Press Release

The Spanish stock exchange opens the trading session by ringing the bell for gender equality

8 March, 2022

From left to right, Gloria Martínez-Picazo and Cristina Sánchez

·   BME and the Global Compact Spanish Network promote this event for the fifth consecutive year

·   More than 400 people have followed the Bell Ringing and the two subsequent panels virtually.

Today's session, International Women's Day, was marked with a Ring the Bell for Gender Equality. The event, held at the Madrid stock exchange and broadcast virtually, is part of the Ring the Bell for Gender Equality initiative, promoted by Sustainable Stock Exchanges and the United Nations Global Compact. This is the fifth year that BME and the United Nations Global Compact Spanish Network have organised this event, which also featured two round tables, which were followed by over 400 people.

The Bell Ringing was led by Gloria Martínez-Picazo, BME's Investor Ombudswoman, who was accompanied by Cristina Sánchez, Executive Director of the Global Compact Spanish Network. Martínez-Picazo, the first woman to hold this position since it was created, stated the importance of financial education in promoting equality. She also cited several studies that show that the presence of women on boards and in management positions boosts profitability and profits. "Diversity in business and finance is not a matter of fashion or quotas, but of palpable results," she said.

Sánchez called on companies to set "clear and measurable goals that make gender equality a priority, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is also the smart thing to do. Research consistently show that companies that actively promote equality and have more women in senior management perform better financially. A better world for women is a better world for everyone”.

They were followed by Marion Leslie, member of the Board of BME and Head of Financial Information at SIX, and Montserrat Martínez Parera, Vice President of the CNMV. Leslie, on video from Zurich,  stated that diversity delivers business results and that "the estimated additional global GDP growth that could come from addressing the gender gap would be 12 trillion dollars by 2025."

Martínez Parera remarked that "although we live in a fairer and more inclusive society than years ago, we cannot be complacent, as the pay gap still exists". According to a recent study by the Spanish securities market supervisor (CNMV), around 20% of the companies analysed do not provide any data or comparison on the pay gap, while 75% do not share what plans they have to combat it.

Carmen López , Head of Indices at BME, introduced the round table discussion “Listed companies vis a vis equality objectives: IBEX Gender Equality”, moderated by Berta Ares, General Manager of BME Inntech, with the participation of Patricia Ayuela, CEO of Línea Directa Aseguradora, Maite Aranzábal, Vice-President of Adolfo Domínguez,  Lucila Rodríguez, Vice-Secretary of the Board of IAG and Marta Camacho, Head of Institutional Affairs and President's Office at Repsol. All of them are part of the IBEX Gender Equality index, launched by BME last November, which brings together the 33 most advanced Spanish companies in terms of gender equality.

During the debate, they agreed that the greater presence of women in management positions improves corporate results. They also shared the progress made in terms of equality in their companies and stressed that their presence in the IBEX Gender Equality Index is a recognition of their work on equality and an incentive to continue along the same lines.

The day concluded with the round table discussion “Gender Perspective in Investment Decisions”, moderated by Beatriz Alonso-Majagranzas, Head of BME Exchange, with the participation of female managers Gemma Hurtado, from Solventis, Icíar Puell, from CaixaBank Asset Management and Lola Solana, from Santander Asset Management. They all recalled the rise of ESG investment and indicated that more data, both qualitative and quantitative, is needed on the state of gender equality in listed companies, for example on aspects such as the gender pay gap. They also agreed that diversity should be understood broadly and cover different issues.

More than a hundred stock exchanges around the world have joined this initiative, including SIX, the owner of BME, which will hold a Ring the Bell for Gender Equality event this afternoon at 5 pm, which can be followed on this link.

BME has been part of the United Nations Global Compact since 2011 and of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative, which seeks to raise awareness of good corporate governance, since 2015.

The images of the event are available on this link and Gloria Martínez-Picazo's speech is available here.

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