Women's role in today's world
The role of women in today's world: a tribute to the women of yesterday who made it possible
To mark International Women's Day on 8 March, women and men — employees of Iberdrola group, professionals and some great athletes — have joined forces to share their thoughts about the role of women in today's society and the female role models who have made a mark on their lives.
The Iberdrola group has embraced SDG 5 Sustainable Development Goal — Gender Equality — as its own. Consequently, it is undertaking numerous initiatives, policies and procedures to help to achieve it. In line with this and to mark International Women's Day 2020, we asked some opinions about the progress made by women and the challenges they face now. So, over to you:
1. In your opinion, what does it mean to be a woman these days?
Patricia Bispo (Neoenergia): It means taking the helm, through daily conquests, of a movement that is transforming society into a more egalitarian, more respectful place.
Celia Jiménez (footballer): A challenge. It's realising that we have the same rights and at the same time fighting to ensure they are not considered a privilege.
Wendy Wynne (Avangrid): Being a woman nowadays is liberating. We are more independent and are working in different careers than what was once status quo.
María Lázaro (directress of corporate development): It should not mean anything special, but the fact of being born a woman makes a difference because the roles, stereotypes, expectations, biases, models and references are different.
Cristina García (Iberdrola Renovables): It means being aware of the difficult work done by earlier generations, which paved the way to a more egalitarian society.
María López (grass hockey player): Pride in the women who paved the way to a fairer society and a sense of responsibility because we must continue fighting for our rights.
María López, grass hockey player
Being a woman today means being proud of all the women who paved the way to a fairer society
Alesandra González (Iberdrola México): To be a woman means to be strong, intelligent, resilient, creative, tender, compassionate, fun and hard-working.
Sandra Sánchez (karateka): I don't have the words to explain it, but I know what I feel when I'm surrounded by women: courage, humility and inspiration.
Paula Serras (chemical engineer): It means doing everything possible to ensure that when they are adults, today's girls will see gender discrimination as something remote.
Nuria González (Iberdrola): Unlike other generations, being a woman today means being able to play the role you choose.
Ana Freire (sustainability expert): To be a woman today is to be an agent of change. It's also about being aware of your full potential, squeezing it and getting what you want out of it.
Silvia Navarro (handball player): For me it is having new opportunities every day and to break the moulds society used to force us into.
2. What does equal opportunities mean to you? Do you think that society has changed and brought about real equality of opportunity between men and women?
Lizbeth Ramírez (Iberdrola México): There are still places in the world where women have no rights, no opportunities, and no freedom to be who they want to be. That is why there is still a lot of work to be done.
Helen Gaier (Scottish Power): We have to get men to join us and understand that equal opportunities are key. It is good to see our male colleagues embrace what International Women's Day represents.
Víctor Figueroa (Avangrid): It's changed, though not at the pace I'd like. These days it shouldn't make any difference, for example, when a woman is looking for a job.
Paula Serras (chemical engineer): Much is being done to ensure effective equality, but changes are slow-coming and there are always people who worry. It is not just about women being able to do what men can do, but men also being able to do what until now has been classified as “feminine”.
Carolina Marín (jugadora de bádminton): There has been excellent progress in recent years, but women must continue to defend our rights until we have completely equal opportunities.
Marcela Restrepo (Iberdrola Distribución): Equal opportunities means valuing all individuals for their personal strengths and not discriminating based on stereotypes such as sex.
José Luis Adanero (Iberdrola Renovables): There has been a significant improvement over the last few decades; although the true impact is yet to come.
María Vicente (atleta): In my home, we were brought up with freedom of choice without established roles, something that didn't happen a few decades ago.
Lizbeth Ramírez, Iberdrola México
There are still places in the world where women have no rights, which is why there is still a lot of work to do
Hazell Gulliver (Scottish Power): I'm delighted my eleven-year-old daughter and girls of her generation can do something I was never allowed to do: play football. To be honest, I'm envious!
Rosana Martín (Iberdrola): Equal opportunities is more than being able to choose, it's being able to make things happen. What I mean is for choosing a profession or lifestyle is needed an equal environment.
Roberto Veguillas (Iberdrola Distribución): One major aspect to improve is that women still bear the burden of caring for the family and children, and that affects access to career opportunities. In this regard, men need to do more for equality to be truly achieved.
María Lázaro (directress of corporate development): Let me refer to SDG 5: “Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.”
Garazi Sánchez (surfista): When we see a more realistic number of women on boards of directors and in government, we'll be closer to equality. Even so, we need to celebrate our progress. Let's hope that today's little girls won't have to worry about these things!
Blair Cruikshank (Scottish Power): Until we see female leaders as just leaders, we won't make progress. The lack of leaders of both sexes is indicative of a lack of diversity of thinking and perspective that can only dampen equality.
Erin Kester (Avangrid): Research has shown that companies that prioritise equal opportunities achieve better financial results, encourage innovation and have happier employees.
Ana Freire (sustainability expert): Equal opportunities must be seen as a right and not as a utopian dream, and must be demanded in all areas: political, social, labour, etc.
3. Who were the most important female role models in your life when you chose your career? Tell me about a woman you admire and why.
Elisa Yarte (Iberdrola Clientes): All the women who work by my side every day and do an excellent job. And they do it with generosity, hard work, professionalism and always with a smile.
Roberto Veguillas (Iberdrola Distribución): I'd mention the life of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who is considered the first woman to play the electric guitar and precursor to the invention of blues and rock. Her voice and musical style influenced Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley.
Ana Aldea (digital marketing expert): Margarita Salas has been a benchmark for her scientific relevance and her struggle to defend her place in science when the going was most difficult.
Garazi Sánchez (surfer): Serena Williams. I see her on the tennis court or at a gala and I think: “Thanks for showing that women can be mothers and get back on the court, that there's no need to hide a muscular body, rather be proud of it”. She's inspired many girls to become athletes.
Rita King (Avangrid): Because I love tennis, I admire Billie Jean King, 39 times Grand Slam Champion. She stood up for social justice and women's equality in sport.
Silvia Navarro (handball player): Firstly, my mother. Such a fighter and so committed to what she did, she showed me the way. But generally, any woman who fights for women's place in this world.
Caryn Jack (Scottish Power): Miss Wilson, my maths teacher at secondary school. She taught me to love it and to study for a STEM career.
Rosana Martín, Iberdrola
I admire all those anonymous women from generations past that worked hard without being recognized for it
Amanda Sampedro (football player): Ever since I was a little girl, I've had a ball at my feet and I wasn't lucky enough to have a female role model, since the impact and visibility that we have now didn't exist.
Erin Kester (Avangrid): I admire the strength and balance shown by former first lady Michelle Obama. The way she uses her platform to influence is genuine and humble. I also admire the tenacity and courage of climate change activist, Greta Thunberg.
Sandra Sánchez (karateka): More than role models, there are stories that have inspired me to be and do better. They might be sportswomen, writers, singers, friends or other women who have crossed my path and left a mark on me.
Jane Wilkie (Scottish Power): The women I admire most are those who are true to themselves, who inspire others to do better and who stay positive, even when the going gets tough.
Rosana Martín (Iberdrola): I admire all those anonymous women from past generations who worked hard without getting any recognition. They were the real heroines.
Carlota Armillas (scholarship holder at the Gates Foundation): The figure of architect Zaha Hadid has fascinated and inspired me ever since I discovered her, both for her creativity and for her incredible career.
Inspirational words for Women's Day
Words inspire, and for that reason, we asked our partners to share with us a phrase they associate with International Women's Day. Here is a small selection:
Rosalinda Pacheco (Iberdrola México): One day I was told that I was aiming too high and that those opportunities were not for me because I was a woman. Today, I am proud of who I am and I believe in these words: the opportunities are there for people who seek them and fight for them.
Ana Aldea (digital marketing expert): “The goal of feminism is that one day we won't need it,” by Chimamanda Ngozi.
Cristina García (Iberdrola Renovables): “When a woman decides to change, everything around her changes too”, by Eufrosina Cruz.
Lara Lazaro (researcher): As Victor Hugo said, "nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come". Today is a time of equality.
María López (grass hockey player): “I don't want [women] to have power over men, but over themselves,” by Mary Wollstonecraft.
Gabriela Gutiérrez (Iberdrola México): “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader,”, by Dolly Parton.
Lorena Fernandez (digital identity expert): You can't do it alone, with allies you can. Let us continue to weave sorority networks because this battle will be a long one and we need to support one another.
Víctor Figueroa, Avangrid
Women' greatest talent is to see further than men can
Thiago Fracarolli (Elektro): “For a world where we are socially equal, humanly different and totally free”, by Rosa Luxemburgo.
Teresa Díaz (fencer): Nobody has the right to tell you that you can't achieve your dreams.
Nicola Connelly (Scottish Power): Empower in order to grow. That's what society should do for today's women.
Víctor Figueroa (Avangrid): Women' greatest talent is to see further than men can.
María Lázaro (directress of corporate development): “There is no barrier, lock or bolt that you can impose on my mind's freedom,” by Virginia Wolf.
Mariarosa Vázquez (Iberdrola México): The most important person to believe in me is myself.
Patricia Bispo (Neoenergia): “Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do”, by Brené Brown.
Blair Cruikshank (Scottish Power): “A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men”, by Gloria Steinem.
Nuria González (Iberdrola): Build your generation, destroy stereotypes.
Women in Iberdrola
The Iberdrola group is committed to the best international practices in the field of work-life balance, equality and diversity. In particular, the company believes that equality between men and women is part of the basic values of the organisation. That is what it says in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy approved by the Board of Directors. What's more, in the framework of the work-life balance policy, Iberdrola has been a pioneer in the introduction of the unbroken working day.
In recognition of these improvements, the company has been included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index. This report is a global benchmark on gender issues and identifies organisations around the world that are outstanding for their efforts to achieve equality and for their transparency in gender-related reporting.
Article created in collaboration with Iberdrola group employees (Rosalinda Pacheco, Nuria González, Mariarosa Vázquez, Cristina García, Alesandra González, Erin Kester, Patricia Bispo, Rosana Martín, Lizbeth Ramírez, Marcela Restrepo, Caryn Jack, Elisa Yarte, Gabriela Gutiérrez, Hazel Gulliver, Helen Gaier, Jane Wilkie, Nicola Connelly, Rita King, Víctor Figueroa, Thiago Fracarolli, Roberto Veguillas, José Luis Adanero and Blair Cruikshank), professionals from different fields (Ana Aldea -founder of Datasocial-, Paula Serras - teacher at the University of the Basque Country -, Ana Freire, director of the Centre for Sustainability Studies at the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Lorena Fernández, director of Digital Identity at Deusto University, Lara Lázaro, researcher at the Real Instituto Elcano, Carlota Armillas, scholarship holder from the Gates Foundation at Cambridge University, and María Lázaro, director of Corporate Development at the Real Instituto Elcano) and athletes (Celia Jiménez, María López, María Vicente, Sandra Sánchez, Silvia Navarro, Carolina Marín, Teresa Díaz, Amanda Sampedro, Elsa Baquerizo and Garazi Sánchez).