About a third of all women in the EU have experienced either physical or sexual violence since the age of 15, and 55% said they had been sexually harassed. These are the hard-hitting findings of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency-carried out survey, recently released.
Results sharply vary among countries: 19% of women have suffered violence by a partner in Poland while in Denmark the share is up to 52%. However, these numbers may be quite misleading, because women in northern societies are far more open to report abuse while in other parts of Europe it is still seen as a domestic, private conflict.
Inequality has so many faces: career development
Indeed, women face inequality in many fields and at different levels of their professional careers. In business, only few of them reach top positions. To deal with that, the Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona recently presented a new online database which enables women to register as potential executives for those companies seeking women to join their Boards of Directors. According to a Spanish law passed in 2007, in big companies the share of women among the Board of Directors’ members will have to be not less than 40% by 2015. However, in Catalonia, only 11% of companies meet that requirement, and this new tool aims to provide them with female talent to bridge the gap ahead of deadline.
During the session, the President of the Women, Business and Economy Observatory of the Chamber, Núria Lao, stated that the cost of the glass ceiling in terms of GDP is about €1bn only in Catalonia, with no more than 4.5% of executive positions being filled by women. Anna Mercadé, Director of the Observatory, observed that with 60% of degree holders being women, numbers must turn upside down.
Ms. Mercadé explained that the database will gather information about skills and abilities acquired both in formal and informal life. Users will be able to attach files to back their proficiency. Eventually, an interview with Chamber’s staff will help identify weaknesses and draw a path to improve applicants’ skills. “It is our duty to convince other women of applying for executive positions, because in the top we have the power to set the agenda, preventing men-shaped work schedules which usually damage work-life balance”, she declared.
A very practical database: a tool for women, boosted by women, to empower women.