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SANTIAGO wall by SEBA CENER

Debunking stereotypes

Liliana Pons

Consumer Industries Principal

For Liliana, working in a company that promotes diversity is fundamental. When she was 11, her father had a stroke and became hemiplegic. This incident would forever change their lives and make her see the world through a different lens. Earlier than most, Liliana discovered the stigmas that society imposes on anyone who strays from what is considered standard.

After the stroke, Liliana's mother had to take the lead. “Our family was very traditional, and she was forced to face a new role beyond what society prescribed for her," she said. Liliana's mother took over her husband’s business and struggled to ensure her children always had the best education within reach.

This is how Liliana discovered how strong women actually are and learned that the gender limitations she had heard of before weren’t real.

It's not right to raise girls to be vulnerable. That is exactly what makes them vulnerable when they are grown-ups, as we see in the rise of femicide throughout Latin America. That’s the problem with stereotypes.

At home, there had never been any distinctions between her, her sister, and her brother. She became a strong supporter of gender equity. Although they were all equals in her family, she soon realized that the labor market was quite different. Liliana found a way to help change that reality through the Business Women's Network, an SAP employee network group designed to strengthen professional development.

Drag the mouse to check out the before and after pictures of Liliana's wall.

In Chile, the network saw the light of day by the end of 2016. Currently, they are in the process of diagnosing inequality and drawing up an action plan. In addition, they are planning to work with other companies to share best practices and host awareness campaigns on the subject.

In her personal life, with her husband and children, equality is also the rule.

I'm surprised every time I hear people say that my husband is so nice for helping me with the household chores. We are partners. He does not ‘help me;’ everything is fair between us.

Just like her parents did when she was a kid, Liliana doesn’t make any distinctions either between her children, Sofia, Thiago and Agustin. Everyone has the same responsibilities and plays with the same toys. In addition, they always discuss equality and respect towards women.

Another experience that enriched Liliana's thoughts about diversity was a change of scenery. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she moved to Santiago, Chile, in 2009. “Although Chile is not very far away from Argentina, our cultures are very different. Being culturally sensitive helps us grow," she said. Her children attend an international secular school and interact with diverse types of people.

Liliana has been working for SAP for the last 18 years. “Cultural diversity is of utmost importance. We speak with colleagues and clients from all over the world. There is a great opening for different people and situations," she said. “You are born in a certain country, with a certain culture. Then you realize that the world is so much bigger than that, and so is diversity,” she added, hoping that this diversity will be reflected in different spheres, both inside and outside of the job market.

Address of graffiti art: 1843, Salvador Ave, Ñuñoa | Santiago, Chile