• 70% of Spanish men aged 20 to 64 have a job; among women, this figure drops to 59%; the gender employment gap is 11 percentage points.
  • Spanish women perform an average of 25 hours per week of unremunerated work (particularly household chores); men average 12 hours.
  • Spanish women earn an average of 14.9% less per hour worked than men (a situation referred to by Eurostat and the European Commission as the gender pay gap).
  • The difference between the retirement benefits received by women and men is 33%. And there are 22% more women than men who have no entitlement to a contributory benefits (including a bereavement allowance, which is also calculated as a contributory benefit).
  • Even in the upper and lower houses of the Spanish parliament, despite gender-balanced electoral lists, only 37.8% of the total of their members are women.

These are only a few of the statistics included in the 2017 Report on equality between women and men in the EU published each year by the European Commission. The good news, as far as Spain is concerned, is that there has been a slight improvement in comparison with the figures from a decade ago. The bad news is that we have progressed more slowly than expected, and there is still a long way to go to close those gender gaps.

This should be one of nationwide aims towards which we should all be working together. It is a social obligation, but also an economic one. If we want to compete in the 21st-century economy, we cannot afford to miss out on, squander and abuse the talent of half the population. When politicians, business leaders and society as a whole speak of gains in productivity, innovation, new focuses for the new problems we face with technological change, etc., we must become aware of the fact that those challenges will be much easier to overcome if we are able to tap the potential of all our citizens. It isn’t a matter of gender; it’s a matter of talent.

This is a subject that is not being debated as much as it should. How many inventions, new developments, innovative products, etc. have we missed out on for this reason? How many companies have lost excellent executives because they feel left out? How many brilliant women have not been able to display their abilities to the full in a labour market that is too often hostile towards them? How many good ideas have not come to full fruition because they have not been put into action?

Behind the employment-pay-occupational gap are unjust situations and people who have not been given the treatment they deserve. But there is also a less wealthy and less imaginative country which is wasting part of its potential, which is growing with less momentum.

We at Enagás are committed to encouraging female talent through remuneration-related measures and development of potential. As a company, we want to create value and we believe that this is the best if not the only way.

According to the experts, the economy of the future will be based on technology, but much more on human capital – on our ability to master and improve those new tools. As we can see in the figures given at the beginning of this article, in our country (and this is an unfortunately generalised problem: no country in the EU has met its set targets), there is very significant part of this human capital which we are neglecting. We cannot afford to. My hope is that this 8 March will be the stimulus that enables us to continue to progress towards greater equality.