International Women's Day
This article is part of the TAP Blog series, featuring stories from our Canadian experts.
We caught up with Litzy Baeza this winter to ask her a few questions around her work as it relates to International Women’s Day. As an expert for the Technical Assistance Partnership (TAP) initiative, Litzy Baeza, is working collaboratively with the Colombian Ministry of Mines and Energy (Minenergia) to support the review and implementation of the Guidelines for Gender Equality in the Mining and Energy Sector. Litzy will be travelling to Colombia in May. More on the project here.
Litzy Baeza Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Expert
Q. Where are you from?
A. I am from Santiago, Chile; I was born there. But we left after 1973 and the start of a military-dictatorship. My father was imprisoned and tortured and were exiled to Canada, which at the time were taking in Chilean exiles fleeing form the dictatorship. I grew up in from Edmonton, Alberta close to the Chilean community.
Q. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A. I always wanted to be an educator, whether that was an elementary school teacher or a university professor. I never studied education but today I consider myself an educator.
Q.How did come to become an equity, diversity and inclusion consultant?
A. I currently am an equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) specialist. I spent 20 years of my career in international education/development/relations positions. I naturally came into the EDI space, after working mostly around topics related to intercultural communication and competency.
Q. What are some of your current projects?
A. I work on a range of different projects. I work on program and curriculum development projects focused on EDI, I facilitate and educate on this topic and help organizations with EDI strategies and implementation and also work on international development projects as a gender equity specialist. I am currently work with Alinea on the TAP project with the Ministry of Energy and Mines in Colombia focusing on increasing the number of women in this sector.
Q. What is gender equality for you, right now?
A. Gender Equality for me right now is the equal ease of access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender, including economic participation and decision-making; and the state of valuing different behaviors to move toward equity.
Q. What inspires you about the work that you do?
A. I wholeheartedly believe in equitable outcomes for all. What is inspiring about my work is helping folks learn about these concepts and principles in EDI so that they can make an impact and change systems. I believe in decolonizing all aspects of structures and systems.
Q.What do you offer to your community, through your work?
A. I help folks understand systemic issues in organizations by understanding inequities that exist, the understanding of their own power and privilege within society and moving towards inclusive mindsets.
Q. What would be one of your greatest achievements?
A. For me my biggest achievement has been working on international development project where you can really see the impact that these projects have in the community and society. I worked on a project in Cuba for 5 years funded by Global Affairs Canada where we focused on building the capacity of workers in the Ministry of Energy and Mines to international standards of competency. You really start to see the changes and shift it had on the economy.
Q. What is your favourite activity to unwind, for fun?
A. I love writing and am currently writing about my experience living abroad in Cuba. I also love cooking and listening to music and true crime podcasts.
Q. Tell us a surprising or a little-known fact about you?
A. I love true crime. Since I was young, it was the only thing I read as far as books went. I wanted to be a forensic psychologist and studied abnormal psychology for 5 years. I switched gears to History and focused my Masters on that.
Q. Do you have any advice for individuals working to reduce Gender-based violence against women and girls?
A. It is really important to understand what systems are in place for women and girls in various institutions when it comes to incidences of gender-based violence. In my opinion, it is important to have policies and practices in place that protect women and girls from gender-based violence. Education is also key to help change culture and systems around GBV.
Q.Any closing words, words of wisdom you wish to leave us with?
A. I really love this quote from Brene Brown that for me really explains this work to me; ‘I am not here to be right, I am here to get it right.’