Closing the Gender Gap:

A global Group policy to increase the number of women on our staff

gender parity
Company name:
Banco Santander
Banking & Capital Markets
More than 50,000
Europe & Central Asia
Contact Position:
Head of the Development Unit HR
Contact company representative

The Gap:

Type of Gap: senior management level

Banco Santander S.A. is a well balanced company concerning gender diversity, 54% of our employees are women. 

Nevertheless, our dashboard shows that the distribution is not homogeneous across the organization, that we have a gender gap at the top management level. We have therefore addressed this as a global issue by implementing a corporate policy. 

The Practice:

Type of practice: Leadership & company commitment

We have designed a Corporate Gender Diversity Policy and we are implementing it across the company, in all the countries where we are present. 

The objective of this action is to ensure equal opportunities for men and women within the Organization. In the general principles it is established that the Group must ensure that its management policies, processes, systems and tools do not harbour any type of gender-based discrimination and that they promote gender diversity.


To measure the success of the implementation of the policy we take into account: 

  • The KPIs reflected in the corporate gender dashboard.
  • The number of specific actions which are being implemented in every country where Santander is present in order to improve gender balance at all levels of the Group.

Implementation Date:

Launched by the end of 2009, this policy does not have an end date.

The Success:

The number of women in the company keeps growing and more and more specific actions focused on gender diversity are being put in place in the different countries.


Taking into account the past 4-5 years (period from December 2006 to September 2011), here are some relevant figures:  

  • the overall number of women in the Group has risen from 48,4% to 54,5% (in Spain from 34% to 40,3%).
  • the percentage of women in top level positions increased from 4,6% to 8,3%.
  • the percentage of women in second top level positions rose from 8,9% to 16,2%.


Regional initiatives:


  • In Spain: the 'Alcanza Plan' training and mentoring program, the 'A Friday to Share' network event, and 'The challenge of the executive woman' lecture events have been introduced. 
  • In Portugal: the Group organizes the annual 'Santander no feminino' conference on gender diversity. Portuguese women executives also participate in the 'Supera' programme that is part of the 'Alcanza Plan' and held in Spain.
  • In Brazil: Santander has a specific mentoring programme for women and a group of advisors for women employees during their pregnancy, among other gender actions.
  • In Colombia: Santander has implemented the 'Atenea Plan' which includes focus groups and workshops with men and women to discuss their points of view concerning gender matters and to help them to better understand their differences. 
  • In UK: Santander launched a programme on gender diversity for its senior management. The Group's UK presence is a sponsor and member of 'Opportunity Now' and of 'Women in banking and finances' (WIBF). They are in the 'Top 50 employers for women' list of The Times. They have also implemented flexible work policies which will help women employees get a good balance between personal and professional life.


Success factors:

  1. Support from the CEO and the general management
  2. Involvement of HR Directors in every country


  1. For some people in the company gender diversity does not seem to be an issue as more than 50% of our employees are women.
  2. In some countries, there are laws concerning diversity that do not allow the implementation of 'women only activities' unless similar activities are also implemented taking into account different races, religions, sexual orientations, age groups, etc.


Awareness|Policy|Talent Management
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