Different studies by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) reveal that a country’s economic growth increases rapidly when women participate fully in the workforce. This is corroborated by the Secretary of State for Social Services and Equality, Mario Garcés, who stated at the 5th Edition of the Promociona project, “Sharing experiences, generating value”, that Spain’s GDP could grow by around 14%, more than 156 billion euros, if female talent were fully integrated into businesses.
The Directorate-General for Equality is working on two major objectives: to favour women’s incorporation into the labour market, improving their employability and position in the working world, and to bring women into decision-taking bodies to improve equality-related business practices.
The call for a greater presence of women in the working world, even in managerial positions, together with salary equality between men and women, is the bone of contention of recent decades. Our society is working to implement gender equality policies and equality between men and women in the different spheres of life. However, we encounter some interesting data such as one highlighted by the author Milagros Sainz in her book “Wanted: Female Engineers, Physicists and Technologists”, in which she underscores the fact that among the young people who choose to study a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degree, boys show more interest in IT, aeronautical engineering, industrial engineering or electronics engineering, whereas girls are more interested in medicine, nursing or pharmacy.
Broadly speaking, engineering- and architecture-related degrees are not of the greatest interest among a young public.
During the 2016-2017 academic year, these degrees took third place, with 17.9% of enrolled students. Social and Legal Sciences take the top spot, with 46.7%, followed by Health Sciences with 18.7%.
Spain’s GDP could grow by around 14%, more than 156 billion euros, if it fully incorporated female talent in businesses
When enrolling in university, there is a clear female prevalence, with 55% against 45% of males; however, these differentiating percentages increase depending on the chosen branch.
In Sciences we see near-equality, with 49.3% of women, but there is a clear female tendency towards Health Sciences, with 70.4% enrolled, in contrast to the Engineering and Architecture branch, with 77% male presence according to data released by the Ministry of Education.
These interests in their education translate into surprising statistics if we look at the data provided by the Institute for Women, according to which less than 32% of students in technical degrees are women. The studies with the lowest female percentage are marine engineering, and among those with the highest number of female pupils is chemical engineering.
In the field of employment we are touching the proportion of equality. The total figure in registered employment according to job dependence and sex, by sector and division of activity, was 17,600,000 in 2016, of which 8,141,000 were women, 46.26%. However, this equality disappears depending on the branch of activity. According to the Institute for Women, in 2016 less than 30% of jobs in the high-tech and medium-tech sector was taken up by women. That same year, only 39% of researchers in R&D were women.
For this situation to change, we have to work on the foundations of society. The president of the Spanish Federation of Women Managers, Executives, Professionals and Entrepreneurs (FEDEPE), Ana Bujaldón, says that children have to be educated without stereotypes. She adds that companies’ equality plans are a great tool for harnessing female talent.
As we said at the start, bringing women into the working world will bring important benefits to society.
Driving forward equal opportunity favours business productivity and competitiveness
Driving forward equal opportunity favours business productivity and competitiveness, improves the company’s image before customers, suppliers and investors, consolidates corporate social responsibility, facilitates the development of quality systems, optimizes human resources by increasing motivation and a good atmosphere at work, reduces stress and work absenteeism.
Despite the data, in Spain we are at the forefront in female integration.
According to the latest ‘Female Scientists in Figures 2015’ report, the proportion of women in Spain’s research personnel as a whole stands at 39% vis-à-vis the 33% of the European Union.
Since 2017 Thales España has a Diversity Plan in place whose goals include, among others, fostering a greater female presence in areas where women are least represented, supporting the promotion of women to levels of greater responsibility or making of Thales España a company with greater ability to attract and retain female talent.
As an example of good practice in this regard, Thales España has this year signed an agreement with Madrid Polytechnic University to create the “Thales for Diversity” bursaries.
These bursaries, in addition to the monetary complement they entail, will offer a company internship to female students each year.
In Spain, 39% of researchers in R&D are women, vis-à-vis the 33% of the European Union
The “Thales for Diversity” bursaries include a monetary complement and an internship in the company