Explore how industrial parks in Costa Rica are empowering women and advancing the life sciences industry, creating a landscape of opportunity and growth

Free Trade Zones (FTZ) provide a powerful platform for opportunity and inclusion.

Through the companies that operate in this zones, thousands of quality jobs are generated, often in population segments without access to them, especially in the case of emerging markets.

In Costa Rica, the Free Trade Zone Regime has become one of the main avenues for women to enter the formal economy. At the country’s industrial parks, including Coyol Free Zone, leading global companies operate with world class standards in safety, policies aimed at work life balance and healthcare, as well as higher average salaries compared to outside the Regime.

Over 82.000 women work at one of the 402 companies that are part of this economic structure. For many of them, their jobs have represented more than just professional development, providing the conditions to provide for their families and achieve personal goals.

Free Trade Zones have shown a consistent push towards gender equality. In 2022, nearly 11.000 jobs generated were held by women, representing almost half of the total amount generated.

Women employment in the Costa Rican Free Trade Zone Regime

The Costa Rican Free Trade Zone Regime greatly contributes to create opportunities for the personal and professional development of women. Between 2021 and 2022, women employment in FTZs increased by 15%, according to data from CINDE, the Costa Rican Investment Promotion Agency.

Women also account now for 40% of the new executive positions generated in FTZs by 2022, showing that they are increasingly taking on more strategic roles for these companies.

“Companies of the FTZ regime in Costa Rica highly contribute to the fifth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of the United Nations (UN), by actively promoting female participation and empowerment”, explained Carlos Wong, Managing Director of Coyol Free Zone.

  Headcount in Coyol Free Zone (February, 2024)

   Total: +23,700

   By gender:

Men: 46%

Women: 54%

Companies based in Coyol Free Zone empower women

Currently, 54% of the human talent of the companies operating at our Industrial Park is made up of women who have a greater participation in leadership positions.

This percentage represents close to 12,850 women, who are currently working in operational, administrative, and managerial positions.

The installed companies foster an environment where women can compete to lead STEM-related teams and aspire to have long careers in the Life Sciences industry.

“In Coyol Free Zone, people can develop themselves both at work and at a personal and family level. The formal and quality jobs we create allow them to contribute economically to their homes and also to the economic growth of the country”, added Wong.