Last week, the Linkedin account of Gerdau president, Gustavo Werneck, got a new photo. In place is Liliane Rocha, CEO of Gestão Kairós, consultancy in Sustainability and Diversity. The idea follows a movement initiated in the artistic class – with names like the actor Paulo Gustavo, who gave his page on Instagram to the philosopher Djamila Ribeiro – so that the millions of followers of white people are impacted by content made by black people on the agenda anti-racist.
“Who has the business leadership network he has in Brazil? It is a transforming action for a black woman in this space of speech. A CEO’s page has rigor, influences the company, the business strategy, the shareholders. For this reason, we did not see presidents giving in ”, explains Liliane.
The proposal for occupation in the professional social network came from the specialist in diversity. For the CEO, accepting the invitation is part of understanding that companies should be protagonists of changes in society. “We need to promote an anti-racist culture and eliminate this issue permanently. By providing the debate on a social network with a corporate profile, we have the possibility to reach and sensitize executives and business leaders ”, he points out.
In 2019, Gerdau created a professional attraction program focused on hiring black people and also started to publish data on the company’s diversity profile. Black employees now represent 32% of the staff and occupy 15% of leadership positions.
The CEO of Empregueafro, consultancy in ethnic-racial diversity, Patrícia Santos, has occupied the profile of the executive director of Tawil Comunicação, Marc Tawil in the last few days. The action, called Vidas Negras Importam, brings together 38 professionals, but only one is from the business world.
“It shows how much the business world still needs to be occupied by black professionals. You see that most of the people who were willing to take part are from areas linked to culture ”, highlights Patrícia.
The data show that Brazilian companies are still far from achieving racial equity. Despite the fact that the population of the country is made up of 56% blacks, according to the IBGE, they are only 35% of the staff, according to the study by the Ethos Institute.
When we move up the job hierarchy, the difference is even more discrepant. According to a survey conducted by Talenses recruitment consultancy, with 532 companies, only 5% of them have black presidents. The gender and race profile is even more dramatic: only one of these corporations claimed to have a black president.
“I studied, I worked for multinationals, I was recognized as one of the 101 Global Diversity Leaders. But still, what is the chance that I will be in this space? In this generation of ours, there is a Rachel Maia (currently CEO of Lacoste in Brazil), there are not three ”, points out Liliane.
To help reduce inequalities, the Public Ministry of Labor created the National Project for Social Inclusion of Young Black Women in the Labor Market, coordinated by Attorney Valdirene Assis. Last year, the agency made large advertising agencies, human resources companies and universities in São Paulo sign a pact to expand the participation of black professionals in companies.
From the second half of last year to here, the segment that most advanced was advertising. “With the pandemic, we interrupted activities, but between June and August we will hold a digital event with training workshops, vacancies and debates,” says Valdirene.
The coordinator of the Business Initiative for Equality, Raphael Vicente, believes that in 2024 it will be possible to begin to see some change in the indexes. “We have an annual growth rate of 0.20% among black people in management and senior leadership positions. If we do not make any intervention, to reach the percentage of blacks in the city of São Paulo, 37%, it would take at least 200 years. The situation we live in today is the same as it was 20 years ago. It is a medium and long term job until these professionals manage to rise”.
Today Vice President of Carenet Longevity, a healthtech that has an arm in Switzerland, Fernando Paiva, 40, has an extensive curriculum that includes training at institutions such as the University of La Verne, California, and Harvard Business School. . Records passages for large companies in executive positions, such as Bradesco and BNP Paribas Cardif.
“I am the grandson of direct slaves. I was the first of my family to reach higher positions in the hierarchy, the only one who made an international executive program and one of the few who had the opportunity to travel to other countries, for work and tourism. ”
However, the full curriculum and professional advancement did not make Fernando exempt from racism even in high positions. “In an almost C-level position in a large company, when I was introduced to the team I was going to lead, one of the employees said that in his family history, black worked for him and not the other way around. It was the first time that I saw a dismissal for just cause ”, he says.
Among other cases of racism he suffered, he also lists an attempt at a management position. “The HR manager loved my profile. But, when I arrived at the director’s office, he fought with her because in his company he doesn’t work black. ”
Last year, Fernando attended more than 60 national and international health congresses and says he is sure that he is the only black executive in this ecosystem. “I always worry about the clothes I wear. As I hang out with many international executives, I don’t wear a dark suit so they don’t think I’m the security guard. You move up the hierarchical structure and it gets worse. For me to get where I am and to stay here, I have to take a lot of care ”, he explains.
To be anti-racist in the job market
To encourage people and companies to make a commitment to the anti-racist struggle, a partnership between Instituto Identidades do Brasil (ID_BR) and Sistema Brasil – both non-profit organizations – started last month the movement Be Anti-Racist. The manifesto, created by the two bodies that act in the promotion of racial equality in the business world, already gathers signatures of more than 38 thousand people and 260 companies of all sectors and sizes, among them Gerdau.
“It is important to make a commitment to be anti-racist in addition to hashtags. We are collecting signatures to be able to work with these people and companies and develop practical actions to establish anti-racist measures ”, explains Heloise da Costa, affirmative action development and training analyst at ID_BR.
“Companies tend to think that the racial issue has to be based on the issue of charity, but it is necessary to understand that a more racially egalitarian society is good for everyone, not just for the black population,” he adds.
Source: Estadão, by Marina Dayrell.