Last update: 13/03/2024

To support women leaders and bring about real equality in management roles faster, Santander has two exclusive scholarship programmes: Santander Course | SW50 Leadership Programme 2024 – LSE and Santander Women | Emerging Leaders-London School of Economics. 

Santander is reaffirming our commitment to gender equality with several initiatives to promote and empower talented women. They include leadership, negotiation and communication training for women in both middle and top management roles.

International organizations and rankings have taken note of our efforts. Bloomberg’s 2023 Gender-Equality Index (GEI) gave the Group its highest score for the financial sector and second highest score out of the 484 companies it evaluated in terms of gender equality. Now, women make up 40% of our board of directors — notably higher than at listed companies in Spain and Europe; we’re firmly committed to getting women in 35% of top management roles by 2025.

But this journey towards equality isn't new. For more than ten years, we've been training women leaders through Santander Universities. Together with London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), an internationally renowned institution for leadership and innovation, we have two exclusive, successful scholarship programmes: Santander Course | SW50 Leadership Programme 2024 – LSE and Santander Women | Emerging Leaders-London School of Economics.

Santander Course | SW50 Leadership Programme 2024 – LSE

In 2010, our board of directors had much fewer women and Santander Universities focused on education and career development for university students; however, we wanted to expand our outreach and use resources to address inequality. Thus, we launched the first Santander Course | SW50 Leadership Programme 2024 – LSE, which enabled 50 women from all over the world but with similar backgrounds and professional goals to enjoy an innovative and unique leadership programme.

This leadership programme, which is open to women in executive roles and resident in 11 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Spain, UK, Uruguay and USA), is taught by the prestigious London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Since the programme's launch, over 700 female leaders have taken part in Santander W50 (SW50).

The programme provides face-to-face training at the LSE campus. There, participants will learn to enhance their individual leadership styles through training, activities and individual coaching. They will also have the opportunity to share experiences with women from different countries and boost international networking.

Luz Helena Hanauer, executive director of WDB Trust and a Santander W50 alumna, says: “I refocused my strengths, revised my priorities and reflected deeply on myself. It helped me clear up a great deal of mental mess and has made a notable impact on my life and career, in which I can again enjoy work with a sober mind”.

Lorena Toda, general manager at Aguettant Ibérica, assures that “the experience was most enriching — real “food for thought”, as the English say. My classmates and I stay in touch to this day. We’ve formed a kind, welcoming group in which someone with a problem or a question can share it and always get a response. It’s a community with a multiplier effect”.

Beyond the training and recognition that the Santander Course | SW50 Leadership Programme 2024 – LSE bestows, most women who experienced the programme see its value in the sisterhood it encourages among its 50 participants. “On the first day of the programme, we were mere participants. Now, we’re friends, mentors and a source of inspiration to face new challenges”, says Monste Puig, corporate director at Tangelo Games and programme alumna.

Many alumnae agree that networking may be the scholarships’ primary advantage and that it certainly sets them apart from other leadership courses, as they attract women with similar backgrounds who are excelling in their career. Sharing that life moment intensifies their connection, from which friendships, guidance and mutual support emerge with each graduating class. Participants mentor, help, refer and promote each other, which — to them — proves invaluable.

All you need to know to apply for the scholarships and courses is here.

35 %

of senior management roles for 2025

35 %

of senior management roles for 2025

Santander Women | Emerging Leaders-LSE

Due to the covid-19 pandemic, our training programmes were made virtual; nonetheless, that worked to our advantage to create Santander Women | Emerging Leaders-LSE, a leadership course for top managers. It aims to equip women seeking to be better negotiators, communicators and leaders with tools and skills to propel their careers towards senior management roles.

Virginia Pérez, an architect at 2gv Arquitectura, was part of the programme’s inaugural class. She's convinced that “the programme provides highly appealing education that focuses on reflection, self-discovery and unleashing the leader within. For me, it meant starting a challenging journey of personal growth that has had a major impact on my life and career. It is also first-rate training that taught me to manage myself and people around me. Those tools show that excellent leadership can transform an organization”. In her relationship with classmates, networking was also important: “[Networking] was something that influenced my growth. We built a community of women who had something in common despite coming from broadly different industries. It’s a community where communication flows and you have the chance to expand your career”.

Egalitarian leadership: The proof is in the profits

According to Is Gender Diversity Profitable? Evidence from a Global Survey, a study by Ernst & Young (EY) and the Peterson Institute, having women in leadership roles could increase a company’s profits by 6%. Furthermore, the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) 2019 report, Women in leadership bring better business performance, shows that companies with a high number of women in senior-level roles have raised productivity by more than 50% and substantially improved creative strategies for innovation. 

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