Best practices



Best practices

 Government initiatives

·         Golfo-Mosca Law

 At the national level, Italy has implemented some initiatives to improve the situation of women in decision-making position. For sure, the Golfo-Mosca Law is the most important one. The law requires that boards (executives and non-executives) of publicly listed companies and state-owned companies have at least 33% of each gender by 2015 and sets a target of 20% for the transition period. In the event of non-compliance, a progressive warning system can culminate in the eventual dissolution of the board.

·         “WE- Women for Expo”

 Secondly, Italy is hosting from May to October 2015 the EXPO Milano. In the framework of the EXPO, an interesting initiative has been launched: “WE- Women for Expo”. “WE” is a contest where private companies and organizations could apply promoting their projects where the star is a woman; they could be either start-up related projects or projects whose aim is to boost women economic empowerment. The selected ideas will have a special booth at the Expo and they will be promoted thought all the social media. In the context of this research, what should be learnt from this initiative is the visibility given to women: get awarded, get to speak in public places and get to know more people are for sure among the advices of this venture.

·         “Women Mean Business”

Thirdly, the PROGRESS project, co-funded by the European Commission, named "Women Mean Business and Economic Growth- Promoting Gender Balance in Company Boards” and coordinated by the Department for Equal Opportunities of the Presidency of Council of Ministers in collaboration with the Dondena Center for Research on Social Dynamics of the University Luigi Bocconi. The project aimed at promoting balanced representation of women and men in economic decision making: three working papers have been published at the end of the project. Specifically, they analyzed in details the transparency of hiring processes in different stages of a woman’s career, the participation of women in top management, and the participation of women in decision-making positions. Although specific information on women in middle management positions is lacking, the report28 contains a collection of Best Practices of how to support female leadership in business. Because maintaining a good work-life balance is one of the main challenges for women in middle management, companies could support them by developing specific work-life balance policies.

Company initiatives

Italian private companies have put many initiatives in place to facilitate the work-life balance:

·         Montecchio, Piemonte

An enterprise in Montecchio, Piemonte (a region in Northern Italy) gives to their employee a free baby-sitter. The employees under 35 have the possibility to send an SMS to the company baby-sitter who will be ready to take care after their children straight away. The main objective of the company goes beyond this initiative: they are planning to open a childcare close to the offices, with special tariffs and discounts for the employees. Regarding the so called “businessnursery school”, many enterprises in Italy have implemented this practice successfully, allowing their employees not to renounce to their full-time job. Between them we can find Artsana, Banca Popolare di Milano, Benetton, Calzedonia, Cariparma, Cartasì, Castiglioni Spa, Martini e Rossi, Telecom Italia Spa, Todini, Tod’s, e Unicredit.

·         CoopAdriatica

Another interesting best practice regarding work flexibility has been put in place by Coop Adriatica, a wholesale company, which proposed the project “Orari e Isole”. Thanks to this initiative all the women working in the same office and with the same responsibilities and charge, can exchange their working hours as they want to follow their family schedule. It allows women to have more flexibility and therefore to be more productive.

Moreover, other important Italian companies have implemented specific policies to promote more women to middle and top management:

·         Autogrill Group Spa

Autogrill is a catering Italian - based multinational in which women account for 61% of the total workforce. Their objective is to find the best possible solutions to gender matters: maternity, safety at work and female leadership. Autogrill has conducted both a study and a survey on the quality of the working life among the employees. They have then analyzed the percentage of women and men working in middle and top management. Since the results were not satisfying in terms of gender equality at decision making level, the company introduced new policies oriented toward conciliating family and working life, especially for those women going back to work after maternity leave.

·          CARIPARMA

Cariparma is an Italian bank, that has launched in 2012 a specific training program for their women employees who want to accede to leadership positions. The program was called “Leadership and Gender” and was directed to 40 middle managers that have been instructed with specific leadership and managerial skills.



Best practices

Government Initiatives

A number of projects have been recently implemented in Latvia to promote gender equality in decision-making positions.

·         Gender Equality in economic decision-making TOOL

The Society Integration Foundation (SIF) has implemented the Project “GENDER EQUALITY in economic decision-making- TOOL to promote economic competitiveness AND equality VALUE” within the section “Gender equality” of the EU employment and social solidarity programme “PROGRESS 2007- 2013”. The Project covered several needs at national level identified in the corresponding policy documents, priorities and challenges identified and discussed in the project elaboration process by the project partners – the Ministry of Welfare, Employers’ Confederation of Latvia, LĪDERE -Latvian Women Entrepreneurs Leaders’, The Resource Center for Women “Marta” and the Ministry of Economic. The main objective of the project was to promote balanced representation of women and men in economic decision making in Latvia; however, also other objectives have been reached. For example, “to raise awareness of large companies and highlight the importance of gender quality in company management and its added economical values”; “break stereotypes by organizing informative and educating activities for various target audience”; “present best practices of other EU member states to Latvian companies and to share best practices and initiatives of Latvian entrepreneurs in gender equality with other member states”. The project also sheds light on some interesting facts, such as that Latvia ranks 15 in the Gender Equality Index for the EU among 27 countries, that 67% of university students in 2021/2013 were women, and that women still earn 13.8% less than men.

·         Sustainability Index

 Another initiative is the yearly award ceremony for companies who have the highest scores in the so-called “Sustainability Index”. The Sustainability Index is a management tool developed on the grounds of global methodology, to help Latvian companies to establish sustainability and corporate responsibility. Participants are awarded with Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze “medal”, depending on their sustainability index score. In 2014 the focus was specifically on gender equality issues, and the criteria were the composition of employees and decision makers, the pay rates of both gender and companies main policies in terms of gender equality.

Company Initiatives

 A number of companies have developed plans to address gender diversity in general. Some have developed more specific plans to improve the proportion of women in management careers and in middle management. A few are mentioned below.

·         SIA Neste Latvia

 A good practice is SIA Neste Latvia, which was awarded the most “gender equal company” in 201460 . Its board has equal male and female representation, and equality and diversity is the one of the main values of the company. Neste has developed special measures to promote equal wages for both genders, and they pay special attention to the work-life balance of its employees.

·         Swedbank

The Latvian branch office Swedbank, a banking company of Swedish origin61 , has developed support measures for families with small children and for work-life balance, such as the possibility to have flexible working hours and remote working as well as in-company facilities for children (and babysitters). The company has a majority of women in their workforce in Latvia; only 24% of the employees are men. At senior management level 33% of the managers are women (2 out of 6 managers). Half of middle managers at the operational level are women.



Best practices

Government Initiatives

The Romanian government, civil society and companies have lately implemented a number of projects and programs to promote women in management careers. A few are described here.

·         National School of Women Managers

The project of the National School of Women Managers74 was co-financed by the European Social Fund through the Sectoral Operational Program Human Resources Development 2007-2013. The National School of Women Managers aimed to reduce gender imbalances on the labour market in Romania at managerial level in business and social policy sectors by developing a training program exclusively for women, by providing support for those who want to start a business, by providing career planning services and care for young children and by promoting success stories of women in different sectors of activity. Since 2700 women have benefited from this project, this successful approach should be carried forward in the future.

·         “Promote the women”

 “Promote the women” is a project led by the Agentia Nationala pentru Ocuparea Fortei de Munca (National Employment Office from Romania). The project has been implemented in the framework of the 3rd key area of intervention “Promoting equal opportunities on the labour market”. The main goals of the project were to improve applicant’s capacity in order to promote the integration of women into the labour market, as well as promoting the equal opportunities principles to avoid discriminatory practices. To reach those goals, the ANOFM carried out a number of actions: analyzing the rate of women employment in the Romanian labour market; raising awareness in order to convince social agents of the importance of promoting equal opportunities in order to avoid and overcome difficulties within the labour market, and to combat stereotypes; exchanging good practices through transnational cooperation; identifying needs regarding the professional development of women; training beneficiaries women75 .

 Civil society initiatives

·         “Women on boards”

The program “Women on boards” implemented by the Professional Women’s Network Romania76 provides support to its individual members in accelerating their career through mentoring, coaching and leadership training. The program also assists companies in developing gender diversity programs while supporting public policies aiming at enabling women access to decision-making positions. While promoting the business benefits associated with gender diversity on corporate boards, “Women on boards” asked for cooperation from different stakeholders that can contribute to this change: companies, government and women themselves. This project brings with it the most emblematic best practices of middle management: mentoring is particularly needed when trying to reach middle management positions starting from the bottom; coaching and leadership training are essential skills which need to be taught to develop competitive middle managers. Lower middle managers can lack of this specific skills: training is necessary to climb the ladder.

·         Partnership for Equality Centre (CPE)

 The programme “Work Life Balance, makes life work” implemented by the Partnership for Equality Centre (CPE) had as overall objective the promotion of policies and measures on flexible work practices and personal-life reconciliation in companies on the Bucharest-Ilfov radius. Specifically, the project promoted the share of information and transnational best practices; training for a thousand managers; consulting for private companies and awards for those which developed policies to conciliate professional and family life. Company initiatives Metropolitan Life Metropolitan Life launched “The Women Community” in order to contribute to the professional and personal development of the women in the organization. Metropolitan Life’s Women Community aims to develop a mentoring program for women to encourage them in their professional development, offers regular medical checks and professional and personal development seminars (80% of the Metropolitan Life employees in Romania are women and 50% of the local executive management team is women).

·         Carrefour Romania

 Carrefour is the first retailer to be certified at international level for its efforts to promote equal opportunities in the workplace. Carrefour Romania regularly shares examples of best practice and showcases its “women leaders”: women currently account for 40% of Carrefour Romania's Executive Committee. The company implements organisational structures to promote a better work-life balance; specific training for women; wage equality policies and social dialogue.



Best practices

 A number of activities and programs have been implemented to improve women’s situation in decision-making in Spain by government, civil society and companies. A few are described below.

Government Initiatives

·         Voluntary Agreements

 One of the latest agreements, which have been signed, was on 21 st of January 2014: the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality signed the first voluntary basis agreement with 31 private companies. The pact says that in the next four years these 31 companies will implement special policies in order to have more women in decision-making positions. This is a pioneer venture in Spain and one of the main agreements between the Governments and the entrepreneurial sector to boost equal representation of men and women in middle and top management.

·         EOI Project

 EOI, School of Industrial Organization together with the secretary of Social Services and Equality have implemented in 2013/2014 a project specifically directed to women in middle managementwho wanted to enter top management. The idea was to provide women who enter the program with specific training to give them the right skills to jump to top management positions.

·         Project “Promociona”

The Ministry of Equal Opportunities, the EEA Grants, ESADE Business School and CEOE started in 2011 (another phase will be implemented in 2015) the project “Promociona”. It aims at changing the situation of the boards of directors of private companies in Spain by signing collaborating agreements with private enterprises. To participate, women must have had at least 15 years of expertise and they must have held a responsibility position within their company. The project includes an academic program at the ESADE Business School, individual mentoring and coaching, 2.0 communities and many networking activities. This year, 80 women who are currently in middle management are expected to reach high level of decision-making position thanks to this program.

Civil Society Initiatives

·         AFAEMME

 In 2010 AFAEMME developed the project “Implementing gender policies in decision-making positions in SME’s”. The project’s aim was to raise awareness among SME’s about the social and economic benefits of promoting a higher number of women to decision-making positions. In order to achieve this main goal, AFAEMME identified the obstacles for women to get access to these positions in 5 Spanish regions and which measures could favor an easier incorporation of female qualified workforce into responsibility posts. The main obstacles identified were: difficulty to conciliate personal and work life; stereotypes regarding women’s leadership abilities; reticence of women CEOs to incorporate other women. The main measures proposed were: policies and measures to help women conciliate their career with family’s commitments; role models in the enterprises; mentoring programs; flexible working hours.

Company Initiatives

·         Mutua Madrilena

A Spanish mutual insurance company has implemented a number of actions to facilitate women’s career in middle management. Employees can work from home starting from the sixth month of pregnancy and they have flexible hours and economic support during childbirth. The company specifically wants to promote more women in top management, and it is working on the aspects that see women stuck at middle management level such as difficulty to get a promotion and poor visibility.

·         Santander Bank

The Spanish bank promotes the value of gender balance in middle and top management since gender equality “is not only a matter of justice; it is also a matter of business growth”. One of the milestones of its strategy is the “Plan Alcanza”, a training program aimed at supporting women with high potential during crucial moments of their career. In its first three years of its implementation, more than 200 women in middle management have been trained with business and leadership advices, and have been guided by internal.



Best practices

Government initiatives

·         Lord Davies Report

In order to address the underrepresentation of women in leadership position, the government nominated Lord Davies of Abersoch to conduct a research on how it could be possible to remove obstacles for women participation on board. His recommendations say that listed companies in the

FTSE 100 should reach a minimum of 25% of female board member by 2015. In October 2011 the first monitoring report of the review actually shown that little progress have been made: women made up 14.2% of FTSE 100 board members118 . Lord Davies also recommended in his report that “executive search firms “should draw up a voluntary code of conduct addressing gender diversity and best practice which cover the relevant search criteria and processes relating to FTSE350 board level appointments”: this recommendation were followed in the UK. In fact, Over 70 firms signed up to the original voluntary “Code of Conduct” launched in 2011. The Code was then enhanced in 2014 “Enhanced Code of Conduct for executive search firms to support more women appointments to FTSE 350 boards”. The new version of this Code contains 10 new provisions, which go from launching initiatives to support women to sharing of best practice and running awareness programs within their own firms. Among these new provisions, firms have supported the appointment of at least 4 women to FTSE 100/250 boards over the last year; they have achieved a proportion of at least 33% female appointments across all their FTSE 100/250 board work; they have supported women in achieving their first FTSE 350 board appointment119 . This best practice could serve as a good example specifically for women in middle management. Among the new provisions of the Code, we can find for example “defining briefs”: search firms should work to ensure that significant weight is given to relevant skills, underlying competencies and personal capabilities and not just proven career experience (therefore, give to middle managers the possibility to go above even if they don’t have a huge career experience), in order to extend the pool of candidates beyond those with existing board roles or conventional corporate careers. Also, another provision is regarding the “Long lists”: when presenting their long lists, search firms should ensure that at least 30% of the candidates are women. This should happen both at higher middle management and at top management recruiting120 .

·         Think, Act and Report Campaign

 Moreover, it is very interesting to see a best practice conducted by the Government of UK, a campaign launched in September 2011 called “Think, Act & Report”. Think, Act and Report provides a simple step-by-step framework to help companies think about gender equality in their workforces, particularly in relation to recruitment, retention, promotion and pay. The campaign encourages companies to: think. So companies have to identify any issues around gender equality, collecting and considering relevant data from across the company. Act: they have to take actions to address those issues. Report: reports on the progress must publish information on how they are doing, sharing best practices and case studies.

Other initiatives

Finally, it is worth mentioning the TOP 50 list which is published from the Times every year. This list reveals the organisations that have best demonstrated that gender equality is a key part of their business strategy, and the last one has been published in April 2014. This practice could be considered very important because, since the list is publicly accessible, everybody can see which are the leading companies regarding gender equality in the UK. Therefore, it is like a domino effect: if a big private company producing an x product sees that another big private company which produces as well an x product is on the list of the best organizations with gender equality, then it will start to support it as well.




Best practices

 In this section a selection of government and company examples and initiatives is presented.

Government initiatives

· Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi demonstrated that he is serious in trying to change his country’s negative image when it comes to women in leadership positions. Not only does his cabinet consist of 50% women, in April 2014 he appointed four women as presidents at four of the five largest public corporations: Eni (oil and gas), Enel (electricity), the Post Office and Terna (national grid system). Despite the fact that these president’s positions do not hold the powers invested in the chief executive positions, it has important value that women are now fulfilling these high profile tasks. The female presidents, who were all deemed very qualified in the public opinion, are recognized as inspiring role models for other women.

Company initiatives

 Italian subsidiaries that are part of international groups (like IBM, L’Oreal, GE) benefit from the policies and plans for gender equality these companies have been developing at Group level more than a decade ago already. In this section we will look at Italian-based or Italian-founded large companies (not part of these large international groups) that have developed specific plans to advance women through the managerial ranks.

Many of the reported good practices below were developed and implemented during the time the quota law was being prepared and debated. It is clear that the quota law has had an unprecedented effect on companies to develop policies and tools to address the underrepresentation of women in management positions.

·         Value D (Valore D)

Valore D is the first Italian association40 of large companies to support the development of women's leadership. The association’s goal is to promote a ‘new cultural model that foresees full participation of women in economic and social life of the country’. One of its activities (since 2012) is to offer a 12- month training to women on boards of Italian listed companies. In collaboration with executive search firm Egon Zehnder and international law firm Linklaters the training prepares women to be effective in their role as board member. It focuses on developing the necessary competencies and capabilities. Companies also take part in the program and identify internal potential candidates. The training includes sessions of team mentoring, expert sessions on the functioning of the board (responsibilities, tasks), networking events with other board members and skill-building workshops (on networking, self-empowerment). From 2012 – 2015 270 women from business, culture and politics will be training through this program to take on board roles at listed companies. Autogrill, Unicredit and Eni have joined the Valor D program.

·         Unicredit

Unicredit is an Italian-based listed banking group, and one of the largest banks in Italy, with around 150,000 employees worldwide. In 2013 41% of the total workforce consisted of women. However, top positions such as CEO, Chairman and all Vice Chairmen (4) of the Board are all in the hands of men. Currently, four out of 19 members of the board of directors are women (21%). Only one of the members of the Executive Management Committee (14 members) is female, Marina Natale, the CFO. This means the company does not yet comply with the requirement of having at least one-third female board members. In accordance with the law, the company will have to propose women board candidates at next Shareholders Meeting in May 2015. The company is actively building a pipeline of talented women. In 2013 the share of open senior management positions for which candidates of both genders were considered had doubled, and almost 50% of these appointments went to women. In 2013 20% of senior management, 39% of middle management and 51% of professionals were women. The company introduced an international Gender Balance Program specifically dedicated to developing a more gender balanced leadership pipeline. The program includes setting targets of at least 30% women on the board of directors and on the boards of subsidiaries. In addition it provides specific guidelines for HR processes and practices that prevent gender bias and aim at creating a level playing field for all employees41 . A learning module ‘Inclusion@Work’, about the impact of gender differences for the business, was developed at Group level for local implementation. Setting targets is a first step, but implementing tools and policies and measuring outcomes are as important to ensure targets are reached. Unicredit has created a system of transparency reporting on this topic on their public website: a wide range of statistics on women and men is (or will be in the future) available at Group level and some on country level. This Gender Balance Monitoring Dashboard measures the impact of the local initiatives in the Group and enhances the efforts to promote gender balance. Other measures implemented were the appointment of diversity managers in legal entities, a strong Group- and local-level communication plan to raise awareness of gender issues, a video featuring top managers affirming their commitment and further development of the UniCredit Women’s International Network. A specific program to increase women in leadership positions has been developed in Italy. The program consists of the identification and monitoring of career progress of 166 high potential women to make sure they become part of the leadership talent pool. So-called Leadership Lab for Inclusion sessions for 150 male and female managers was organized. Other general gender initiatives focused on raising awareness of the value of diversity and fostering cultural change. Special mention needs the initiative of one of UniCredit’s members, the HypoVereinsbank (HVB) in Germany. The HVB Women’s Council42 is a forum for dialogue between the Bank, its customers and multipliers from industry, politics and society. Its members are 30 outstanding female entrepreneurs (in e.g. tax advice, consultancy) and managers from various companies (such as HP, Microsoft, Zurich Group) who are appointed for a term of 2 years. The Council organizes regular events and has a mentoring programme aimed at filling the Group’s leadership pipeline. Members of the HVB Women’s Council are mentoring women from middle and junior management on their career path.

·         Autogrill

 Autogrill is an Italian-based company in food and drink services for travelers, with almost 50,000 employees worldwide. The company prides itself to finding ‘the best possible solutions to gender matters: maternity, safety at work and female leadership43’. The workforce consists of 61% women. At Headquarters women make up 28% of top managers and 42% of senior managers. Women occupy almost a quarter (23%) of the most senior positions in the field (network management). On the board of directors (13) three women hold positions (23%), and none on the Board of Statutory Auditors (3). Autogrill has created an internal mentoring project ‘EmpoWer’ in which more experienced colleagues mentor younger ones. It aims at developing employees’ conduct and the company’s culture and organisation. The program acts as an extra channel for employees to learn new skills and enhancing organizational competencies. Because more experienced mentors share their experiences, organizational competencies are being strengthened too. Issues regarding female leadership were the focus of the 2014 EmpoWer program. A group of women operating in the Autogrill central headquarters took part in the association Value D and participated in meetings and workshops on these issues, investing in a different approach to business as an added value for the company.

·         Eni

 Eni is one of the largest public companies and is part of the oil and gas industry. Only 16.5% of employees are female. In April 2014 the Prime Minister appointed a woman, Emma Marcegaglia, as president of the company. The share of women in managerial positions is marginally increasing from 21% in 2011 to 21.5% in 2013. The presence of women on the Board of Directors and the Boards of Statutory Auditors of Eni Group companies grew dramatically: from 5.7% in administrative bodies and 8.5% in supervisory bodies in 2011 to respectively 14% and 27.6% in 2013. Per May 2014 the Board of Directors included three women out of 9 (33%).

A number of measures were taken by the company to ensure gender diversity in decision-making bodies would increase:

  1. Immediate appointments of women in accordance with the law (in 2013). Eni’s board of directors now consists of 3 women (33%) and 6 men. For the 2013 elections involving 23 Eni subsidiaries, the goal was raised with 38.8% of the Directors and 36.2% of the standing statutory auditors appointed being women, out of the total positions to be appointed by Eni.
  2.  In 2013, Eni and its subsidiaries amended their By-laws to ensure that for three consecutive terms the composition of the Boards of Directors and the Boards of Statutory Auditors will comply with the new law.
  3.  Eni’s Corporate Governance Code was revised to include gender in the Board evaluation process.
  4.  At the Shareholders Meeting voting slates with three or more candidates have to include candidates of both genders. In case the amended voting slate mechanism does not result in the minimum required gender representation an impartial mechanism is used based upon the number of votes received by the candidates to identify members of the over-represented gender to be replaced by members of the under-represented gender.
  5. In 2013 a model for monitoring the composition of the boards of directors of Italian and foreign subsidiaries was implemented. Not only gender is being monitored, but also age, skills, nationality, experience, and seniority. The goal is to monitor long-term trends and make it easier to identify improvements to be made.
  6. Research will be conducted in 2015 in cooperation with SDA Bocconi to identify suitable indicators for greater inclusion of women in the workplace.
  7. In the board induction process for new members of the Board of Directors specific attention is paid to the benefits of diversity in the corporate decision making bodies.



Best practices

Government initiatives

The Latvian government is actively working to stimulate and motivate companies to take gender equality in decision-making serious.

·         Rigas satiksme

The government has set an example with the gender composition of the boards of some of the government-owned companies: for instance the major public transport service in Latvia Rigas satiksme has a board on which 3 women and 4 men serve. One of the company’s good practices is to always have representative of the less represented gender on the recruitment committees. Another government initiative has been to add gender equality to the Sustainability Index.

·         Index for Sustainability and Gender Equality

The development of this index is part of the EU project “Gender equality in decision-making” of the EU PROGRESS 2007-2013 program. It consists of a voluntary business-led self-evaluation tool for companies to assess their non-financial performance in all aspects of corporate responsibility. The Index includes four key strategic areas, i.e. community, environment, marketplace and workplace. Companies that participate can be ranked in four categories, Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. In 2014 the focus was on gender equality issues. Three main criteria were assessed: gender composition of employee base and decision makers, existence of the equal pay gap and the content of the company’s gender equality policy. Participating companies receive special recommendations and guidelines on how to implement good practice and more specific individual recommendations from experts.

Company initiatives

As for companies, the SIF Study concluded that specific support measures and initiatives to promote women in management positions are very rare. They can mostly be found in companies that are branches or subsidiaries of international companies. A few good practices, although not all specifically related to promoting women to top management, are listed hereunder.

·         CEMEX

CEMEX is an international company that produces cement and other building materials. Although it was mentioned in the “SIF Study” as a good practice further investigation did not confirm this status.

The board of the Latvian subsidiary consists of 5 men and only one woman (17%). The only female board member is responsible for HR policies, which is often not the most powerful position on a board. CEMEX provides employees with the option to work from home and reduced workloads for parents (men and women)82. Public information about the company’s gender diversity policy is scarce. In the CSR Good Practice initiatives catalog 201483 CEMEX HR director Linda Sedlere explained that employees are recruited on the basis of their ability and their career experience; gender, age, race, color or other personal characteristics are explicitly not taken into account. CEMEX personnel policy is transparent: job opportunities and personal growth are encouraged for women and men alike. Specific programs to improve the talent pool for women senior managers were not reported in public information. At Group level CEMEX has embraced the United Nation’s Global Compact and stated that ‘a strict Diversity and Equality Policy’ is implemented. However, this policy is not published on the website. It also stated that initiatives and programs for women are in place in 50% of the operating countries. At Group level CEMEX Board of Directors consists of only men (10), so does the Group Management Team (14 men). On the Group website only general statements about diversity can be found, but none related to women or gender. In the CEMEX Code of Ethics and Business Conduct discrimination and harassment are addressed, but not gender diversity or equality between women and men. The only reference to women can be found in a few negative statements, which serve as examples to identify discrimination, such as: “Can you believe she was promoted? Everyone knows women don’t make good leaders.”

·         Neste Oil Latvia

Neste Oil is a Finnish-based international oil company, with 5,000 employees, and recipient of the ‘The Most Equal Company’ award in Latvia. The Group’s Equality and Diversity policy is based on the belief that diverse employee pool will give the company a competitive edge in the future, both in the marketplace and the labor market to attract the best possible talents. Neste Oil’s Group executive board consists of 2 women and 8 men. The Group’s board of directors is gender-balanced with 3 women and 4 men. However, the leadership of the Latvian subsidiary is 100% male85 . The percentage of women and men in the Riga office is 50-50, and the equal pay gap is relatively small (4.6%). The gender composition of the workforce and of each management level is closely monitored. In recruitment gender is not specifically taken into account, only ‘suitability for the job’. Parental leave is available for all employees, and unlike in many other Latvian companies women are not pressured to come back quickly after childbirth. At the ceremony for ‘The Most Equal Company’ award the company emphasized that equal participation of women and men in a company’s senior and middle management improves the functioning of the organization and its financial results. Arttu Airiainen, General Manager of Neste Oil Latvia commented: “Our experiences are in line with the study results, for our financial results have improved four years in a row.” Neste Oil Latvia won the title of ‘The most equal company’. Eva Sietiņsone– Zatlere, chairman of the board of the company A/S Cēsu Alus was awarded the title of ‘The most successful woman enterprise leader’. The importance of this award was emphasized by Latvian Parliament Speaker Ms. Solvita Āboltiņa: "I believe that this nomination and the winner could be an inspiration and good example for other women who are willing to set high career targets”.

·         Glaxo SmithKline Latvia

GlaxoSmithKline Latvia, a subsidiary of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies, has 45 staff and annual sales 2012 of USD 12 million. Around 70% of employees and half of the managers are women. In the GSK Latvia Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2013 there is a specific paragraph dedicated to Equality and Inclusion. The company strives to create a work environment that is bias free, equal and inclusive and a company culture that is able to attract and retain talented employees. Only in the GSK Global Policy ‘gender’ is specifically mentioned. At the time (2013) the company had a female CEO. The company has actively developed and implemented family-friendly policies and was awarded the ‘family-friendly enterprise status’ by the Society Integration Foundation Sustainability Index: "GSK Latvia was one of the companies that participated in the evaluation, in order to qualify for a gender equitable corporate award, which is presented within the Sustainability Index Society Integration Foundation. GSK showed real equality of treatment both in terms of sex ratios and remuneration paid to the various categories of workers, both educational opportunities and other aspects. Also, the resulting family-friendly enterprise status is indicative of the company's special treatment of their employees." The company provides flexible working time, to support staff with children, and ensures that women returning from maternity leave find their position as they left it, with no change in scope or activities. In addition, the company organizes specific children’s activities at the office so children can learn where their parents are working. Regular employee surveys are being carried out and online seminars on energy management and work life balance are offered to employees. Specific programs for women in management in the Latvian subsidiary could not be found on the website.

Other good practices

·         Mentoring programs

The women’s association Lidere86 has developed a free of charge mentoring program for women entrepreneurs (in 2005) to foster the development of entrepreneurship. New women entrepreneurs are paired with experienced male mentors for sharing of knowledge and experience. Until 2014 over 600 women participated in this program, of which 145 were already working in a company and of which 25 started their own company. The European Successful Women Academy87 by the National Coordination (2012) provides mentoring programs with a few high profile women mentors, such as former Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga. This program is very important for the role models they provide to younger women.

·         Promoting women in science

L’Oreal is actively promoting women in science with the L’OREAL Latvian Scholarship “For Women in Science” with the support from UNESCO Latvian National Commission and the Latvian Academy of Sciences. Since 2004 this scholarship has been awarded to 30 female researchers in the field of life and applied sciences.



Best Practices

 Some initiatives and organizations have been set up to address issues like work life balance, gender violence and improving women’s participation in political life. However, very few are (partly) dedicated to improving the underrepresentation of women in management positions. In addition, very few companies have published their plans on this topic. The selection below contains several initiatives and one company best practice.

·         Gender Diversity Conference

Consulting firm HART initiated and carried out research on female leadership ‘Gender Diversity: How Is it Seen in Romanian Business?’. It focused on various aspects, such as what types of roles or jobs are best suited for men and women, which attitudes do people have towards women in leader roles, how could diversity be managed in organizations and good practices and valuable lessons from abroad. The results of their research were presented in the conference that took place on the 27th of November 2013. First of all, it concluded that the topic has not been sufficiently researched yet. In addition it found that there are two prevailing myths about women in executive positions: women don’t want to become managers, and women don’t have the same managerial skills as men109. In the survey of 836 participants 83% disagreed with the statement that women do not like power positions, and 51% disagreed that women lack leadership skills. More than half (56%) agreed that management positions take women away from their family. Only 2% agreed that Romanian society treats men and women correctly and equally.

·         Female Leadership Organization

 Among the new initiatives is the platform ‘Female Leadership Organization’ (June 2014)110. It aims to contribute to increasing the proportion of women in board positions from 16% to 40% (the EU target) by offering a number of tools. These tools include mentoring programs and executive coaching, training programs and job searches. Since the platform started only recently no results have been published yet.

·         Global Women Leadership Initiative Romania

This platform was established upon initiative of Hillary Clinton, which aims at achieving '50 by 50': 50% of women in leadership positions in 2050. This initiative aims to inspire and contribute to the development of a new generation of women, willing and able to assume influential roles in decisionmaking. GWLIR intends to develop programs and projects in the political-administrative, business and academic world while promoting the harmonization of Romanian legislation, the adoption of European legislation, UN and OSCE principles. It is cooperating with HR Club on the project dedicated to promoting women in leadership positions in public administration. In addition it works with the Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Protection and the Elderly, which will create the framework for the implementation of concrete projects. The GWLIR tries to capture the momentum for the next generation women leaders. The Minister said111 that in 2014 29,000 women were patron manager of the company and 34% of women were in management positions in business. The minister added that in 2013 Romania ranked 1 in Europe with 47% women in decision-making positions in the administration.

·         GSK Romania

At GSK Romania women are not only a majority in the workforce (63%), but also at the top level. Three out of four general managers are female. General manager Consumer Healthcare Romania and the Adriatics, Helen Tomlinson, is a well-known businesswoman and has become an important role model for younger women. She was included in the “Top 100 Young Managers” list of Romania’s Business Magazine. GSK Romania has an innovative approach offering employees various choices in benefits packages, in order to promote gender equality. In the Flexible Benefits Plan employees can choose benefits related to educational services, sports activities and other activities for the welfare of their family.

·         Cross Company Mentoring Program for Women Leaders Romania

A specific program to promote more women in management positions is the mentoring program “Women Leadership – Cross Company Mentoring Program”. The program, started by Oracle, has been rolled out in a number of countries, like Spain, Switzerland, the UK and Romania. GSK Romania joined the program in 2013. Two female managers receive mentoring from senior women leaders in other companies. In addition, one of GSK’s general managers, Barbara Cygler, has become a mentor for women managers in other participating companies. Other Romanian companies that have joined are Petrom, Renault and Xerox. The benefits of this program are many, not only for the individual women mentees, but also for the companies involved. The mentees (all women) tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience of the mentors, who are all male and female directors or board members. The participating companies come from different industries but have similar business models. The mentoring relationship has duration of 6 months. Women mentees benefit from the program because it strengthens their position and career prospects, and builds their confidence and resolve. In addition, it expands their network at the executive level. Through the program the companies exchange their best practices and learn each other. This enriches the gender equality plans at company level.



Best Practices

In addition to government initiatives we analysed three companies that had been successful in having women on their board (2013): Bankinter has a female CEO, whereas Jazztel and REE both had a large proportion of women on their boards. We investigated if these companies publish having specific policies to promote women in management and on their boards. Government initiatives

·         ‘Proyecto Promociona’ (‘Promotion Project’)

The Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality has developed a ‘promotion project’ in collaboration with the Norwegian government and business school ESADE. The project’s objective is to train 115 women senior managers in 3 years in order to prepare them to take board positions. Business school ESADE provides the training and additional coaching and mentoring. Participants are women senior managers from SMEs and large companies and from different sectors. The project is funded under a European Economic Area Agreement with Norway and is free for participants.

·         Voluntary agreements

Voluntary agreements between the Ministry of Health and (now) 42 companies to increase the presence of women in management positions and on boards were signed in 2014. The agreement is unique since it also covers board positions. The signatories undertake to develop a variety of measures such as for reconciling work and private life and for improving the gender balance in training and career advancement and for the appointment of management positions. One of the companies that signed the voluntary agreement is Ferrovial. Company initiatives

·         Ferrovial

Ferrovial is one of the leading infrastructure and services operators. Of the total of 69.000 employees, 30% are women and 15% of the executives are female. On the Board of Directors (12 members) there is one woman only, so is on the Management Committee (11 members). The group’s equality policy in the Human Capital Report states that equality is based on merit: “All employees are given equal opportunities to advance their professional careers on the basis of merit.” Nevertheless the company is one of the 31 (now 42 already) companies that signed a voluntary agreement in 2014 with the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality to increase the presence of women in executive positions to 20% in four years136. This increase (probably one or two board members) might seem not such an ambitious goal. Interestingly, the role of the Board’s Appointments and Remunerations Committee in this process is emphasized: “The Committee ensures that all director selection procedures are free of any bias that might hinder the selection of a given director on the grounds of personal circumstances. As part of Board renewal, said Committee deliberately set out to seek women matching the required professional profile”. Under the voluntary agreement the company will have to issue biannual reports on progress in order to identify and address any barriers that may be encountered in the process. Ferrovial was among the first recipients of the ‘Equal Employer’ distinction in 2011, for its communication plan, training policies and approach towards equal opportunities.

·         Bankinter

 Bankinter is a large IBEX-listed commercial bank. In 2010 Maria Dolores Dancausa Trevino was appointed as its CEO. To date the board consists of two women (CEO and a board member) and 8 men, so 20%. The bank’s gender equality policy is to combat positive and negative discrimination. Through half-yearly analyses and reporting on a number of indicators progress is being tracked. The company adheres to the EFR (Family-Responsible Firm) Model. From data reported in the Sustainability Report 2013137 it can be observed that the gender balance in the workforce (51% women) does not translate into gender balance at director level; 34% of directors are women, which is a slight decrease compared to the year before (35.7%). In 2013 52% of the promotions went to women against 47% to men. Bankinter takes part in various initiatives related to the development of work/life balance measures and flexible working and prides itself in renewing the EFR qualifications. No specific programs to advance women in management positions or on boards have been published.

·         Jazztel

Jazztel is a global telecommunications operator. In 2013 Jazztel had 40% women on the board. Currently it is 37.5%. There is no gender equality policy available on the website, nor in the Corporate Governance Report (2011 is the latest).

·         REE

Red Electrica de Espana is the operator of the Spanish electricity system. REE has 36% women on the board and publishes this widely on the website, like the equal opportunities and diversity plans138 . In 2013 a Comprehensive Equality Plan was implemented with specific target areas, including the promotion of women into positions of responsibility. The company was successful in increasing the share of women in management teams via internal promotions. The company does not publish any targets for women in management, nor does it mention specific programs (like skills building or management development) for women. Main actions are geared towards raising awareness and participation in forums related to equal opportunities and diversity. REE has signed the voluntary agreement with the Ministry of Health to achieve at least 20% women in executive positions and the board in four years.



Best Practices

In February Business Secretary Vince Cable revealed the top 10 companies who had improved their female representation the most between 2010 and October 2014. These companies were Old Mutual, Aggreko, Glaxosmithkline, Wolseley, Land Securities Group, Associated British Foods, Capita, Petrofac, Weir Group and HSBC. Only two FTSE100 companies have now reached gender balance on their boards; Diageo (45.5%) and Capita (44.4%). We looked at which specific actions these companies publicly reported to have taken to reach this goal.

·         Diageo

 Diageo is a global company in beverage alcohol, with 28,000 employees. On its Board of Directors currently 5 out of 12 are women (42%), and on it’s Executive Committee 5 out of 15 (33%). The company is recognized for being a leader in this area when it was awarded the ‘Breaking the Mould Award’ at the Institute of Directors (November 2014). Next to a firm board commitment (Lord Davies being one of the board members), the company actively sets out to create a pipeline of talented senior women for future leadership roles. Almost 30% of senior leaders are women already. In the 2020 Sustainability & responsibility Report the company sets a target of 30% of leadership positions to be held by women by 2020. In addition, it mentions implementing various measures to help female employees attain and develop in leadership roles. These include recognizing that women and men often face different challenges, especially women who are building a career while raising a family; flexibility of career paths, with the option to step on and off ‘the fast track’; connections with diverse role models; building an inclusive culture, which offers opportunities to better manage responsibilities at work and at home; such as flexible hours, reduced schedules. The company’s global women’s network Spirited Women fulfills an important role in encouraging women to expand their ambitions and aim higher in their careers.

·         Capita plc

Capita is a provider of business process management and integrated professional support service solutions, with 68,000 staff. Of the 10 members of the Board of Directors 4 are women (40%). It has a clear and published ‘Equality and diversity policy’157, which not only extends to employees but also to contractors and subcontractors. The policy is built on the belief that the company’s success is a direct result of the experience and quality of its employees, and that developing talents while recognizing differences is the key to success. Employees are obliged to take online Diversity Awareness Training, and receive tools and handbooks. In addition, monitoring and reporting on every stage of employment is carried out to ensure any form of discrimination is removed. However, no specific reference is made to developing women leaders. In the Corporate Governance statement 2013 the board expresses to see “significant business benefit in having access to the diversity of thinking that comes from people with a wide range of backgrounds at all levels”. Another good practice is the UK’s voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms. The board appointment process is one of the factors accounting for gender imbalances. Executive search firms play a significant role as intermediaries in the elite labour market.

·         Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms

Lord Davies recommended in his report158 that “executive search firms should draw up a Voluntary Code of Conduct addressing gender diversity and best practice which covers the relevant search criteria and processes relating to FTSE 350 board level appointments.” As a result of these recommendations, the original Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms was launched in 2011 and signed by over 70 search firms. In March 2014, the results of an independent research into the transparency, the integrity and the impact of the executive search agencies’ Code of Conduct was published.159 The review highlighted that some executive search firms had taken their commitment to the provisions of the code much more seriously than others. A new Enhanced Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms was introduced on July 1st 2014. The Enhanced Voluntary Code of Conduct for Executive Search Firms is drawn up by the search firms themselves working with the Davies Steering Group and contains ten new provisions to promote gender diversity in the FTSE 350. These recommendations vary from launching initiatives to support aspiring women to the sharing of best practices and running awareness programmes within their own firms. It recognizes firms that have driven progress and have promoted gender diversity in the FTSE 350 companies, against the scope of the Davies Review by awarding them accreditation.160 A separate accreditation category was set out in parallel under the Enhanced Code, to recognize the efforts of those firms working with boards outside the FTSE 350. Firms that wished to be considered for accreditation under the Enhanced Code had to submit their data for a 12-month consecutive period covering 2013/2014. The names of firms accredited under the Enhanced Code were announced on the 30th September 2014 and published on the government’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills website. This time, six companies were accredited for promoting gender diversity within the FTSE 350, five companies outside the FTSE 350 and three companies in both categories.161 Again, an indication of naming and shaming can be found here. The operation of the Enhanced Code will be monitored in the first 12 months and reviewed by key stakeholders at the end of 2015 and updated as appropriate.


3)Women Innovative Women Business Owners on Boards of Innovative Companies


·         Open doors to new talent and un-tapped pools

Opening the doors for new talents from untapped pools such as innovative women on boards of innovative companies is inevitably the way forward and more resources should be placed in addressing this crucial aspect. EUWIIN has over the years observed that women tend to participate more effectively in different business networks and different business associations than men. This has led to men and women having access to different information because of where they are placed in terms of information about market opportunities, information about technology, and information about all kinds of things that could help in the growth of their business. Clearly in this GUIDE, there is evidence of the differences in skills, experience and education between men and women. However there are many interventions that can be seen as good practice and could be further improved.

·         The business case and proof of board merit

Maggie Berry of WEconnect International in Europe highlighted the Business Case for Women on Boards by referring to The 2007 McKinsey & Company Women Matter: Gender Diversity a Corporate Performance Driver report: European listed companies with more women in their management teams, had 17% higher stock price growth between 2005 and 2007, and their average operating profit was almost double their industry average. In 2011 the Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Women Board Directors report highlighted that the Fortune 500 companies with the most women board directors outperformed those with the least by 16% cent on return on sales and outperformed those with the least by 26% on return on invested capital. Also companies with high representation of women – 3+ – on their boards over at least four to five years, significantly outperformed those with low representation by 84% on return on sales, by 60% on return on invested capital and by 46% on return on equity.

·         Career routes and education preferences

The question is ‘What can innovative women in business do to become more visible and demonstrate that they merit inclusion on the Boards of innovative companies?’

 Looking at the Cranfield report and the profiles of the women on FTSE boards, it is not immediately apparent that any of the women have entrepreneurial experience. The very fact that this is not mentioned even though it could be possible that it exists shows that it is not seen as an important aspect. The women all seem to have experience in large companies. Below, there are two examples of women from a large company perspective and from a SME perspective. The examples demonstrate a difference in routes in their achievements in decision-making positions and the opportunities taken in order to achieve this.

·         Choice of education can act as major catalyst - Anne Bouverot

Anne Bouverot, Director General & Board Member, GSMA under her title keynote address at the EUWIIN Roundtable on the 3 February 2015, "Women and Decision-Making – Is There a "Right" Answer?" provided an insight into the world of being a woman in decision making positions. Anne provided a brief understanding of her background and the very solid foundation that helped shaped her career. Her presentation provided the opportunity to consider areas, which led to recommendations that could lead to increasing the chances of women getting to senior decisionmaking positions. Anne’s main recommendations were directed at the women pursuing the opportunity to fill positions on innovative companies and the role that Innovative companies should play for the advancement of women in their establishments. Anne brings to the GSMA a wealth of experience and a proven track record of success in the highly dynamic mobile industry. With a deep understanding of the opportunities and the challenges facing mobile operators today, she leads the GSMA as the essential industry partner for its operator members around the world, enabling their continued success through driving innovation, providing thought leadership and advocating for the industry. Anne explained that her father played a significant role in her choice of subjects, which were quite technical in nature. She achieved advanced degrees in both computer science and mathematics, as well as in telecommunications, and this prepared her for not only the technical roles that she held early in her career, such as project management, but for also the business development and management positions she gained. Anne regards certain sectors as quite attractive to gaining women access to decision-making positions and is a great supporter of encouraging young girls into ICT. She sees many of the technical sectors as broad-reaching impact, with important economic, social and even environmental ramifications and this can be a great attraction to many large companies. Before joining the GSMA, Anne was Executive Vice President for Mobile Services for France Telecom Orange, where she defined the strategic transformation programmes for a business serving more than 120 million customers and revenues of more than 14 billion euros at the time. Prior to France Telecom Orange, Anne led a 600-person business unit of Equant and was responsible for developing IT services for Equant’s multinational business customers. She began her career in telecommunications as project manager for Telmex in Mexico in 1991. Today, women remain under-represented in crucial sectors such as ICT (see Figure 15) in today’s fast growing digital society therefore major awareness campaigns for making these sectors attractive should be undertaken.

·         Build capacity and capability by starting small - Natalie Campbell

According to entrepreneur, Natalie Campbell in an article in the on line newspaper The Guardian4 dated 28 November 2014, she highlights some good practices and advocates that women should consider starting small. “The inclusive, talent-driven culture in many SMEs and third sector organisations offers a unique opportunity for board-level experience,” says Natalie Campbell. Natalie is very much in favour of women getting into decision making positions by starting and gaining experience on the boards of SME’s. She wrote, “Get to grips with what good board governance is and isn’t before committing yourself to something bigger.” She recommends that it is best to join a Board that does something one loves or are passionate about. “This means you’ll have no problem sitting in a room for five hours staring at projections, because you are connected to the mission, vision and delivery of the business.” Natalie’s first assumption is that “SME businesses operate less of a closed “boys club” recruitment policy and don’t automatically gravitate towards “people like me” when thinking about what leaders they want on their team. They see talent first. They also recognise the competitive advantage of having a diverse board: I don’t mean visually, I mean in terms of experience, understanding of the world, clients, customers and industries. They don’t see new blood as a threat”. She highlights her exposure as priceless. She explains that sitting on a board of a SME businesses might not have the same CV clout as a large innovative company, however it can guarantee the experience that opens up a world of insight and challenge that even a seasoned business professional can learn from. Natalie is on the board of UnLtd, which has an endowment of £100 million, and has learnt how to understand investment strategy and contribute effectively to discussions about their portfolio. She sits on the board of the Consortium for Street Kids and was exposed to all of the planning that goes into getting a UN day ratified. Her first experience on the board was with the British Youth Council where she admits it helped her cut her teeth in advocacy and political engagement. As the chair of NCVYS (National Council for Voluntary Youth Services) and a non-executive of a portfolio of start-ups, she is in alternating discussions about strategy and investments, people and talent, resourcing and growth.




Best practices

Public initiatives

· In June 2014, the Italian Government launched a Plan of intervention (Piano di interventi) to support the access to credit for more than 1.400.000 SMEs with prevalent female representation and autonomous women workers in particular. It will be activated “banks plafond” for new investments and start-ups that could benefit from State guarantees.

 · “Innovation Noun Female" (Innovazione sostantivo femminile), is a program promoted by Lazio Region, with a budget of one million euro that aims to support projects for the creation of new products or services through the use of new technologies. The target is the micro, small and medium enterprises, even in the form of individual enterprise, of which women hold at least 51% of shares, and also cooperatives and partnerships in which the number of women members is at least 60% of the shareholders. Moreover, the beneficiaries will also be women (individual or team of women to 100%) wishing to activate a startup in Lazio.

· New research and development tax credit (for the period 2015-2019) for all types of business investing in research and development.

· Progress is a project promoted and implemented by The Italian Department for Equal Opportunities, which aims to design innovative policies and interventions for elderly women; it originated from the context that gender differences were a central issue of social exclusion.

 · Payments for childcare are tax deductible.

 Private initiatives

 · The Pink Cloud is a socio-cultural initiative organized by Microsoft in collaboration with the Prime Minister’s Office Department for equal opportunities, with the support of La Sapienza University, italian institutions, ITU, Unesco, UN Women and UNric. The Pink Cloud is aimed at increasing awareness among young women and the general public regarding the need to close the gender gap in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The project falls within the scope of the national development plan that Microsoft has undertaken in order to promote the digitalization of government and small medium enterprise, and young people and to bring about innovation through software in order to bolster progress in Italy.

· Boardroomis a program promoted by Valore D (the first association of large companies formed in Italy in order to support women’s leadership in the corporate world) and GE Capita, targeted towards women who sit on the executive boards of Italian listed companies. The training program focuses on all the steps necessary to promote and include talented women on boards. It aims to increase competences and strengthen capabilities necessary to properly perform the role of a board member. It also directly involves the companies and encourages them to identify potential internal candidates. Launched in June 2012 – two months before the entry of the GolfoMosca law 120/2011 on gender quotas in listed companies - the project aims to over three years train 270 women coming from the fields of business, culture and politics. The program lasts 12 months with monthly meetings focusing on different topics: specific training on the role of a board member – including its obligations, responsibilities, remuneration - and on the functioning of the Board of Directors; discussions and networking with board members and testimonials expert on the field; coaching and workshops on self empowerment; training for a conscious use of social networks for business strategy and personal branding.

 · WINNET8 is a project implemented in Italy and other seven European countries, which aims to contribute to regional growth by counteracting horizontal gender segregation on the labour market and by improving women’s participation in innovation and entrepreneurship.

· Concresco is a mentoring program in Italy between managers and students, in collaboration with Valore D and Prospera, with the aim of helping young people in successfully achieving the transition to the working world and ensure equal opportunities for young graduate students and newly graduates. The first phase of the project, which started in June 2012, involved 60 graduate and undergraduate students of the Polytechnic of Milan, the Polytechnic of Turin and the University La Sapienza of Rome and 60 managers, of which over 50% are women who are engaged in an intergenerational agreement to convey their own life experience to young people and through their support the managers will give young women the tools to face the working world.

· A model to follow is the one of enterprises that have a crèche in the same location to help the organization’s life of their employees (such as Google, Mediaset..).

 · "Help desks for women's territorial welfare". Is an innovative experiment for the promotion and support of microenterprise services to women in order to strengthen territorial welfare, through branches in each province, to provide concrete answers to the growing needs of reconciliation of working and living (guidance, support and facilitation for 'start of new micro enterprises as part of the female work-life balance).

Association’s initiatives

· Assintel, the National Association of Enterprises ICT, in which there is a Group of Women Entrepreneurs ICT, has created a permanent observatory at national and international level on the topic "Women and enterprise" and "women and ICT". Among various projects “Donne@work“, which is an on-line desk for women in ICT and “ICTDonne@NETwork” 30, which is directed to help women to create networks and be updated on news and initiatives.

· Association Donne e Scienza, constituted by a group of scientists and scholars from several disciplines, has taken part in the European project called GenderTime. The aim of the project is to identify and implement the best systemic approach to increase the participation and career advancement of women researchers in selected institutions where self-tailored action plans are implemented. The plans will involve activities as recruitment, retention and promotion policies, supporting work-life balance measures, updated management and research standards.31

· AIDIA, a national association born in 1957 to defend the rights of women graduates in engineering and architecture. Nowadays it is an observatory of the status of women in the technical field.



Best practices

Private Initiatives

·         Swedbank. This Swedish bank has a branch in Latvia, which is overrepresented by women, with 76% of women in their staff. As for decision-making positions, women represent 33% of the managers. This company has set two goals: 1) to reach a balanced representation in the management teams in 2015 and 2) to eliminate the gender gap.

·         Ogres rajona sliminca has set indicators of the share of the gender representation in order to increase the participation of the less represented gender.

·         CEMEX has adopted some measures to reach gender balance: It uses indicators to analyze the gender balance among employees and among senior managers. They introduced gender equality in the company’s internal documents and procedures. It allows employees to work from home. It foresees the option to reduce load for mother and fathers.

·         Latvijas Balzams, in the recruitment process of staff takes its decisions taking into account the less represented gender in the company.

·         Latvijas Radio un televizijas centrs has integrated the gender perspective in their internal documents and procedures.

·         Digigirlz is a Microsoft program aimed to encourage young girls to choose a career in the ICT sector. It is a worldwide program started in 2000 but with the first event in Latvia in 2012. They organized an event with 30 girls and Microsoft employees and managers.

·         L'OREAL Baltic granted with the support of Latvian National Commission for UNESCO a scholarship “Women in Science” that covers financial support for a period of up to 3 months mainly from June to August when awardees will perform research work in an academic discipline of their choice and in one of the laboratories of the Institut Pasteur in France. The awardees will be supervised by senior researchers of Institut Pasteur.

Public initiatives

·         “Nursery schools where there is place for both Peppy-princes and Pirate-princesses”. The Ministry of Welfare organised in 2012 a project to adapt the Danish methodology of the materials used by preschool education experts in seminars. Throughout this methodology stereotypes of male and female abilities are discussed.

·         Society Integration Foundation being a governmental agency working with the issues of integration and gender equality through administration of grant programs for NGOs, as well as leading implementation of some larger-scale projects of national scope.

·          On taxation, Latvia has introduced a new tax to stimulate investment, development and innovation.56 Organizations/Associations

·         LIKTA, the Latvian Information and Communications Technology Association, is a professional association of the ICT sector. It has developed a strategic ICT vision with some key priorities to work on the next years focused on women and citizens. This initiative57 has de support of organizations, universities, companies and public authorities.

·          Lidere is an association that connects female entrepreneurs and organisational leaders and supports women with mentoring activities and workshops. It promotes co-operation and exchange of experience between new and experienced businesswomen.

International initiatives

·          The European Commission organises the e-Skills for Jobs Week, an event that puts together representatives from the EU countries. Latvia is very present in this event and it is good to see that 59% of the participations in the 2012 edition were women.



Best practices


·         Femei in Tehnologie (Women in Technology) is an organisation that supports public and private sector involving successful women in the ICT industry in mentoring and volunteering activities and the development of local communities in order to increase the number of women employed in occupations in the area of information and communication. FIT is a member of the European Organization Center for Women in Technology (ECWT), as the national point.

·         “Women on Board” is a program by the Professional Women’s Network (PWN). PWN assists companies in developing gender diversity programs and in giving support to any public policy aiming at improving women’s access to decision-making positions.

·         According to the PWN there is a need for a holistic approach in order to ease the scaling of women in decisions-making positions. Companies, women and governments have a role to play.

·         Romanian Association of Women in Business (Femei in Afaceri) 78 The association organises business events to put together women.

Other initiatives

·         Girls in Tech Romania is a branch of an international network established in San Francisco in 2007. Its objective is to empower women in technology by providing them more visibility.

·         The Faculty of Computer Science organized on January 2015 the workshop “Following Anita Borg”, aiming to bring together women in Iasii (students, academics and business) and to build the Women in Information Technology of Iasi (WITchIS).

·         The Centre for Partnership and Equality has developed the project “Inovare socială pentru integrarea durabilă a femeilor pe piața mun” (Social Innovation for sustainable integration of women in workplace).

·         The business magazine Business Review organises from 2006 a BR awards to recognise success cases in the business community active in the local market. There are several categories of awards, among them “Innovation in Technology”, “Best employment initiative”, “Entrepreneur of the year”, where the majority of candidates of the 2015 edition were from the SET field, or “Beststart-up supporter”.

·         Forbes elaborated the list of the 50 more influential women in the country. The most powerful woman is Mariana Gheorghe, general manager of OMV Petrom, the largest company of the country. Another awarded women, from the ICT sector is, Măriuca Talpeş founder of Bitdefender, the most famous Romanian software, and Dana Cortina, CEO Porsche Inter Auto.

·         The Market Watch Magazine awarded in 2012 for the first time in Romania the prizes “Women in Technology”.

·         L'Oréal UNESCO for Women in Science National Fellowship. This award was launched in Romania in 2009 and is addressed to researchers from Romania aged to 35 and who are either PhD students or have obtained a PhD title and follow a postgraduate training program within an educational institution in the country. There are other initiatives implemented in other countries aimed to encourage girls to study SET. For instance, there is the UK campaign “Little Miss Geek” which tries to inspire girls to become tech pioneers by increasing their presence in technology studies82 or the Estonian “Digigirl” that organised an event on IT education for girls from 9th to 12th grade.83 In addition, “Girls who code” is an American non-profit project aimed at reducing the gap between women and men and to inspire, educate and equip girls in computing skills.

Corporate initiatives

·         Women@Romania: Renault launched in 2010 the “Women@Renault” plan aimed to strengthen gender diversity within the firm. Of the 17.000 employees of Renault Romania, 32% of the total staff (17.000) is women and 30% of the key positions in the company are held by women. As for, engineering and production, women account for 28%.

·         Automobile Dacia has developed a master’s programme (The Auto Project Engineering) with three semesters in automobile engineering projects. The best students of the programme are involved in the IPA internship. This master initiated in 2009 is developed in partnership with four universities in Romania

·         Petrom: In 2014, the company Petrom signed a Protocol with the Department of Equal Opportunities between Women and Men to support the promotion of equal opportunities of their employees. The objective of the Protocol is to exchange views between companies and public authorities on initiatives to facilitate the conciliation of private and professional life, support the entrepreneurship among women, combat gender stereotypes in the educational system and in the public and private environment.

·         Bosch, the German firm, wants to show off their diversity, in cultural, ethnic, gender, age or style of work teams, and launched the International Day of Diversity (24 June).

·         Intel Romania Software Development Centre (IRSDC) wants to promote SET among students. They organise open days inviting young students from high schools and faculties to visit their offices. They can learn more about the company treatment of women working in IT.

·         Pirelli is involved in a project to match students with work. It is helping local universities to develop programs to develop skills needed in the automotive sector. In addition, the company is implementing projects to develop the region and oriented to the local community of the Oltenia region.


EU & International initiatives

·         ADAS award. At EU level, in 2013 the organisation Zen Digital, in partnership with several associations of women in technology, awarded this prize to recognise girls and women with digital studies and careers as well as organisations that promote the participation of girls and women in the digital sector. These awards are known as “Adas” in honor of Ada Lovelace, the fist computer programmer and author of the algorithm for Babagge’s mechanical computer. None of the awarded in this first edition was Romanian.

·         Every Girl Digital campaign from the European Commission to identify and recognise examples of ITC women that can be considered as models to encourage young women and girls to study and follow a career in IT.

·         Global Board Ready Women Database: it is a database available in LinkedIn with a list of women with experience and that can occupy a position on the board of a firm. Some countries have established its own database. Romania has not done so.

·         She Will Innovate, an online competition launched by the Intel Corporation and Ashoka Changemakers to find the world’s most innovative solutions that equip girls and women with new digital technologies.



Best Practices

·         L’Óreal Spain Experience

François-Xavier Fenart, L’Oréal Spain’s President, has said: “Our program has contributed to the modification of attitudes, the fight against prejudices and the opening up of new opportunities to women”. And: “Our challenge is to help to do a vocational calling to girls of today that think about their academic and professional future, and encourage them to pursue a research career”.

·         Polytechnic University of Valencia Experience

The Polytechnic University of Valencia has the largest number of engineering degrees of the Community of Valencia. This academic year (2015) 33.6% of students enrolled in engineering and architecture studies; in this course 10,609 women out of a total of 31,593 students are enrolled. The rate of incoming women in this course confirms the trend: 2,770 women (33%) started a degree at the Polytechnic against 5,638 men. Not satisfied with these numbers, the Polytechnic has decided to take action on the matter and has developed a program to promote technical careers among students in secondary education in order to improve the inclusion of women in these studies. The program, named “Valentina”, has been developed by a multidisciplinary team of the Department of Engineering Systems and Automation in the University and staff from the Studies of Woman Institute at the University of Valencia. It is not the first time that they work together. The collaboration goes back more than eight years and during this time they have addressed several studies, some of them European, to promote gender equality in college. The program showed that a significant percentage of students in secondary school (28%) think that technology is a more appropriate choice for men and only 1% explicitly stated that it may be appropriate for women (whereas the rest of the sample responded neutral). This mentality is transferred to the intentions of the girls who are less interested than their male peers to study engineering. However, the workshops have a real positive effect since the percentage of girls who consider this possibility increases from 30.3% to 35.9%; the percentage of boys decreases from 69.7% to 64.1%. On the other hand, the school of computing is an almost impregnable male stronghold with 84.7% of men (of only 463 of the 2,573 students enrolled). They are followed by design and Telecommunications, both with more than 75.5% of men and Industry, with 72.5%.95

·         “Woman and engineering. One plus one not always equals Two”

Unite for Equality of the University of Valencia with the School of Engineering (ETSE) and WIE- IEEE Spain organization invited the entire university community, students and teachers of secondary and high schools and the general public to attend the presentation of the paper ‘Women and engineering. One plus one not always equals Two’, on Wednesday 10th December 2015.

·         GENSET (Telefónica Private Foundation)

Because of the many obstacles that women still face in the scientific community, an initiative was conducted to see how gender influences the debate on scientific excellence. A team of EU-funded researchers undertook this initiative, as part of the GENSET project (fighting for gender equality in Science). The debate focused on five topics, which are considered blocking the full integration of women scientists: creation of scientific knowledge, research processes, recruitment and retention, evaluation and recognition of skills and the value system of scientific excellence. A large number of leaders in science and personalities participated in the forum. Following the conclusion of the forum, four areas of particular importance to be addressed were identified: management, organization and promotion of human capital, creation of scientific knowledge, policy and compliance in relation to the processes and sex-related practices and practices and evaluation and contracting processes. This initiative was useful to politicians, scientists and industry leaders to become aware of the need for gender equality as a stimulus for scientific excellence. In addition, the GENSET project received one million euros of funding, which ended up as part of the Portia Foundation (this is a British non-profit foundation founded by a group of British scientists in 1997).

·         The Women and Science Unit

In 2005 the Board of Ministers, on the occasion of the commemoration of March 8, International Women’s Day, established the Women and Science Unit. The creation of the Unit was part of a set of fifty-four equality measures taken by the Government of Spain in various fields of public policy. This was initiated in Spain, following the lead of the European Commission under the mandate of Edith Cresson with the creation of the Women and Science Unit, the publication of the ETAN Report, Women and Science Communication: mobilising women to enrich European Research, various measures incorporated in the 5th Framework Programme, and the start of the regular publication of statistics She Figures. During these years the Women and Science Unit has developed an intense activity in different areas. The most significant is probably the legislative and the Unit’s contribution to articulate three important laws: the Equality Act and the Universities Act (LOMLOU), both of 2007 and the Law on Science, Technology and Innovation, 2011. Taken together these three laws provide a legal framework for gender policies in science in Spain that has become a pioneer in the world.

·         Cooperation between University Rovira Virgili and Red Equality

The University Rovira Virgili (URV) holds the vice-presidency of the International Red Equality, an organisation working to improve women’s conditions in the workplace. The Governing Council of URV approved last December (2014) the adhesion of the University with this network of cooperation for gender equality. The cooperation focuses on 3 objectives: promotion of experiencies and abilities between universities that participate and support gender equality; to encourage the development of good practices and systematization of lessons learned between latinamerican schools and the rest of the world; and to create a platform of education to train and exchange experience between institutions to promote good practices to promote gender equality in the countries. The URV will be a member of the executive committee of the cooperation network for two years and hosted the first meeting of the steering committee in February 2015. Institutions in the international project Equality in Austria approved this, since the network is one of the results of this project funded by the ALFA III program of the European Union in which participated the URV.

·         Fem Talent

Fem.talent is an innovative initiative by XPCAT97 together with other organisations as Women’s council and Civil Rights of Barcelona’s local government, to promote equal opportunities and management of female talent for the knowledge economy. It is focused on female talent activation and promotion of equality in the economy, in enterprises and the workplace in all sectors. Fem.talent organises many activities and forums structured in conferences for professionals, discussions and round tables. In addition it organizes presentations of innovative practices in promoting equal opportunities. Fem.talent is a platform for thinking and discussion, to share experiences, good practices and to design a society that is built for the future. Fem.talent is visible in social networks, where they start the dialogue too. Fem.talent gives value and visibility to those practices from the fields of Science, Technology, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise that encourage the reconciliation between work and personal life, the visibility of female talent, women’s empowerment and, in general, help to improve productivity and quality of the job to our economy promoting equal opportunities.



Best practices

·         WiTEC Association is working at this moment in a project that aims to develop an education plan for teachers to promote technological studies to young students (girls), and one of the results of this project is that technology is not that attractive to young women. Another highlight is that “fear” and “insecurity” exist when we talk about Maths; this seems to be the main obstacle to most of the students to shy away from science and technology studies.

·         United Kingdom's Biochemical Society

Strategies such as mentoring can make an enormous difference. With help and advice from UKRC, the United Kingdom's Biochemical Society has established a mentoring program for women biochemists, pairing together experienced senior women scientists with more junior women at other institutions, in order to provide encouragement, advice, and practical help. Ruth Brown is one of the first groups of mentees who began a yearlong effort with a mentor at the University of Leeds. It is this program that has kept Ruth on track to complete her Ph.D. "I got to the point where I wasn't sure I wanted to continue. It was the mentoring program which made me want to carry on," she says. Ruth also looks upon her mentor as a role model: "If you see someone senior and they're willing to talk to you then you believe you can get there". Ruth's mentor encouraged her to apply for travel funds to attend a conference, and to network. The reward for Ruth is increased confidence—so much so that she has volunteered to represent students and chair meetings for her department's Postgraduate Staff-Student Committee—something that she would not have considered before.

·         Swan Charter Awards

Universities are encouraged to create female-friendly policies by the Royal Society's Swan Charter Awards. A university can apply for a Bronze Award by creating a plan for changes that support women scientists, a Silver Award for implementing these plans, and a Gold Award for producing evidence that the changes are having an impact

·         GenSET

GenSETis a project that aims to introduce change at scientific institutions across Europe so as to achieve a balanced representation of women in all areas. Key to the GenSET philosophy is that gender equality in science improves scientific quality. It is not just a women's career issue but a societal issue, and that through gender diversity, the entire workforce has the potential to be more creative and productive. The European Union supports the project as part of a broader Science in Society program that aims to enhance the success of Europe's scientific workforce. "The European Commission thinks GenSET is great because it's a new voice from the scientific community for the scientific community," notes leader of the GenSET consortium, Elizabeth Pollitzer. Over 100 European institutions have become partners to GenSET, including the London School of Economics, the Spanish National Research Council, and the European Science Foundation. Another is the University of Tromsø, Norway, which has become the first institution to fully adopt GenSET's guiding principles, coordinated by Curt Rice, pro rector of the university and a theoretical linguist who also specializes in scientific leadership. Each of the university's six participating faculty will be translating these principles into action, and will receive mentoring by GenSET during the process. Getting commitment for change at the highest ranks is critical, according to Buitendijk, one of a panel of scientific experts. "We need deans and CEOs to understand the issues and then persuade those below them."

·         Royal Society of Edinburgh

The Royal Society of Edinburgh, with the involvement of the Chief Scientific Adviser for Scotland, is addressing the challenge of developing a cohesive and comprehensive strategy for Scotland to tackle the under-representation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The principal aims are to identify factors that appear to limit the proportion of women in the STEM workforce, and to seek to introduce measures that may increase the number who rise to senior positions in universities, institutes, public and professional bodies, business and industry.

·         Royal Academy of Engineering

Women are under-represented across other indicators of achievement, including Academy fellowship, but with a focus on improving diversity in recent years progress has been made. In 2006 less than 2% of fellows at the Royal Academy of Engineering were female. Since they began taking action to address the imbalance in 2007, every annual intake of fellows has been 10-15% female with the overall proportion now at 4% of the fellowship. They have also created the Diversity in Engineering Concordat currently signed by around 30 Professional Engineering Institutions aiming to get the profession taking action to improve diversity. Similarly at the Royal Society only 5% of fellows are women and since 2000, 10% of new fellows are women and since 2000, 10% of new fellows have been women. The Royal Society has introduced Temporary Nominating Groups seek out and support credible candidates for nomination across a number of underrepresented areas within the Fellowship, including women. It is a positive step forward. Concurrently, as the election process operates by nomination from existing Fellows, rather than by application, the reasons why candidates may not have been nominated for Fellowship through the traditional channels needs to be addressed. As part of their drive to champion diversity the Royal Society have in place measures to check that the speakers at conferences they host are appropriately diverse.

·         British Science Festival

The UK is a world-leader in science and engineering and there are a number of initiatives and events to inspire and encourage more young people into these industries. The British Science Festival112 celebrates science, engineering and technology and this year was visited by Greg Clark Minister of State for Universities, Science and Cities. Some other interesting best practices can be found in the USA.

·         National Science Foundation

For the past 10 years, the U.S. National Science Foundation's ADVANCE program has supported universities across the United States by providing a broad portfolio of activities that support women scientists, including mentoring.

·         Princeton

At Princeton faculty and staff who have children are eligible for up to $5,000 per year for pre-school childcare support and maternity leave. Faculty can apply for travel support to conferences for dependents, and new faculty who are the primary parent responsible for childcare can have time off from teaching. Graduate students have parallel programs. And to encourage more women to apply for faculty positions, Princeton also has a policy extending tenure-track positions by an extra year following the birth or adoption of a child—an approach now popular with other universities across the United States.