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SUSTAINABILITY| 07.07.2021

Gender equality: a very necessary debate

Simone Negrão, Academic law graduate from the National Academy of Insurance and Pensions (ANSP). Simone graduated from the University of São Paulo (USP) with an MBA in Business Administration from the Getulio Vargas Foundation of São Paulo (FGV-SP) and holds a specialization in Civil Procedural Law from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP). She completed the Management Development Program (PDD) organized by Fundación MAPFRE and the University of Alcalá and also attended the Management Development Program (PMD) at the IESE Business School at the University of Navarra / Spain.

I have seen various demonstrations and initiatives related to gender equality, especially on commemorative dates such as International Women’s Day. Despite the importance of remembering, reflecting on and debating the role of women, this is a conversation that shouldn’t be restricted to specific dates – we need to bring the issue into everyday life.

From the enterprise perspective, many companies are already playing their role, promoting reflection, conversations and encouraging their managers and other employees to exercise their rights and offer equal benefits, regardless of gender, to promote social change.

However, much remains to be done. The biggest challenge for companies is overcoming biases and unconscious biases, which can make it difficult for women to rise to leadership positions.

On the other hand, and due to the female inequality that has been experienced throughout history, women end up not being prepared to apply for strategic leadership positions, even when they have all the skills and knowledge to do so.

In all these years, MAPFRE has made a determined effort to ensure equality within the company. By signing up to the Women’s Empowerment Principles of UN Women, the company has publicly undertaken to promote the development of women.

At MAPFRE Brazil, women represent more than 60 percent of the employees, with 40.22% of them holding a position of responsibility. In 2020 alone, 252 women were promoted in the country and this represents 59 percent of all promotions.

MAPFRE’s women-related actions are full aligned with the company’s global commitment to the fifth Sustainable Development Goal (Equal Opportunities), which aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

To ensure fulfillment of the company’s global objective of having women hold 45 percent of leadership by 2021, MAPFRE Brazil launched the 1st Women’s Leadership Program. Made up of six modules that cover, among other topics, development and strategic networking, the objective of this initiative is to promote leadership training for women leaders in the company.

Another initiative focused on equity, which I lead, is the Gender Committee. Our CEO, the HR manager and executives from the most diverse areas of the company are all involved. We are responsible for analyzing, evaluating and approving the proposals that are presented to us, in addition to safeguarding the culture of gender equality that is evident across the whole company – nurturing the potential women have to hold management and board positions, laying the foundations on which they can build meaningful careers.

Men play an important role within MAPFRE in this movement. For women to become leaders, it is important that we build on “Him for her”, where the support and encouragement of male leaders is essential to break down the barriers that still affect the professional growth of women. After all, gender equality is an issue that needs to be debated and assumed by all.