Women in Leadership: Miosotis Rivas Peña, "As women we have prepared ourselves to exert power on an equal footing with men and we must be considered for it".

Economist Miosotis Rivas Peña, General Director of the National Statistics Office of the Dominican Republic, tells us how she faces the challenge of mainstreaming gender in the production of statistics, the importance of empowering more women to occupy public posts and the elements required to advance towards women's autonomy. As part of her extensive professional career, one of her main achievements is to have promoted, along with the Ministers of the Council of Ministers of Central America and the Dominican Republic (COMMCA) and the team of its Technical Secretariat, the first regional policy on gender equality and equity (PRIEG) of the Central American Integration System, which serves as a reference framework for gender mainstreaming in the integration process in the region.

Date: Friday, April 30, 2021

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Why is it important for women to lead?

It seems to me that there are several reasons, but I would like to list the following: first, because we must help visibilize the contribution of women in the development of our countries and communities.This will contribute to change the patriarchal social imaginary that has been built and that has made the role played by women in our societies invisible.

Second, because of the strength that diversity offers. In a world full of opportunities, conceiving the future only from one perspective, that of men, would not leave us facing a truncated development that only counts on half of our populations.

Third, because it is only fair and not only because we are 50% of the population, but because as women, we have been concerned to prepare ourselves to exert power equally with men and we must be considered for it.

As Director of the National Statistics Office of the Dominican Republic, what differentiating elements do you bring to your position?

My professional career has been characterized by visibilizing the role of cross-cutting issues, both women's rights and the role of MSMEs in the development of countries. This has allowed me to develop a series of strategic and managerial skills, but also of inter-institutional articulation, which today I can put at the disposal of such a critical issue as statistics, which play a crucial role in decision making and, in the design, and evaluation of public policies. This is a cross-cutting issue that we must put at the center of both public and private decision-making.

Why is it important to have more women in positions like yours?

From an institutional perspective, it allows us to bring the gender perspective to the heart of public policies, to demonstrate that it is possible to carry out an exercise that contributes to the mainstreaming of gender equality in institutional work.

From a personal perspective, we need more women who are aware of patriarchal constructions and who deliberately decide to promote the leadership of women close to them. Only in a conscious way does one not allow oneself to be carried away by the inertia of thinking that if one could achieve a position like mine, other women can also achieve it.

I know it is difficult, I know the decisions involved and I am committed because I have lived them in first person to leave the road paved for the women who come after me (...) Empowerment is first individual, but if it is not collective, it will never be complete.

What do you think your country could do to encourage more women in public office?

From where I am now, it is to offer decision-makers statistics that allow them to understand the situation, condition, and position of women in the social, economic, political, and institutional spheres, so that they can design public policies that address these realities.

How important is the quota system and why is it important? Is it sufficient or should it be more egalitarian?

As we know, quotas are an instrument of affirmative action to correct inequalities. Their main function is to correct inequality, which on many occasions has been historical and, in the case of women, has kept them out of the scenario of power, such as the branches of government or, for example, management positions in companies.