Paz Martín, president of BPW Madrid, analyses in this interview with PROA Comunicación the position of women in the business world. She admits that “the values, principles and discourse that motivated the creation of BPW, the most influential women’s lobby in the world, in 1930 are still very much in force because the changes in society, although they have been deep, have not been completely materialized, so the support to women in business and political decisions must be strengthened from our position”. Through the different projects and initiatives that BPW Madrid has, it determines that “it is necessary to promote the entrepreneurial profile and the alliances for the formation of a good ecosystem”.
“Our lobbying position in defense of gender policies has allowed us to be part of the meetings of the Council of Europe and the UN, with representation in the different regional offices of the latter”.
She points out the need to use pedagogy and different awareness profiles to allow us to continue breaking stereotypes and thus be able to advance in results for the future. He assures that in this matter it is necessary to fight through education in equality, values and principles, since “a man does not fight for his position because he takes it for granted. We women have many more obstacles that must be broken through the reinforcement and visibility of our position. This will make us achieve the desired equality that society needs”. She believes that it is absolutely essential that every company has a decalogue and code of ethics for equality in order to manage all activities related to the greatest efficiency and avoid possible problems such as the wage difference between genders. All this, he assures, “without the support of public institutions and trade unions this over-exertion could not be carried out so that the gap could be progressively reduced”.
When asked about the position of women in working life, the president of BPW Madrid is very clear: “the lowest salaries are found in the most feminized professions” and, from her point of view, “the higher the position in the pyramid the less difference there is”. Likewise, she points out that “it is in the complements where the difference is and where we can find more inequality because it is more difficult to justify it. The differences are not usually found in the base salary”. All this determines, “despite the fact that we find a larger number of female university students than male university students, something that is related to the higher rate of professional success among women”. She adds that this latent inequality can also be seen in IBEX 35 companies, and even in the public sector itself, giving as an example the low number of women ambassadors that Spain has.
On the coronavirus and how it can affect the female position, she is categorical: “we must never forget that whenever there is a crisis, women’s rights are always slowed down. They are always doubly harmed”. That is why she explains to us that to reduce this damage from BPW Madrid, in addition to parallel projects such as the INCUBATOR OF COMPANIES (project that seeks to give economic support to female business plans), the project RECOVER YOURSELF was developed within a fortnight, which allows the crisis produced by the COVID-19 not to destroy the female microenterprise fabric. “Through this program, solutions are offered and business plans are reviewed and modified, among other points. We have the experience and the knowledge to help them in the transformation, as well as the reinforcement with specialized coaching so that they return to their entrepreneurial profiles through motivation and so that they put quick and creative solutions to the COVID-19”, she highlights. In relation to this, and asking about the damage that can cause the current situation in the senior profiles, Martin says that “entrepreneurship has no age, because many women have to find a way out at certain times of their lives,” so he says that the best way is their entry into the business world through self-employment, a method that in his view “is the best way they can do, allowing from a SME have and feel that economic and business empowerment that will help them achieve their present and future goals.
The president of BPW Madrid is very critical of the position that Spain has taken in recent years in matters of education and health, appreciating that “it has been seen as an expense and not as an investment”. “The Dominican Republic invests 5% of the GDP in education and has allowed the economic take-off of many women who previously could not afford it on their own,” she stresses. She believes that this is the key to avoiding a deterioration in citizens’ perception and thus being able to better withstand future crises by having greater specialization in both genders.
“Education is the key that every person has in order to be free and fulfilled. Without it it is very difficult to reach our goals”.
The management of the health crisis produced by the COVID-19 pandemic, highlights the great capacity that Spain has in the health field, saying that “we have great professionals, but they are not cared for or supported so that they can develop their career in Spain. We don’t manage to retain talent and that’s why they leave”, as well as pointing out that “professions such as nursing, the majority of which are female, are not as well paid in terms of the proportion that can be found in other health professions such as medicine. Women are seriously affected in the sectors where we have more presence”.
In conclusion, Paz Martín points out that all the projects and programmes of the association are based on close public-private collaboration between the partners and public institutions, as the association does not receive any kind of subsidy. Aid also comes from external channels, such as partners, CSR items, and even from the association’s own women who have reached a certain level and want to actively support the cause. She ends by saying that the participation in these programs and projects “produces a satisfaction and a very positive experience for our collaborators when seeing the evolution of the projects day by day. This generates an experience and an enrichment that no account of results can offer”.
This text may be reproduced provided only if PROA Comunicación is mentioned as its original source.
Junior consultant at PROA Comunicación