How beautiful is diversity – and we see it everywhere – even in a male–dominated field such as politics. Today, we wrap up our Women on the Move spotlights. And last, but not least, we are honored to present a woman who has excelled in the difficult life of politics for more than three decades; María Victoria Vargas Silva is the Councilwoman for the Bogotá City Council, in Colombia, South America. We have the honor to have Councilwoman Vargas personally connected to our team, as her daughter, Ana Maria Valencia de Benitez, serves in our Department of Cultural Communications, specializing in the legal and business translations in both Spanish and French.
Until the mid-50’s, women were not allowed to vote in Colombia; but today, they play key roles in politics. This is the case of today’s spotlight. Councilwoman María Victoria Vargas Silva graduated as a lawyer from the Universidad del Rosario with a specialization in Commercial Law, and she earned her degree in Political Sciences from the Universidad Javeriana. She has been elected seven times for the Bogotá City Council by popular vote and has been the council’s President three non-consecutive times. Her career has been exemplary, thanks to her honesty, strong values, and generosity to those in need. It is a pleasure for us to share some of her insights about maintaining a balance between a remarkable career and taking care of a loving family.
How have you balanced a successful career while raising and caring for your children?
“I stopped working, for a year, when my daughter was born. Subsequently, my mother and a nanny helped me take care of her while I was at work. The political world never stops, especially during campaigns. However, my family is my main priority, and I always manage to spend quality time with my daughter – and now with my grandson, too. Fortunately, my mother and my daughter’s father were supportive of her in her childhood and teenage years.”
What has been the biggest challenge for you as a mother in your career?
“Without a doubt, the main challenge has been trying to play my roles as a mother and a politician, at the same time. Dividing my time between a career as demanding as politics and dedicating quality time to raising a daughter, requires a good sense of time management. Besides, as I mentioned before, I was lucky to have the support of my daughter’s father and my mother. But, that does not mean I was not involved in 100% of my daughter’s life. The same instance applies today with my grandson. Even though I am still engaged in the political sphere, my family is my priority, and I always manage to spend as much quality time with him as I can.”
How has your career inspired your children?
“Well, I guess my daughter could give you a better answer! Nonetheless, I would say my dedication to my different roles –especially as a mother and a working woman– has inspired her to achieve her goals and aspirations, as both a mother and a professional woman. Of course, her husband and my grandson’s grandparents have been an essential piece of the process of her achieving her family and professional goals.”
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders regarding career success while being an active, caring mother for their children?
“Fortunately, parenting has become more of a shared task between both parents nowadays, and that makes things easier. But, based on my experience, I would advise them to organize the amount of time they dedicate to different activities, yet most importantly, they must dedicate quality time to their children.”
Even though I am still engaged in the political sphere, my family is my priority.
Juan Pablo Benítez | Translation Services Coordinator