many other regions in the world, girls and women are outdoing boys and men in school and university in almost all subjects including those stereotypically male-oriented subjects such as maths and science. Nevertheless, when making the transition from education to the workforce there exist many inequalities including pay gaps, discrimination and glass ceilings. Why do you think this is the case?
Is it because women are less intelligent than men or is it because they have fewer opportunities? The workforce is a difficult place for women. Politics, the area I work within, is definitely less accessible for women. So much is expected of women these days; they must have a career and raise a family. Despite the expectations being so high, far less recognition is given to the work that is done by women. It will be interesting to see how many nominees for Nobel Prizes will be women this year.
Do you think that in regards to entrepreneurship, business and life in general, women take fewer risks than men?
Definitely. Women cannot afford to. They have too many responsibilities such as family to think about so they have to be more careful and weigh-up the possible consequences. They need to take out large portions of time from their careers to have children. This is something they shouldn’t miss out on as it’s important to live a full life.
Do you think that men should become more involved in childcare and domestic work in the home?
Yes, I think men should take more time out from work and should be allocated more paternity pay as it is unfair on them to miss out on spending time with their children and home life. This would also, of course, make things easier to balance for women.
Lastly, do you have any advice for young women today who are hoping to becoming involved in politics or business?
1. Work very, very hard.
2. Believe that you can do anything you want.
Hollie Weatherstone is the young enterprise editor for the3rdimagazine.