On Thursday, 25 June 2020, the Alliance for Integrity celebrated its first Integrity Coffee for businesswomen in Colombia. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the event was carried out online, which allowed more women to participate. Thanks to the current circumstances and the incredible support of the Colombian Global Compact Network, Lemaitre – a local consulting firm, and Bogotá’s Chamber of Commerce (CCB), the event received an amazing response.
Given the great number of registrants, the participants were divided into two groups that worked simultaneously: one group specifically for businesswomen and female entrepreneurs and a second one that included women that work in compliance, e.g. compliance officers, but also women that have an interest in integrity and transparency measures. This decision allowed to include everyone who registered and helped to protect the intimacy and confidence that arises in smaller groups.
Both groups discussed and shared experiences on how corruption affects women in a specific way, addressing the challenges they face and how to overcome them. The session was oriented towards businesswomen and female entrepreneurs seeking to better understand their existing issues and obstacles. The event further aimed at identifying good practices that women can replicate in their own businesses in order to promote integrity and prevent corruption.
In the group of female business leaders and entrepreneurs, the interventions were more personal and intimate. The participants reported their first-hand experiences with corruption cases and the challenges they face due to their gender. At the end of the session, many participants shared some good practices that have been implemented in their own businesses to counter these negative effects.
Parallelly, in the group of women in compliance, the discussion revolved around the challenges that women face, but the participants were also eager to share good practices, tools and ways in which women can fight back against the differentiated impact that corruption has on them.
As one participant said: “It is very important to listen to the experiences of other women, to get together to fight against corruption and to increase integrity.” Therefore, the opportunities that arise by having female entrepreneurs and female compliance experts working towards a shared goal are more than notable.
The participants were enthusiastic for a second edition of the Integrity Coffee in Colombia. In the meantime, the Alliance for Integrity will analyse the results of this successful first meeting, to propose an agenda for the second session and a workplan to create a successful collective action between both groups.
Author: Kevin Oskar Pöll Garduño