Comerciando Global has maintained for years an active engagement with female business leadership, which it has led the firm to be a pioneer in the participation of debates, organisation of meetings, seminars and research on issues related to the contribution of women to economic institutions of power.
·Promoting leadership and governance models to promote participation, cooperation and dialogue within companies
·Help institutions and companies to develop social leadership and commitment
·Set an example of the commitment of prestigious companies, for the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women.
·Defend gender equality and collaborate with associations, institutions and leading companies, in promoting the integration of women in the maximal decision instancies ,as well as generating new opportunities for women and female students.
·Promote and recognize women’s leadership and its contribution and participate in any national, communitary or international institutional consultation mechanism.
Broadcast corporate policies and implementation plans for gender equality.
·Establish benchmarks for assessing the integration of women executives and entrepreneurs.
·Assess and report on progress, internally and externally, using sex-disaggregated data.
·Integrate gender indicators in the obligations of accountability in progress.
Within the scope of these activities stands out the presentation of the report in conjunction with ESADE “Women, business and the law” in its editions of 2013 and 2015. This study measures how laws, regulations and institutions differentiate between men and women so that the possibility of women to work generates economic impacts on the economies of the countries. These impacts highlight that the greater number of obstacles there are, the lower the participation of women in companies, and the bigger the development backlog of the country.
The study in its 2015 edition,analyzes the legal gender differences observed in 173 economies confined to seven areas:
1. Access to institutions LEGAL STATUS OF WOMEN
2. Use of property, EQUALITY INDICATORS
3. Employment obtention SPAIN AND GENDER PARITY
3.1. Progress in the last 40 years
3.2. Roads ahead
4. Incentives to work COUNTRIES THAT HAVE REDUCED THE GENDER INEQUALITY
5. Ability to generate a credit history DEBATE: UNMARRIED VS MARRIED WOMEN
6. Access to justice ECONOMIC FOUNDATION FOR INTEGRATION OF WOMEN IN SOCIETY.
7. Protection of women against violence
The report estimates nearly 950 situations of gender inequality, in the framework of these seven indicators.
During years 2015-2016, Comerciando Global, as strategic consulting, has conducted a research on value creation on management boards and gender diversity in listed companies in Spain, together with the Professor Morten Huse, – Chair of Management and Governance, University of Witten/Herdecke y Professor of Organization and Management, BI Norwegian Business School.
Professor Huse has been working for more than 20 years on value creation on management boards and board diversity, having participated actively in the study of the situation in more than 20 countries, particularly in neighboring countries such as France, Italy, UK, Germany or Norway.
To carry out the study in Spain, a survey was sent to more than 1000 entrepreneurs, managers, top executives, scholars, and directors residents in Spain.
Below is the abstract. The monitoring of the first seminar on value creating boards in listed companies can be followed at:
The entire study can be ordered at: www.bi.edu/research
The study was presented in Madrid in the representation of the European Commission, on May 25, 2016, conducting a debate which included the participation of members of parliament and former ministers, active in the preparation of their respective legislation for the participation of women on boards, as well as ambassadors, directors of listed companies and journalists of neighbouring countries such as Germany, Italy, France, Norway and the United Kingdom, together with the Spanish Secretary to the State, Ms. Susana Camarero and Professor Huse.
Their vision brought news on the value of incorporating women to boards, providing methodologies and practices which were followed at the time in different markets.
Spain was one of the first countries in Europe to set out a gender balance legislation on corporate board by the organic law 3/2007 of 22nd of March. However, the recommendation included in the law for big companies to attain a 40% of the least represented gender by 2015, did not contain any sanctioning. As a consequence, Spain is at present among the large European countries with the lowest percentage of women on boards. In this report we make suggestions about how to get progress in getting women on boards in Spain.
We report the results of an empirical study that took place in Spain from the fall 2015 and to the spring 2016. Methods used were direct observations, interviews and a questionnaire survey. Observations from other countries and earlier research were inputs to the various studies. These observations are also presented in this report.
Based on the wider results of the survey, the debates in the organized panels, the interviews, the slow motion of the voluntary approach, the needs of the Spanish business society to reflect the social and consumer reality, the need of credibility, reliability, corporate governance recommendations and competitiveness, we conclude that:
- Quotas are faster and easier than just informal pressure. A flexible approach could be pursued, but a quota threat should be built in, in order to obtain results. For leading the change, a concrete strategy led by a political structure, with the eventual help of an ad-hoc committee or body, should be temporarily created, in case the quota approach is not retained.
- The business community needs to open its eyes and be aligned in seeing the advantages for getting women on boards from a wide and diverse talent pool, reflecting the social reality on today´s boards.
- There is a need for coordinated efforts of different stakeholders to achieve and follow up developments. This cannot be done through existing women organizations, but through cooperation between politicians, businesses and leaders (men and women).
- The motions for promoting women on boards should be supported by developing value creating boards and focused training for board members.
Key words: Women on boards, Spain, arguments, quota, training
Suggestions to progress
Along the six months of this project we have appreciated that the Spanish society is better prepared to approach an eventual change in their boards. This is presented as a key business issue. Equality arguments, diversity or women´s issues are not always well perceived by many businesspeople and CEOs, and even by a small, but still a part of the women in high executive positions.
A business case for change, in the language Spanish business understands, has to be elaborated and proposed to some degree in consensus with male business leaders.
The business case for women on boards has to be elaborated from the initial point of departure of value creation and economic arguments. It pleads for boards in which the strategy tasks recover their most important role. This should be including all diverse perspectives of value creation and economic arguments based on talent inclusion and the modernization of Spanish businesses. Of course detractors will not consider the need for this modernization, but cases like “Pescanova” or “Abengoa” could prove the opposite.
The digital transformation impact and other global changes in consumer behavior and the economic panorama, plead also for the need of incorporating new talent and profiles to boards.
The business case is strong today when talking about strategic vision and corporate social responsibility, enriching the views in a board discussion and including a wider understanding of perspectives related to consumers, employees, customers and other stakeholders.
Through our project; through interviews, panels, meetings and the survey we have got several inputs to setting up a list of suggestions to progress in getting women on boards in listed companies in Spain, should a gender balance compulsory legislation be completely ruled out. These are the following:
- Se necesita la creación de un caso empresarial para España, concienciado con este debate, que reciba el respaldo y consenso de un grupo líder de la comunidad masculina empresarial, en particular.
- A catalyst body, platform, group or political instance should be created in order to make a national call for action, that voluntarily look for measures encouraging business and educate them, (considering the creation of a business case for Spain), in order to make a sustainable improvement in women´s representation on boards in the next four years. This may be a real need if all listed companies are to meet, the 30% requirements required in the CNMV Recommendation by 2020. It is important to include in this catalyst body a wide male business community and male role models. It should incorporate different businesses and executive’s associations, as well as federations as CEOE, CEDE, Círculo de Empresarios. .
- Institutional political compromise is a determinant factor to make the market move forward and take the CNMV Recommendation seriously. This is an absolute need if the Spanish society is to reach gender balance on a voluntary basis.
- The coordination and eventual adoption a code of conduct setting up the compromise between search firms, to include women extensively in board members search and even exercising certain “educational” tasks.
- All different stakeholder groups should work together to ensure success in appointing women as board members, particularly chairs and executive directors. The investors’ community should join these discussions.
- Political instances should surveil that listed companies assess the gender balance in their boards and take actions.
- Boards should consider incorporating broader sets of talents and profiles. The financial profile is today overrepresented in Spanish boards. Women entrepreneurs, academics, civil servants and senior women with professional service backgrounds could bring along very interesting expertise to the boards of a modern business society.
- Companies should also consider the efforts to be followed within their companies at corporate suite level. They should incorporate measures to include the full talent pool, and they should design career paths for women executives within their organization. They should change the present culture and give a positive message to women executives.