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Panel discuss challenges for women in the workplace

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The role of women at work was recently discussed at a panel session that stressed the importance of ‘a diverse and inclusive workplace’.

The event hosted by local law firm Hassans saw over 80 people attended the session called ‘Women at Work: Progress to celebrate and challenges to face’.

On the panel was the Minister for Equality and Housing Samantha Sacramento, Chief Scientist and CEO of the Department of Environment Liesl Mesilio Torres, Managing Partner at EY Gibraltar Angelique Linares and Chief Strategy Officer at MoPlay Nyreen Llamas.

Hassans’ Partner Gemma Vasquez moderated the session, challenging panel members with questions such as ‘does the glass ceiling exist in 2019?’ and ‘does supporting women in the workplace affect the bottom line?’

Ms Sacramento gave an opening address where she highlighted that women are underrepresented in leadership and management positions.

“A diverse and inclusive workplace is important,” said Ms Sacramento.

“Women are often underrepresented in leadership and management positions. This a factor that gives rise to a gender pay gap. Closing the gender gap is a must. The Government is working on various schemes and initiatives to address this, but it is also incumbent on employers and organisations to do their bit.”

“Studies show that a more balanced workplace is a more profitable one. It is only right that all organisations aspire to be inclusive.”

Ms Linares added that research indicates a higher number of females in leadership roles can dramatically increase profit margin, productivity and, when led by a woman countries achieve an average of 5.4% GDP growth in the subsequent year, compared to 1.1% if led by a man.

“It is possible for professional women to have it all as long as they are supported both in the workplace and at home,” said Mrs Mesilio Torres.

She added: “Maternity leave shouldn’t be a black mark in career progression.”

Mrs Vasquez agreed, stating that “an organisation spends many years investing in training and development so it makes business-sense to support women returning to work”.

During the discussion Ms Llamas said that attitudes need to change.

“Women need to be bold to get to whatever success means for them,” Ms Llamas said.

“Newer companies however have no excuse in not ensuring that inclusion, diversity and equality is inherent in their culture from the get-go.”

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