Flor Bermúdez, partner at BGAL Asociados, hails the growing female workforce and networking opportunities.
Did you face any challenges or barriers when you started your career?
I did, and I still face challenges from time to time. Particularly when I started, as a young woman beginning her career I faced some prejudices with male clients and even some male colleagues as well.
What did you understand about IP before you joined the industry?
I had a general idea since I had taken some IP courses while studying my law degree. However, I never imagined the extent of and diversity of the area—and I couldn’t love it more!
How do you think women’s role in the IP industry has changed since then?
Today, women are a permanent part of the workforce and the union movement. Since I began my career, I’ve noticed that more women are working in the IP industry, and an increasing number are obtaining senior roles at law firms and/or companies.
"With so many excellent female lawyers practising past and present, today’s legal generation are not short of inspiring role models."
Most of the IP networking events at several conventions are conducted by women who I’ve become friends with.
I created the “Women’s IP Lunch” event with the aim of gathering female IP lawyers from all over the world at INTA/ASIPI every year to share their experiences in the IP industry, and promote a networking generation.
It started with 30 people and now totals more than 110 women. Many of my colleagues and guests invite more women to this event each year, which has been successful in building new relationships.
What more can the IP industry do to encourage the participation of women?
Women need more empowerment in every sector of the IP industry and we need more opportunities to develop ourselves and to achieve higher levels at firms and companies.
There should be mentoring programmes for young female IP attorneys, to encourage them and develop their skills. Likewise, if more women are appointed to occupy higher positions we would have more participation of women in the industry.
Law firms also have work to do. Female partners remain a minority in most IP firms in Latin America, and one of the reasons for this is that law firms are not flexible for women who want to raise a family and become a partner. Working schedules and activities as a partner are time-consuming and don’t leave much time for raising children.
Many women choose to raise a family and have more time personal time rather than being appointed as partner, even if they are qualified to do so.
How can the industry support innovative and creative women in bringing their ideas to market?
There are many ways to do it, but the most important is to make public what those women are doing to improve the IP industry, and to publish those ideas and activities between peers.
Who or what inspires you?
With so many excellent female lawyers practising past and present, today’s legal generation are not short of inspiring role models.
However, my most inspiring person is my mother. I admire her so much for being a strong and loving woman. Being a part of the IP industry truly encourages and inspires me every single day. I’m thankful for being able to do what I simply love: IP.
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Flor Bermúdez, BGAL Asociados, World IP Day 2018, prejudices, networking opportunities, INTA