Several studies have shown that one of the reasons why so few women make it to the top is the 'glass ceiling' - a failure of businesses to promote women to the top.
Many women also find it difficult to combine work, personal and family life; many assume that going up the corporate ladder would, in fact, mean losing out on another aspect of their life. This 'concrete/cement' ceiling, often self-imposed, is therefore another factor limiting women's accession to the top echelons of corporate life.
Although this phenomenon can be found in many countries, it is particularly pronounced in Spain, where the long working hours are tied to the country’s late lunch and dinner habits. Many women would like to be back home by 8pm, just when the last working meeting starts.
Because of their many commitments, women bring flexibility and creativity to an organisation. They innovate with new ways of working, often improving productivity compared to rigid male environments. Awaking to this new reality, several employers have developed new company guidelines.
Last month, Spain's Ministry of Labour awarded the first 12 Family Responsible Employer (FRE) certificates, six to SMEs and six to large corporations.
These initiatives should hopefully pave the way for a smoother transition to more equal representation of women in the boardroom.
Source: Is Spain Different?
Prof Maria Nuria Chinchilla, IESE Business School
Review by Emilie Filou