14% of export companies in Ecuador are led by women. These firms are 3.5 times more productive than those run by men.
Export companies led by women are 3.5 times more productive than those led by men, according to a report by the Ecuadorian Federation of Exporters (Fedexpor).
The ability of women to pay more attention to detail, which makes processes more efficient, is one of the reasons why these companies are more productive, says Gabriela Urresta, vice president of Organizational Development at Fedexpor.
Urresta adds that another skill that stands out in women is the facility they have to work under pressure and perform several tasks at the same time.
There are 1,591 export firms in Ecuador whose legal representative is a woman, according to the Superintendency of Companies. In other words, 14% of the country’s exporting companies are led by women.
This percentage is higher if all companies in the country are included, not just exporters. In this case, 24% have a woman as their legal representative.
In addition, according to Fedexpor, 37% of women who work in export companies hold management positions, this includes not only legal representation, but also being part of senior management or boards of directors.
Export companies led by women mostly belong to non-traditional export sectors, Urresta details.
Within these sectors, women stand out in agribusiness, with food processing and snacks.
Amati Foods is a brand that markets amaranth-derived products, created seven years ago by Nelly Morales, as a new business line of her company Gramolino.
The Amati brand produces 10 products with amaranth; among them, drinks of four flavors, cereal, flour, amaranth in grain and risottos of amaranth and quinoa.
Its products are organic and made with grains harvested by some 35 farming families from the provinces of Chimborazo and Imbabura.
Six months after going on the market, Amati began to export. Today they send products to five countries: Chile, Spain, Italy, France and Hong Kong.
However, its main market is still Ecuador, where the brand is present in the main supermarket chains.
Amati’s Marketing Director, Carla Novoa, explains that in 2022 Amati sold USD 90,000, of which 8% corresponded to the export line. The most desired products were drinks.
For Novoa, negotiating with potential clients has been one of the main challenges for this company, led by women.
On average, women face 13% more costs when exporting than initiatives led by men, according to data from the World Trade Organization and the World Bank.
Urresta explains that this is due to the fact that female employment tends to be concentrated in sectors with high commercial costs and that have less access to the international market.
Consequently, they pay higher tariffs to enter foreign markets, for example, the food processing, textile, and shoe industries.
On the other hand, adds Urresta, women are more likely to manage small and medium-sized companies, which do not have enough volume to amortize fixed costs throughout their production, unlike large companies.