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Debate puts focus on gender parity

“Women cannot wait 117 years before gender parity is achieved.”

This was the message from Isabelle Santenac, head of Financial Services Assurance for EY in Europe, who was present yesterday at the ‘Women in Leadership’ debate organised by EY Gibraltar in celebration of International Women’s Day earlier this week.

Specialised in banking, Isabelle Santenac, one of the leading figures in EY’s global ‘Women Fast Forward’ campaign, addressed the audience prior to the debate, welcoming the fact that there were also men in the audience and emphasising that “the biggest change will come from men and not from women”.

Over 150 women attended the debate at the Sunborn moderated by Jonathan Scott and recorded live by GBC for last night’s Viewpoint television programme. The panel consisted of Samantha Barrass from the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission, Wing Commander Liz Hutchinson from the RAF, Valerie Holliday from Hassans, Sammy Cruz-Armstrong from Savills, Michelle Barabich, Headmistress of the Westside Comprehensive and Angelique Linares from EY.

EY put together its Women Fast Forward campaign, launched back in 2015, with the aim of accelerating the rate of change toward gender parity on a global scale.

Throughout this week the company has highlighted, especially in an event at Westside bringing together students from the school and Bayside, the prediction by the World Economic Forum that it will take 80 years before gender parity is achieved but last year, just a year later, the forecast changed to 117 years.

EY’s campaign is to help accelerate the change of pace in the world, said Mrs Santenac, emphasising the aim overall, was to help build a better working world.

“Today we need to recognise the talent,” she stated.

“When you need to recruit a lot of talent, which is the case in our organisation – we recruit several thousands of people every year - we need to find the best talents and today we need to recognise that the best talents are also women.”

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