Last update: 08/03/2024

Gender inequalities are one of the great challenges we face around the world that require the collaboration of people and businesses. For this reason, at Santander we promote gender diversity during the course of the year through different global and local initiatives. 

Equality and equity: what is the difference?

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Although often used synonymously, equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities. However, equity goes one step further and recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.

In the past we publicly undertook a series of commitments with our sights set to achieve them by 2025. One of them  was to have female representation on the board of between 40% and 60% by 2021, a milestone we achieved in 2019 and that we currently still maintain (40%), well above the average in large listed companies in both Spain and Europe. Moreover, we have also set out the objective to reach 35% of women in senior management. 

Beyond the milestones, we have a strategic plan on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). It includes different programs to promote equality among our people who work in all the countries in which we operate, with designed to promote a work-life balance, recruitment, professional development, equal pay and to raise awareness. We also form part of other projects such as the gender equality accelerator programme of the UN Global Compact.

Our commitment has been recognized by different prestigious organisations such as Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index 2023, which recognizes excellence and commitment to equality. Santander registered the highest score in the finance industry and the second highest overall among all the companies analyzed

Initiatives to promote gender equity

We support many projects worldwide for female entrepreneurs, in order to promote female talent and leadership. Around 7,000 employees from ten countries are already part of our Santander Women Network. All along the way, the support from our business areas has been essential for building an organisation where equality is not an objective, but a reality.

  • Mujeres con SThis is a mentoring programme aimed at accelerating women’s careers through a process of professional and personal growth that is based on participants’ shared experiences. Santander provides the participants with the necessary tools to carry out a mentoring and networking process over six months. During this time, a social network is created between high-level professionals (mentors) and those who aspire to emulate them (mentees). 
  • Women in Tech. This initiative is part of the Be Tech programme which aims to attract female technological and digital talent, so as to promote the digital transformation of the business. There were over 1,000 participants in its first Summit. 
  • “De Mujer a Mujer” programme. This project, carried out together with Fundación Integra, aims to support female victims of gender violence when looking for a job. Through a mentoring process with 15 Santander employees, more than 80% of the participants who have been part of the various editions held since 2017 have been able to enter the job market.

  • “Reencuentra” programme (2nd edition). A programme aimed at women who quit their job for family reasons, such as raising a child, to return to the job market. The experience includes a temporary assignment at Santander as well as a series of training and coaching on employability. “Reencuentra” also seeks to raise society’s awareness on the difficulty these women face in re-entering the job market after a break. Up to 84% of participants in the first edition have joined the labour market.

  • Events to promote gender equity. Regional events and different internal and external campaigns are also held during the year to address gender equity.

  • Tuiio.  This programme provides low-income, underbanked people with services and products with a high digital component, including custom loans, savings products and insurance. In 2022, it served more than 390 thousand customers. It is worth noting that more than 92% of Tuiio's total clients are women.
  • Events in favour of gender equality. Throughout the year, different leadership programs to promote the development of women are carried out, such as Mujer 360, Mastermind, 30% Club or Mujer Líder Santander, as well as programs to prevent and eliminate gender violence. It also actively involves men with the concept of positive masculinity, where topics such as paternity and parental co-responsibility are addressed.

  • Promoting Female Leadership. This initiative aims to enhance the skills and expertise of women in senior management and executive positions at Santander, so as to promote gender equity in senior positions. 

  • Events to promote gender equity. Various meetings are held throughout the year to advocate male participation in gender equity discussions, such as the wage gap.

  • Events to promote gender equity. Through management skills and pioneering programs, a women's network or succession plans focused on gender, Santander Chile has achieved that 28.6% of its managers are women.

  • Initiatives to promote gender equity. This unit carries out leadership programs for women, such as the Global Mentoring Program. It has also taken measures to promote equity in its selection processes, such as unbiased interviews and a mixed panel of interviewers; at least one woman on the shortlist of finalists; or, in the event of a woman's dismissal, her replacement must also be another woman.

  • Investing in Leaders: The SanUS Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion launched the SPARK Sponsorship program which seeks to differentially invest in diverse emerging top talent and grow Santander’s future leaders through sponsorship.  The program supports participants by providing them with a Santander Sponsor, an executive coach and by engaging with them through four immersion sessions through the 9 month program.  A total of eleven, or 69% of the program participants, are women.

  • Business Resource Groups: EmpowHER is one of the longest standing Business Resources Groups, launched in 2017, with over 1,200 members across the SanUS footprint. The group focuses on providing mentorship, professional development and supporting the communities in which we live work and serve. EmpwowHER hosted over 45 events which helped employees have greater visibility into the empowerment of women and how to become allies to support their causes.

  • Focusing on Women:  The SanUS DE&I Office launched listening sessions with Women in Technology and Women in Risk at Santander Consumer, creating a safe space for women to share candid feedback with leaders and discuss barriers that may exist within their respective spaces. These ongoing forums connect like-minded women and provides a setting in which diverse voices share experiences, challenges and provide advice to inspire women on their professional journey. 

  • IT With Female Eye. This project focuses on promoting the professional careers of women in IT, an area that, despite its high demand at present, also has a significant gender gap.

  • Santander Women podcast. Users can listen to podcasts of discussions held with special female guests about decision-making in times of crisis. This format is also used for the playlist created on Spotify to celebrate International Women’s Day.

  • Gender studies. Reports focused on gender equality are updated monthly. They track figures such as average seniority for both genders, age, the total number and the percentage of women in management positions. This data is used to evaluate progress and to not lose sight of the goal of moving towards real equality.

  • Partnership with Girl Move. Through this internship program, we invest in the training and development of young Mozambican women with enormous professional potential and impact on society. It seeks to transform the lives of these girls and women who are exposed to high risk and vulnerability of their rights. In addition, a challenge has been launched to address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Santander, with an emphasis on gender equality. It includes a billboard in the main lobby of Centro Santander to disseminate the UN SDGs among employees.

  • Collaboration and gender awareness networks. The Women Network Portugal has been launched, a network in which public targets are set for equality and pay gaps, as well as for women in leadership positions.

  • Events to promote gender equity. The second edition of the Women's Day discussion is planned for this year’s International Women’s Day. The theme is "Women and the challenges Europe faces in the year of war" and can be viewed online via streaming. There is also a dedicated space for networking with live attendees.

  • The Times Top 50 for Women. Once again, our company appears in this list of the 50 best companies in gender equality.  It is also recognized for being in the top 10% of the organizations that have appeared most regularly in recent years.

  • Women business leaders. Aimed at Breakthrough's clients, this program is aimed at mentoring women in business leadership.

  • Sponsorship of “Who Cares?” Business in the Community report. This initiative seeks to challenge traditional gender and caregiving roles. The report shows that an overwhelming majority (94%) of people who work in the UK believe that parental responsibilities over their children should be shared equally.

  • Fully paid shared maternity/paternity leave. The offer of fully paid shared maternity and parental leave has been increased to 23 weeks, and fully paid paternity leave to 5 weeks.

  • Events to promote gender equity. Financial education and the role women and girls play in finance are the core themes of several events organised around International Women’s Day. These events are open to the public and are meant to address issues such as the gender gap when it comes to investing or how childhood has an impact on our financial decisions, among others.

  • Responsible leadership. This is a programme aimed at raising the awareness among senior management of the importance of supporting and promoting diversity in each and every division and business area.

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