How does BBVA contribute to promoting gender equality and empowering women?
As part of its commitment to the communities within its footprint, BBVA contributes to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goal no. nº5: achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. The 17 SDGs set out by the UN are a call for action by all countries and companies to adopt specific measures to end poverty and inequality through environmental protection and the pursuit of economic development under conditions of prosperity and social justice.
Sustainable development cannot be achieved while women continue to be denied full enjoyment of their fundamental rights and access to equal opportunities. The UN 2030 Agenda for sustainable development singles out gender equality as a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. The Agenda establishes the need for providing women with equal access to education, economic resources and political participation; along with the same occupational, leadership and decision-making opportunities that men enjoy, at all levels.
Supporting women and girls, therefore, has become a priority challenge for BBVA and the achievement of SDG 5. The entity promotes a work environment that supports gender equality, not only among its employees, but also by supporting different initiatives and through its product portfolio.
BBVA understands that workforce diversity is beneficial for both the company and for the products and services that it offers to its customers
One of the focal points of Talent and Culture’s policy is the promotion of diversity at top executive positions. This includes the adoption of measures aimed at seeking greater female representation, such as the Rooney rule, which requires 50% of candidates to fill top management positions to be women. This measure has also been applied in middle management staffing processes. As a result 40% of new appointments to key positions within the bank have been women. BBVA understands that workforce diversity is beneficial for both the company and for the products and services that it offers to its customers.
Other key measures promoted by the bank include training in unconscious biases, improving the wording of job offers using inclusive language, or collaborating with external communities (Inspiring Girls, REDI).
BBVA’s diversity efforts have earned it a place in Bloomberg’s Gender Equality Index, a list that includes the 100 best global companies in gender diversity, and in Equileap’s Global Gender Equality Report, which comprises the 200 best global companies in gender equality. BBVA is also one of the signatories of the EU Diversity Charter and the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles.
Bridging the gender gap and ensuring that women participate equitably in the economy not only benefits companies, but could add up to $28 trillion to the world’s global by 2025, according to a Mckinsey Global Institute (MGI) report.
In this light, the BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s work becomes even more remarkable. The Foundation develops different support programs for Latin American women striving to overcome barriers and secure a brighter future for their children. Because, in these countries, poverty does discriminate by gender: Indeed, poverty and financial exclusion rates are much higher among women.
Poverty and financial exclusion are conditions are in most cases passed from one generation to the next, which is why financially empowering women is a forward-looking investment. The BBVA Microfinance Foundation currently supports over 1.2 million women by offering them specialized financial services, such as products to support their children’s savings, loans for rural women or financial and technical skills training The foundation also develops several programs aimed at supporting female entrepreneurs across different Latin American countries:
- Palabra de Mujer (Woman’s Word): In Peru, this is group lending product is designed to empower women who are excluded from the financial system living in remote areas, making it easier for them to access loans, teaching them how to save, and offering them financial training.
- Agromujer: A credit product for rural women who work in agriculture and sell their produce at fairs and local or regional markets.
- Casafin: This credit product enables the most vulnerable entrepreneurs to make improvements to their homes, which are often their working spaces too.
- Management training: In Colombia, the BBVA Microfinance Foundation has reached an agreement with Marketing Personal, the country’s largest fashion mail order mail female, to offer credit lines to its female sales agents, as well as sales management, customer service and personal finance training programs.
- Victims of gender violence: The foundation runs a joint program with the State Prosecutor’s Office to serve women who are victims of gender violence, offering loans so that they can become economically independent and access the labor market in order to improve their lives and that of their families.
These programs have helped hundreds of thousands of women to make their dreams come true and aim for a better future. Women like Jessica Hernández, from Colombia, whose story has set a shining example for other women to follow; a story of self-empowerment, determination and courage to which even the UN has paid tribute.
BBVA’s ‘Pledge 2025‘ is part of the Group’s efforts to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Promoted by the United Nations, these 17 goals represent a universal call for action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity, addressing pressing areas of concern, such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption and peace and justice. Given the wide range of businesses and organizations that make up the Group, including the activity of the Microfinance Foundation, and its global footprint, BBVA is actively contributing to the achievement of all SDGs.
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