Equal opportunities between men and women has become a priority for our society. During recent years, a multitude of programs and initiatives have been launched based on gender diversity as an engine of prosper, such as Generación 81 or Mujeres con S, of Banco Santander.

Achieving gender diversity is key to being successful in today’s word” stated Banco Santander Executive Chairman, Ana Botín, a mentor in the current fight for gender equality. A fight that has intensified in the last years by launching a multitude of policies, initiatives and programs aimed at the empowerment of women in an increasingly fairer society for everyone, regardless of gender or place of birth.

There is a considerable amount of promise, a multitude of policies and initiatives started and many subsidiaries focused on promoting these programs. But, are these politics being put into practice or are they worthless? In short, are we achieving effective equality between men and women at all levels?

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but the basis needed to get a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world, according to the UN, which admits that there is still a long way to go.

In this way, and according to the data of this organization, currently:

  • 1 in 5 women and girls between 15-49 years old affirmed having suffered sexual or physical violence, or both, at the hands of their partner.
  • 49 countries don’t have laws to protect women from domestic violence.
  • Despite progress in protecting women and girls from harmful practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation, which has diminished 39% over the past decade, “much remains to be done to put an end to these practices”.
  • Concerning the labor field, according to the UN, the wages of women are 24% lower than the salaries of men in the labor market.

Gender equality, included in Sustainable Development Goals

It’s due to everything mentioned above that gender equality ranks fifth in the Sustainable Development Goals launched by the UN, after having achieved the Millennium Development Goals. These are 17 measures formulated to eradicate poverty, promote prosperity and well-being for all, protect the environment and face climate change at a worldwide level.

As a means of commitment to reach these goals, Banco Santander has defined 10 responsible banking targets up to 2025, including those aimed at reaching the goals of gender equality:

  • To have a presence of women between 40% – 60% in the Council by 2021.
  • Count on at least 30% of women as CEOs by 2025.
  • Achieving gender wage equality by 2025.

In order to stress the role of all women, highlighting that there is a place for everyone, Mujeres con S was born, a program launched by the entity presided over by Ana Botín to promote women’s talent in the professional environment.

Having equal opportunities among men and women is a priority for all of Group Santander, where more than 54% of the staff are women. That’s why there are a multitude of initiatives promoted by the entity presided over by Ana Botín aimed at achieving effective equality between both genders at every level, among which highlights Mujeres con S and Generación 81.

It’s because of this clear commitment that Banco Santander led in 2018, for the second year in a row, the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index. This index, which evaluates the performance of the enterprises in the subject of gender equality, is made up of 230 companies from different sectors.

Generation 81: It’s the time for women

In order to stress the role of all women, highlighting that there is a place for everyone, Mujeres con S was born, a program launched by the entity presided over by Ana Botín to promote women’s talent in the professional environment.

The main goal of this initiative is to reinforce the leadership of women that want to prosper in the professional field in order to get promoted to a CEO post, start their own project as entrepreneurs or growing in their sector. Therefore, it intends to give them resources and tools at a personal level to increase their self-confidence and to make them feel capable of reaching their personal and professional goals.

Extremadura and Murcia have been the first destinations of this program, which was born with the aim of spreading throughout Spain together with the Social Innovation Observatory. Up to date, 300 women have strengthened their skills thanks to this mentoring program.

This initiative is included in something even bigger, something that represents the commitment of Banco Santander to establish solid models that offer the same opportunities to women and men and break down stereotypes of gender: Generación 81.

The name of this initiative refers to 1981, when equal recognition in finance management between men and women was achieved. Inspired by this milestone, the program was born in last March and aimed to highlight models of feminine reference, break down stereotypes, give financial training and promote the feminine professional career and entrepreneurship.

International support

Even though the above mentioned initiatives are limited to Spain, outside our borders there is an important amount of projects specially focused on women, carried out by Banco Santander.

Last year, in Brazil, the Group signedwith the Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina (Development Bank of Latino America) a line of credit for SMEs managed by women for a total amount of 42 million euros. Also, the Group counts on Prospera, a microcredit program that has given 65% of women as head of household a loan of 600 euros. This is the case of Cleonice, a Brazilian woman who loves sewing. Thanks to this initiative, she currently has a shop, creates garments, has a sewing room and three employees. In this case, Prospera supports the remodeling of her working space and the purchase of three machines to serve her customers faster.

Such initiative has been selected as a good practice by the Brazilian Network of the world agreement to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN for 2030.

Meanwhile, in Mexico, 91% of the clients of the program of finance inclusion called Tuiio are women who lead small businesses thanks to which they get income to meet the needs of their families.

And Santander Río, the Group’s subsidiary in Argentina, has launched Banca Women, which offers financial services for women entrepreneurs, SME owners or professionals.

Banco Santander, along with more than 100 banks, signs the Responsible Banking Principles to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, demonstrating its commitment to a sustainable and inclusive future.