How Project Management Led to a Women's Empowerment Group


19 July 2018

Published inPM for Social Good

Group of volunteers from PMI Mexico Chapter

Mujeres en la Administración de Proyectos

In early June, Mexico City held the 10th annual PM Tour Mexico of 2018 for Project Management International Congress. The PMI Mexico Chapter organized and delivered a fantastic event filled with project management workshops, empowering speeches, networking breakfasts and social hours. Among the typical fun and learning, one group of women stood out to attendees: some of the women in the PMI Mexico Chapter who have used project management skills to change and better their lives and the lives of others. This inspiring group of women are members of MAP (Mujeres en la Administración de Proyectos)—or Women in Project Management— and they exemplify what it means to be a true leader.

In 2007 a few women at Public University formed a club where they could teach and learn from each other the best tactics to manage life, school and work. These determined leaders are Graciela Bárcenas, President of the PMI Mexico Chapter and global leader, Claudia Herrera, Volunteer, the PMI Mexico Chapter; and Education Cell Leader, Dulce Morales, President of the Community Bajío in Mexico (the PMI Potential Chapter), previously vice president of the PMI Mexico Chapter. Some of these women already had project management experience, others did not; but with the assistance of PMIEF resources, learning project management skills went smoothly. At the time, Public University was primarily run by men and women were not typically taken seriously when voicing suggestions or expressing concerns.
MAP wanted to change the male-dominant dynamic and build confidence and support among women and, ultimately, everyone at the university. The goal was to empower women to be leaders and overcome life’s obstacles. At the end of 2006, Claudia Herrera was a professor of project management and coordinator of a program at UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico). When Claudia had a baby in 2010, she was afraid of losing her job and not being able to meet her work commitments during her pregnancy. Her friend and colleague, Graciela Bárcenas, proposed taking classes, and proposed that Claudia take her work and return it to her when she returns to work. This would ensure that Claudia could keep her professional activity in the future and not lose her source of work. When Claudia returned to work, not only had the program remained successful, it opened up opportunities in other spaces. Claudia serves in this PM program in the Faculty of Engineering and Graciela started and continues the program in the Faculty of Architecture. These programs are taught in more than four faculties at the UNAM and more women are participating in them. Through the support of each other, along with their passion, persistence and patience, they were able to form an official group. Some of these women became project management teachers at Public University, where they are able to teach these project management skills based on personal experience. The PMI Mexico Chapter is honored to have MAP members as they are a true example of making goals a reality through dedication and determination.

Today, MAP is an established organization that includes over fifty five members that help use their talents in the workforce and society, thus improving their quality of life. Through project management activities and learning sessions, these women are taking the steps needed to reenter the workforce as professionals and help contribute to Mexican society. They implement the core values of respect, confidence, courage and teamwork, proven effective by their successful careers and the strong bonds they have built among each other.

These dedicated women started by asking themselves: How can I help myself? How can I help you? How can we help each other? By motivating themselves and applying project management principles to everyday life, they were able to teach and help others and spread the message of project management. Because of their goal, mindset, courage and enthusiasm, MAP is where it is today, and continues to help women better their lives one day at a time.