Fifteen Banco Santander professionals accompany fifteen women who have suffered gender violence for six months to help them connect with the world of work. Workshops, conferences, tools to improve professional skills and abilities, group dynamics in which job interviews are simulated … And, above all, support so that they regain the hope, security and self-esteem they need to start a new life. The program of mentoring corporate From woman to woman, impulsed by Santander Bank Y Integra Foundation, It is five years old with an excellent result: about 80% of the women who have participated in the various calls for this initiative have found a job, set their short and medium-term goals, and escape from the situation of vulnerability.
María, one of the participants in the V edition of the program, explains that “there has been a before and after” in her life. “The accompaniment of my mentor has made me regain confidence in myself and know my worth again. Thanks to this fantastic project, I have managed to enter the job market and stop looking back. You have given me hope ”.
From woman to woman it is a transformative initiative. And not only because of what it represents for the women in care. Also for the group of volunteer professionals from Banco Santander who collaborate in it and who encourage other colleagues to participate in this enriching experience. “Together we must continue working in this tough fight. We cannot look to one side, it is necessary to collaborate to try to change things ”, explains one of the mentors.
Gender violence continues to be one of the most important scourges of our society. The figures are chilling: 23 women have been murdered since the beginning of the year in our country at the hands of their partners or ex-partners (with official data as of June 30). Since the official registry of victims began in Spain in 2003 until today, 1,102 women have lost their lives due to sexist violence.
Employment, a barrier against abuse
Faced with this situation, employment is the best recipe for regaining autonomy. According to a study by Adecco Foundation, there are many women who do not report for fear of not having sufficient financial resources to get ahead and support their children. Francisco Mesonero, general director of this foundation, explains that “the increase in complaints is a symptom of the increase in women’s confidence in the labor market and in the possibilities of getting a job. Employment is the best way to combat gender violence and enable these women to be totally independent ”. This is demonstrated by a survey of 160 women victims of gender: 61% of the women who participated were unemployed and, of these, more than half were in long-term unemployment. In addition, 60% believe that if they had had a job at the time the violence occurred, everything would have been different and a similar percentage assures that the job has helped them to take charge of their lives.
Alexandra Brandao, Santander’s global director of human resources, ensures that corporate volunteering programs such as From woman to woman they allow “our employees to be actively involved in the bank’s social commitment and to collaborate in the improvement of our environment and, more specifically, of the most vulnerable groups.” In addition, he adds, “they help us volunteers to develop essential skills such as adaptation to change, management in complex environments, communication, teamwork and empathy, which are very necessary in these times.” In fact, the mentors receive training from the bank and Fundación Integra before becoming professional references for the women who participate in the program.
The collaboration between both entities dates back to 2015, when an Integra Foundation project on labor incorporation of women victims of gender violence was the winner in the call for social projects Euros from your payroll that Santander organizes every year. With the support of companies such as the bank, this Foundation has secured more than 17,000 jobs for people in vulnerable situations.