Representative picture of a woman working
Women in Spain are calling out for corporate-leadership roles. Pixabay

Reports show that in Spain women have been underrepresented in the corporate sector. Since 2021, there have almost been no improvements made to the inclusion of women in corporate leadership roles.

Despite companies increasing their efforts in regard to developing policies that promote equal opportunities, women in Spain are still lacking CEO employment.

Women Matter 2023, which focuses on the Iberia region, aims to answer questions surrounding gender equality, by highlighting insights from more than 40 Portuguese and Spanish companies. Their findings were recorded in the latest McKinsey and Company report.

McKinsey and Company is a global management consulting firm, and a trusted advisor to some of the world's leading businesses, governments, and institutions.

The report recognised invisible barriers that affect women's advancement into leadership opportunities. These barriers include family life and prejudiced attitudes. The perception, amongst women themselves, that companies are unable to cater to their needs, also permits them from climbing the corporate ladder.

In 2023, McKinsey and Company reported that 39 per cent of top women managers say that they are the sole caregiver to the household. These management positions included CEOs to senior managers. In contrast, only eight per cent of men in management positions claimed to be the sole overseer of the household.

The latest Gender Norms Index report revealed that 90 per cent of the people asked, held prejudiced biases towards women from all backgrounds. However, Spain is recognised as one of the "best places in the world to be a woman".

Recently, Spain introduced a law that allows women to take paid menstrual leave. Women are only required to show an approved doctor's note, while the Public Social Security System will "foot the bill". Spain is the first European nation to offer paid period leave.

In regard to the paid mensural leave laws reinforcing gender-based discrimination, Maria Carmen Punzi, a Menstrual Health Researcher, explained: "We know that gender-based policies sometimes shift the burden to women specifically... we don't want to push the idea that menstruation is a disability."

"If we don't understand there is a history of women being seen as weaker because of their physiology, we might incur into some problems in terms of discrimination," Maria Carmen Punzi added.

Speaking of women in Spain being underrepresented in corporate employment, Maria Carmen Punzi concluded: "I would like the conversation to be a bit more about 'well our workplace is supportive of everyone's health' because even men and people that don't have periods might suffer from chronic health issues."

Spain passes a law that allows women to take paid menstrual leave.

Gender stereotypes inherently lead to a decline of women in leading job opportunities. Gender stereotypes make for women occupying positions that support functions, instead of line positions. Gender biases also diminish the management prospects of women.

The McKinsey and Company report noted that, due to the invisible barriers that women face, women's confidence in their aspirations in Spain falls slightly behind the confidence of men. A reported 43 per cent of men admitted to being motivated to take on promotions that required a higher responsibility of work. Whereas, 64 per cent of women felt that they were incapable of a more demanding position.

Due to the effect of gender biases, women are also less inclined to take up job opportunities abroad. According to the McKinsey and Company report, only 2 per cent of women in senior-management positions take part in international programs – in comparison to the 9 per cent of men.

The McKinsey and Company report declared that the invisible barriers "conspire to limit women's career paths and opportunities — and also hurt companies, since women leaders can help them boost their competitiveness and profits".

According to the latest findings, women are considered to be better managers – with their teams more satisfied, the report claimed. It was also reported that the companies with more women employed in higher-end positions had a higher level of employee satisfaction.

In order to solve the gender imbalance surrounding the number of men and women involved in senior positions, McKinsey and Company concluded: "Increasing the number of women in senior management will require a nuanced human-resources approach and a willingness by companies to offer more flexible working conditions."