Despite the fact that in recent years, as a society, we have managed to make progress on gender equality, much remains to be done. Thus, it remains essential to keep in mind Target 5.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030: ensure the full and effective participation of women and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life. The World Economic Forum has said that at the current rate, the gender economic gap would take 257 years to close.
The coronavirus would seem to add an additional challenge at first, but the day after can also be an opportunity to do things differently, putting equality at the focal point of the decisions we make. The United Nations has warned of the importance of moving faster toward this goal, both in the immediate response and the longer-term recovery effort. With this perspective, it calls on companies to get involved in spite of the post-COVID-19 difficulties. To do this, it has a programme called Target Gender Equality (TGE), which can now be quite useful to companies.
The TGE, promoted by the Global Compact, has already reached nineteen countries. 37 Spanish entities, including Telefónica, have joined the programme, positioning Spain as the country with the highest number of members. Although our country made significant strides in improving gender equality (it has moved from 29th to 8th in the ranking of 2020 World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report), there is still much to be done. Women’s participation in the job market continues to be lower than that of men and there are differences in salaries (the gender wage gap in Spain stands at 21.9%), income and presence in management positions.
THE WAY FORWARD TO EQUALITY
What is special about Target Gender Equality? It provides a simple road map for companies to make rapid progress on gender equality. To help us, the Global Compact has a coalition of UN Experts, leading companies and local entities such as the Spanish Government’s Institute for Women and the CEOE.
The journey begins with self-assessment using the WEP Gender Gap Analysis tool, an online platform that allows companies to evaluate their current policies and programmes, highlight areas for improvement, and identify opportunities to set future goals and corporate targets. At Telefónica we have used it and it is very complete; it includes questions about leadership and strategy, the workplace, market and community, and it shows you in a very visual way your strengths, the areas where to concentrate more efforts and resources, etc.
79% of Spanish companies having signed the Global Compact address gender equality in their policies
Another step proposed by the TGE programme is the accession to the Principles of Women’s Empowerment, which was signed by more than 2,900 leading companies to empower women in the workplace, the market and the community, regardless of the company’s size, sector or location.
All this has to lead to ambitious goals for the company in terms of women’s representation and leadership at all levels. In the case of Telefónica, we have set the goal of 30% of women occupying management positions by 2020, a commitment included in the employee variable remuneration scheme.
Although there are already many Spanish companies with gender equality goals, the proposal of the Global Compact is that all of them should set these objectives by March 2021 through this performance analysis, capacity development and peer learning workshops, and establishing a multi-stakeholder dialogue at the national and international level.