On March 8th, International Women's Day will once again be celebrated. This is a common time for the media to remember the anniversary and the importance of moving towards total equality at work. On behalf of Engel & Völkers in Barcelona, we will be celebrating this important day and, although we do not limit ourselves to remembering it only one day a year, we recognise the importance of taking advantage of this important date to take stock of the progress and keep in mind all the things that still need to be done. In addition, much of the progress experienced in recent decades seemed completely unfeasible in the eyes of many contemporaries.
The fight for work equality between men and women goes back to at least the end of the 19th century. It is not that before there was nobody who raised their voice in favour of women but it was at the end of that century when the great protest campaigns started. At times, the struggle went through peaceful channels and achieved very significant results, just like when New Zealand became the first country to recognise the universal female vote in 1893. Other times, however, the defenders of equality hit too strong barriers, leaving us with truly dramatic situations.
In fact, the International Women's Day is celebrated every March 8th in order to evoke the memory of a large number of workers in a textile factory in New York who went on strike to demand greater working rights. At one point during the protest, the workers locked themselves up in the facilities of their company. Without being able to clarify the reason for sure, a fire started in the factory that resulted in numerous fatalities among the workers. That critical episode would soon become a true symbol of the struggle for equality at work.
In recent years, protests have focused on achieving full wage equalisation between men and women. In Spain, without going any further, wage differences based on gender have been prohibited for more than thirty years. However, this praiseworthy objective has not yet been achieved 100%. Factors such as maternity leave or unwanted reduction of working hours to meet family obligations, result in worse working conditions. However, many professionals are still forced to choose between their family and work life. Undoubtedly, this is one of the biggest pending subjects.
We also cannot ignore the protests that we have most recently witnessed in the news. Initiatives like #MeToo have made the discrimination that many actresses suffer in Hollywood and other great places in the entertainment world completely visible. More recent news headlines reveal the alleged sexual abuses that have been reported in the last few months, which also affect the female celebrities in the celluloid world. Apart from the female celebrity protests, this and other similar campaigns remind us of the prejudices that continue to exist in many industries, preventing women who have suffered abuse or discrimination from reporting it.
For all the above, the next International Women's Day will present a more pronounced grievance than usual. At Engel & Völkers in Barcelona we can not help but be pleased with any initiative aimed at making the work of so many good professionals visible. We do this with full knowledge of the cause, since our staff is accompanied by a large number of workers who are absolutely indispensable for the success of our business. For many years now, in the management section of Engel & Völkers in Barcelona, women have been holding very prominent positions.
Our executive assistant who has one of the most important positions in our company, is Jenny Oriach. Many of our team leaders from the different commercial areas are also women, like Paloma Infante (Eixample-Ciutat Vella) and Sonia Catalán (Sant Cugat del Vallès). In our administrative structure, Carla Arena, Alba Vallès, Cristina Lamela and Carmen Lario are responsible in areas such as relations with clients, human resources, advertising, marketing and finance, respectively. Along with the executive positions, Engel & Völkers in Barcelona also has numerous employees and collaborators in its offices who work as estate agents and consultants.
In line with the above, we will conclude this article by mentioning Constanza Maya, who is passionate about her work. She began her career at Engel & Völkers as a property consultant. With her hard work, Maya obtained some very remarkable sales figures, getting the admiration of everyone and being promoted as team leader, with more than thirty people in charge. Again, her merits in such high responsibilities earned her to get appointed as the Director of Expansion and Franchises in Spain, Portugal and Andorra. For her, and for the rest of the professionals that accompany us every day, Engel & Völkers in Barcelona has a lot to celebrate on March 8th.