At Santander we have a wide array of initiatives in place to advocate gender equality in all the countries where we operate. Our commitment on this issue is widely recognised: we are leaders on the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index 2020. However, our real satisfaction comes from seeing the results of all our projects.
The following is a tour of the geographies where we operate, highlighting the programmes we are developing to enhance the role of women in society.
We are taking part in “Banking on Women”, a programme led by the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, which encourages the provision of credit to foreign trade companies led by women. Since its launch in July 2019, 15 loan facilities have been granted, a total of ARS 30.2 million (around EUR 450,000). We were the first bank in the world to sign up to this trade finance initiative.
In addition, to promote gender equality at Santander in Argentina, various measures have been set in motion such as flexible working and the extension of paternity leave to improve women’s work-life balance.
Another initiative is “Inspira”, a programme in which women with high potential for leadership and growth in our identity share knowledge, meet at seminars with external experts and receive individual coaching sessions.
To enhance the role of women, in Spain we have programmes in place such as “Generación 81”, “Mujeres con S” and “De mujer a mujer”. Generación 81 comprises a series of initiatives and actions aimed at reinforcing Santander’s commitment to equal opportunities. The activities are divided into four key areas: visibility of feminine role models, education, employment, entrepreneurship and equality. The name of the programme refers to 1981, the year that marked consolidation for the recognition of equality between men and women in financial management.
The programme includes “Mujeres con S”, an initiative that aims to promote feminine talent and women’s leadership in the professional world. “De Mujer a Mujer” is a mentoring project to help women who have suffered gender-based violence to access the job market.
Santander Spain has an updated Equality Plan that includes measures to enhance all employees’ work-life balance, e.g. flexible working hours and location. It also offers a progressive reincorporation after maternity and breastfeeding. Employees can return to work with 50% of the day during the first month and with 75% of the day during the second month, no reduction in salary.
At Santander UK, we have “Accelerating You”, a management development programme for women. Lasting nine months, it focuses on personal brand development. In the last edition, 289 people took part. After it had finished, 9% of them were promoted and 7% passed the criteria for obtaining a promotion.
Another programme in the UK is “Female Entrepreneur”. We launched this initiative to raise the profile of female entrepreneurs and encourage more young women to consider entrepreneurship as a career.
“Female Entrepreneur” begins as we release the findings of research, commissioned by our HR Culture and Inclusion team, that show 81% of 11 to 18-year olds in the UK are unable to name any female business owners. It also found that 63% of 11 to 18-year old girls have never considered starting their own business, with 43% saying they know nothing about how to begin.
We are very proud of our subsidiary in the United Kingdom, as it has passed the target for 2020, for women to represent at least 33% of its board of directors.
In Chile we have launched the Mentoring Women Leaders (Mentoring Mujeres Líderes) programme to provide support to female students in their secondary and higher education studies. To this end, 19 female executives from Santander provide guidance to the same number of students with regard to their personal and academic concerns. The aim is to highlight education as the key tool for people’s progress.
In addition, Santander Chile’s workforce has access to specific programmes that aim to strengthen women’s leadership and management skills to encourage the hiring of more women to executive positions.
“Prospera” is a programme we are developing in Brazil with the aim of driving small businesses that, in turn, enable the most disadvantaged, on the lowest incomes, to escape poverty. Its contribution to gender equality is vital, since 69% of those taking part in this programme in 2019 were women.
At the same time, Santander Brazil’s workforce has created a broad discussion group to address influential issues in the workplace to bridge the gender pay gap. Mentoring sessions are also held to encourage female members of the bank’s team. During the selection processes for new hires at Santander Brazil, steps are taken to ensure equal opportunities for men and women.
The “Tuiio” programme in Mexico encourages the financial inclusion of low-income earners. The aim is to achieve a social pact that, in turn, bridges the gender gap. Since its launch in 2017, over 90% of those participating in the programme are women.
Moreover, Santander Mexico has programmes in place, which include courses and networking events, to increase the proportion of women in senior management positions. Any member of the workforce with children may take part in a specific programme for enhancing the work-life balance.
Through initiatives such as “Female Side Of Business”, “Women in Tech”, “Successful Women Week” and “Mi mamá trabaja en un banco”, we are striving to address gender equality in Poland. To this end, we have defined an annual action plan for launching these projects.
The entire Group is pulling in the same direction
30% women leaders, our commitment for 2025
We are committed to the equality of all our professionals. Our target for 2025 is for at least 30% of executive positions to be held by women and to eliminate pay differences between men and women. These are two very important issues for us.
Currently, women make up 55% of our global workforce and hold 23% of executive positions. We committed to reaching 40-60% women on our Group Board by 2021 and we have already reached 40% in 2019.
We are aware of the importance of working together to surpass these figures and, therefore, we are committed worldwide to measures to achieve this goal. The first step is talent selection. To this end, we are going to increase the percentage of women included in the succession plans and support the growth of female employees through mentoring and development programmes.
This is a job for all of us and for which we have a wide array of support. That is why, to ensure the management of diversity and inclusion at corporate level, we have set up a global network of experts with representatives from all the countries where we have a presence. We want to walk all together towards a more equal world.