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Women in Leadership: Insights & Challenges


Jackie Nespral, News Anchor, NBC Universal 
H.E. Andrea Villagrán, Congresswoman, Congress of the Republic of Guatemala

Key takeaways & next steps:

  • Unless women are elevated to positions of power via equal political representation, decisions impacting women’s reproductive rights, education, and access to critical resources will continue to be made by others.
  • Women already occupying positions of power have a responsibility to impress upon young women that—despite structural obstacles—they too have the capacity and right to occupy positions of power and influence across the public and private sectors.
  • The private sector must take proactive steps to open up positions to female candidates, as this will encourage cross-sector representation.
  • Violence against women remains a chronic issue of concern in the region, with worrying rates of domestic violence and human trafficking taking place. This is coupled with growing rates of unplanned pregnancies for many young women who lack financial capacity.
  • More emphasis should be placed on educating young girls and boys. Better access to sex education would raise awareness around the challenges associated with unplanned pregnancies, for example. Separately, as the legal system can never completely prevent violence against women, a seismic cultural shift is needed to dissuade this behavior, and education can play a key role here.
  • The troubling rates of corruption internal to the governments of nations such as Guatemala are intrinsically connected to ongoing violence and discrimination against women, as organized crime and the narcotics trade naturally exacerbate such problems.

“Representation in leadership positions is so important.”


Jackie Nespral, News Anchor, NBC Universal

“We have to fight for the rights that we earned.”

H.E. Andrea Villagrán, Congresswoman, Congress of the Republic of Guatemala