The president of Banco Santander, Ana Botín, took advantage of her presence at the Cercle de Economia annual meeting in Barcelona on Wednesday to criticize the differences in professional careers between men and women. “The careers go in parallel until a family is formed,” he said. “There is a tax on maternity, but not for paternity,” he pointed out, noting that the rules in all countries should be “like Spain” and make “compulsory” equal leave for men and women.
The worker of an Ibex 35 company earns 118 times less than executives
Botín took part in a table together with the president of Telefónica, José María Álvarez Pallete, and the president of Inditex, Pablo Isla. He said to them: “Men speak of women, you are the ones who still command.” According to a CCOO report carried out at the end of last year, Santander has only 22% of directors despite the fact that women make up 48% of the workforce. It is a lower level than other large banks such as CaixaBank, BBVA or Sabadell. “We women also like to be managers,” Botín has defended before the other two Ibex managers.
“Diversity is good for teams,” Isla responded to Botín’s interpellation, who said that “the issue of gender costs more than other diversity because of the issue of family.”
Botín, Pallete and Isla run three of the 10 largest companies on the Ibex and have analyzed the situation of the Spanish economy after COVID and the impact that European funds will have. Both the president of Santander and that of Telefónica have agreed that Spanish GDP will grow above expectations this year. “The estimates are going to fall short,” stressed Pallete during his speech. “The important thing is the rate of vaccination and in Spain, where almost 1% of the population is being vaccinated every day, it is a guarantee,” he emphasized.
The president of Telefónica has been confident that the European aid plan will serve to make the economy in Spain grow. “We have experience in knowing how to execute European funds,” said Pallete. “Spain has known how to do it well historically,” he stressed. Like his colleagues at the table, Pallete has indicated that the fundamental thing is that the funds reach SMEs for their digitization.
However, the three businessmen have taken the opportunity to put duties to the Government in the context of European aid. Specifically, all of them have agreed to make requests such as a tax reform, a change in the laws and a demand from the employer. Botín and Pallete have once again made a common front, as they have used for years, to ask for a change in the regulation of their respective sectors to deal with big technology. “There is a brutal symmetry in the rules of the game,” said Pallete. “My competitors or those of a bank are no longer the traditional ones, but they are new companies,” he pointed out. “The regulatory system has been anchored in the last century.”
Botín, for his part, has criticized, without directly citing any company, the “new vertical monopolies.” “Something has to be done in terms of competition against these monopolies,” he pointed out. In this sense, he has also added his proposal for a tax reform that also affects these companies. “I am delighted, in quotation marks, that taxes on Spanish companies are raised as long as others pay what they have to pay here,” he pointed out. Finally, in tax matters, it has also referred to competitiveness with other markets. “We must be competitive in tax matters, social charges, attracting talent,” he pointed out. “It must be a competitive fiscal policy with Europe and regulatory with the United States.”
Finally, the three great executives have vindicated the role of the businessman, especially Isla, one of the highest paid executives in Spain. “We have to value the figure of the businessman, in Spain there is a brutal deficit,” he pointed out, noting that entrepreneurs work “tomorrow afternoon and night.” “Their value is not recognized by far enough in any area,” he pointed out.
“We all agree that we want a digital, feminist and green economy,” Botín said in line with Isla’s words. “But there can be no social inclusion and equality without companies that create jobs and pay taxes,” he defended. “We have to support small, medium and large companies, this has to improve in Europe”, he has settled.