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Luis Guillermo Solís says gender equality and inclusion will lead to a wealthier Costa Rica

Speaking at the Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce, President Luis Guillermo Solís said the country must continue to follow the model of advanced countries and include more women in positions of authority.

More than 100 business professionals gathered at a leadership conference at the Marriott Hotel in Belén on Thursday. Solís made his speech during an award ceremony honoring women business leaders and others who pioneered gender equality in Costa Rican business. Solís said that greater inclusion is one of the major challenges he intends to tackle during his administration.

“Let’s resolve this problem,” Solís said. “That is a problem that is attacked in all societies that are more just, more inclusive, more modern, wealthier – yes, wealthier – and more enlightened.”

Along with business leader awards, Solís was honored as a “Fair Play Champion” for appointing a number of women to his Cabinet. Solís named eight women to the 21 minister and vice presidential positions in his administration, or 38 percent. When including vice minister, 21 of the 51 positions are women, or 41 percent. Solís’ predecessor and Costa Rica’s first woman president, Laura Chinchilla, had 10 of her initial ministers and vice presidents as women, or 40 percent.

During the speech, Solís drew laughter when he joked that as the father of four daughters, gender equality is always on his mind.

The president noted that despite progress, more ground needed to be won on the gender equality front, such as greater representation of women in public offices to address issues that disproportionately affect women.

“The majority of the poor are women and the poorest of the poor are women,” Solís said.

He further stressed that Costa Rican women of indigenous and African descent are needed in positions of authority to address problems that affects those groups.

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