María Cecilia Romoleroux is a career lawyer and has excelled in various fields at a national and international level. Her passion for the law has allowed her to be a pioneer in areas where women were not easily accepted.
Her career is marked by gender inequality, but this was not an impediment to being the first Ecuadorian woman to be part of the board of directors of the International Trademark Association (INTA) or of the Programming Committee of the International Association for Protection of Intellectual Property (AIPPI).
In an interview with Ekos Magazine, María Cecilia shared her experiences on the empowerment of women and the work that must be done in Ecuador to achieve gender parity. Her history began in the classrooms of the Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador where only a small group of women could complete their studies, one by one they started to drop out due to various circumstances.
“For two years I worked in a free clinic for abused women. A situation that humanizes you and allows you to understand the need to empower women”, said Maria Cecilia, who stressed that no person should be an “appendix ”of anyone.
Thus, she decided to enter a more technical niche; the world of intellectual property. After a successful performance she joined a local association where she became vice president. However, when she was ready to be promoted to the presidency, they closed the doors for her because “they were not ready for a woman to be president much less on such a specific field”
“They took me out of the local sphere but I started working internationally. I joined various associations and tried to make a name of myself”, she said.
Some time later, María Cecilia joined CorralRosales as a partner and also has had an extensive career as a mediator and judge / judicial assistant. She is one of the few professionals who holds a partnership in a national law firm. According to Romoleroux, this is due to the fact that “women do not give themselves the opportunity to go far. It is necessary to work from dawn to dusk, travel and possibly miss many family-related activities.”
“You have to combine the roles between mother and lawyer.”
“Many times society does not help professional woman reach high positions”, says Maria Cecilia; an issue that was ratified by the Ekos Group Research Unit who conducted a survey to find out the number of women who hold CEO and management positions. The result shows that only 37.3% of women have such positions in contrast to that of men 62.7%.
“This reality is not very far from the realm of law. In such sexist communities it is difficult to be a mother, wife and professional at the same time”, said the expert. That is why there are countries – like Italy – that have limited spaces for women to be partners or directors of consortia or legal groups. On the other hand, factors such as the Ecuadorian work environment causes men to have an advantage above women at time of selection or hiring for new positions.
In spite of all the social obstacles, last year María Cecilia was recognized as “Women Chambers in Law 2018 for Ecuador” in the annual awards ceremony for Chambers and Partners Legal Directory within the Diversity and Inclusion Awards category, where her career, achievements and especially her legacy were analyzed; that is, the projects she is taking on to leave a mark or a way forward in the country.
Finally, María Cecilia Romoleroux shared what her motivation to dedicate herself to this legal field was and her answer was a simple: “life gave me this”.
1990: Doctor of Jurisprudence at the Catholic University of Ecuador
1991: Paralegal program at Georgetown University, United States of America
1993: International Relations – Ship for the World Youth, Japan
1997: Master Lucentinus in Copyright at the University of Alicante
2000-2014: Mediator of the Ecuadorian-American Chamber
2002-present: Partner in intellectual property and regulation, CorralRosales
1999-2000: Secretary of the Ecuadorian Association of Industrial Property Agents
2001-2003: Vice President of the Ecuadorian Association of Industrial Property Agents
2003-2019: International Intellectual Property mediator for International Trademark Association
2009-2012: Judicial Assistant of the Administrative Contentious Court
2012-present: Mediator and arbitrator for ASIPI
2017-2019: INTA board member
2019-2021: Member of the Programming Committee at the Association Internationale pour la Protection de la Propriété intellectualle
2019-2021: ASIPI President of the Committee of Counterfeiting
2017: President of the first Latin American INTA conference in Cartagena
2018: Winner of the Chambers “Lawyer of the Year” award
2019: Nominated International Program Leader for INTA Boston
2020: Chairman of the Host Committee for ASIPI Quito
If you want to read the interview in spanish, press here