Women in Leadership – 27th June 2019

We were delighted to host a panel discussion with leading Irish and Spanish women here in Spain.

The lively panel was moderated by Elizabeth Aston and included:

  • Síle Maguire, Ambassador of Ireland to Spain
  • María Andrés Marín, European Parliament,  Madrid
  • Catherine Bohill, Director Spectrum Strategy Telefonica
  • María Mayoral Gil-Casares, Director Group Controlling, Amadeus

Key takeaways included

  • Men clearly need to be part of the debate and it was great that 20% of the audience comprised men who also engaged in the Q&A session.
  • Women generally need to improve their networking skills and make this a priority in a busy life where they are already juggling so many things. But it is a key part to being successful and therefore should not be overlooked.
  • All the panelists recognized that maintaining a healthy work life balance whilst holding down a top job is one of the hardest battles, however, they  recognized that significant progress is being made in this area. There is much more evidence now of female leaders whose husbands / partners assume the primary child care role. Whilst men increasingly undertake tasks there is, however, still an expectation that women overall will manage the household. Employers are recognizing the need for more flexible working hours and there is more recognition that maternity leave should be embraced and hassle free.
  • There was some discussion on quotas with the relative merits and demerits highlighted. It is clear nevertheless that the measures, whilst not perfect, do drive results and bring more women into senior positions.
  • There is still an element of unconscious bias within the professional environment which needs to be addressed and requires much focus.