Gepubliceerd op 15 maart 2023

Commemoration of International Women Day 2023

On Tuesday 14 March, Holland House Mexico, together with the Belgian Mexican Business Chamber (BMBC), and the Embassy of Belgium in México and Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Mexico Netherlands in Mexico, hosted an event in commemoration of International Women's Day 2023, titled “Conversations & Testimonials by & for Women”.

During the event, participants were challenged to engage in conversation on topics including female leadership, balancing private and professional life, being female in traditionally male industries, and the importance of diversity in organizations. The conversations were led by the following inspiring women:


Irene Orta Hernandez – Key Account Manager Agfa Healthcare Mexico

Yazmin González – KAM public sector Agfa Healthcare Mexico

Ana Cecilia Haro - Co Founder & CEO Asayan Agro

Susanne Christina Oepen - VP Operations North America Bekaertdeslee

Kelly Kroger - CEO C&A México

Anne Le Guellec - Deputy Ambassador & Head of Economic Affairs Embassy of The Netherlands in Mexico

Mariana Santos – Project Manager & Team Leader Odoo México


Conversations and ideas to support the further development of women in today's professional life, strengthening personal and professional networks were central themes during the event. After two round table sessions, the group of approximately 65 women in business came together to discuss conclusions, outcomes and follow up initiatives:


  • The term female leadership generated mixed feelings among the group. Many of the women disagree with the term since they consider that even though leadership does have a variety of categories and styles, having a “female type” is counterproductive. It could be interpreted to a “weaker, softer or sweeter” style, while the purpose of promoting equity is to change these stereotypes. Nevertheless, it was also concluded that what doesn't have a name does not exist. Naming what we are aiming for is necessary for its achievement, as is setting measurable goals.
  • There is disparity in the level of gender equity throughout organizations, cultures and countries. Nonetheless, organizations of all shapes and sizes, no matter their origin, still have a long way to go in terms of gender equity.
  • The participants agree there is a lot of pressure particularly on women to be considered “qualified” for certain positions. Women are not only expected to demonstrate a perfect track record in order to be able to compete with men, but they also amplify this feeling internally, by judging themselves harder than the average male. This pressure is further intensified by a lack of sisterhood or sorority contrasting with the extreme competition among women. Tending towards unhealthy competition between women and a lack of a solid support system.
  • Apart from being judged by society bias based on gender, women are also tough on themselves, judging and questioning their own decisions as they seek balance between their private and professional life. One of the conversation leaders advised the group to carefully and individually look inwards to discover what your personal goals are and how you can achieve those harmoniously.
  • Diversity leads to success. Real progress is made when women sit in the decision-makers´ chair, contributing to organizational strategies.
  • Authentic leadership must come from being yourself, don't try to imitate others. Understand your authentic capabilities and use them. Integrate characteristics such as a more human and modern style.
  • Boomers, Gen X and Millennials have contributed to gender equity in the workplace. Gen Z and younger generations have a much more demanding mindset to their employers, including lower tolerance to gender and diversity gaps. Companies that do not recognize and adapt to this shift, are at risk of being left without talent.
  • Being “respons-able” is the capacity of being able to respond. Having the right to decide and express your opinion is fundamental for the position of women in their professional and personal lives.

Furthermore, a clear expression of interest was made to maintain the conversation and seek further sorority among women. Holland House Mexico encourages the community of women this event brought together and aims to facilitate further initiatives that build on the event's powerful message. A word of thanks to our sponsors ShellRandstad, and Le Pain Quotidien. Pictures of the event can be found at: If you'd like to be involved in future events focused gender equality, please contact us at: