It is no secret that women have unfortunately been the underdogs of the workplace for decades but it has only recently come to light that women earn much less than men doing the same job and that there are certain standards a woman must hold in the workplace that men do not. In fact, a study conducted in 2015 showed that for every dollar a full-time male employee earned, women employees made 80 cents. In other words, women make around 20% less than their male counterparts. Not only do women earn less in the workplace, but women are also subject to much more critique about their appearance at the office, prompting both women and men to speak out on unfair dress codes. It seems as though women have the short end of the stick when it comes to work.
Though our goals for the future should definitely not be a battle of the sexes, companies and powerful influencers everywhere are striving for career equality and equal treatment for women in the workplace. Two such people wanting to provide women with equal work and professional opportunities are Lucienne Gigante and Carlos Cobian, who are the founders and organizers of the Animus Summit, an event dedicated to women’s innovation. The event is scheduled for Friday, September 30 at the Caribe Hilton Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
What is the Animus Summit?
Last year, Lucienne Gigante and Carlos Cobian gathered a group of powerful women to talk about their experiences in their fields, ranging from business management to politics and even arts. The event was so successful that soon a second edition of the event was in the works. What made this event different from many others? It was dedicated exclusively to Puerto Rican women, to empower and teach them about management, leadership and entrepreneurial mindsets.
But why is it important to promote the advancement of women in the workplace? If you’ve been to any campus at the University of Puerto Rico, you will notice that there are more female students than there are male. In fact, the total number of enrolled women in the Río Piedras Campus during this academic year is 9,441. That means that the campus is composed of 61% female students. In other words, more and more women are preparing for careers in business, the arts, politics, and law. This means that, in a couple of years, women in Puerto Rico should be dominating most careers. However, studies show that there are still less women running companies—only 23 Fortune 500 companies are lead by female CEOs.
Noting these imbalances on the Island, Lucienne Gigante and Carlos Cobian teamed up to form the Animus Summit: Women’s Innovation Journey. In an interview with the Huffington Post, Lucienne Gigante states, “Investing massively in women economic development can truly be a key solution for Puerto Rico to thrive out of its long-term recession.”
This year’s edition of Gigante and Cobian’s Summit is particularly special since it will feature a very diverse and unique group of women who will share their experiences and strive to empower fellow female attendees. One of the speakers for the event this Friday is Hon. Sonia Sotomayor, the first Puerto Rican appointed Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Other participants include Giselle Blondet, Lisa Capalli, Mayra Santos-Febres, Cristina Sumaza and Anette Villant, among others. You can check out more about the Animus Speakers here. Before the event, you can also arrange to stop by mentor booths, where you can personally chat with professionals of different fields from public relations to business management and even screenwriting. This gives the participants the ability to network and get to know some of the speakers on a personal level.
“The mission behind Animus is to prove that having more business women embrace their leadership skills, at a personal and professional level, will result in great success and growth, both for their businesses and at a macro level, for our country,” Carlos Cobian told the Huffington Post.
Want to be a part of the 2016 Animus: Women’s Innovation Journey?
Initially the event was completely sold out last Friday but, fortunately, the event’s organizers managed to open up more spaces for people still wanting to purchase tickets. You can buy tickets for this Friday’s event here! Students (with valid academic id) can get tickets for as low as $75.03 while general admission is $169.48. VIP tickets are on sale for $223 and include an exclusive invitation to attend Thursday’s cocktail party with speakers and sponsors of the event. You can also get involved by volunteering for this Friday’s event.
If you want to learn more about Animus Summit and their work, check out their website here!
Lucienne Gigante and Carlos Cobian’s efforts to advance women’s personal and professional lives should serve as inspiration for us to strive for more equality at work, in schools and in our Island. Let’s work together to make Puerto Rico better!
Viviana Del Manzano
Puerto Rico Global Blog Writer & Contributor