By Aida Pelaez-Fernandez
The number of women in senior management positions across Spanish listed companies held steady at 16% in 2019, the same percentage as the previous year, according to data published by the CNMV market regulator on Wednesday.
Among the constituents of Spain's IBEX 35 blue-chip index the presence of women in top jobs decreased 0.3% year on year, the data showed. Just four of the group had women on their management boards last year.
Spain's left-wing coalition government has made gender equality one of its top priorities. Half of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's cabinet are women, including three of the four deputy prime ministers.
But the male-dominated corporate world continues to lag behind.
A study of STOXX 600 constituents by Brussels-based association European Women on Boards placed Spanish companies second-last in a ranking of women in leadership roles.
While female representation on boards of directors among the IBEX companies rose by 3.6% to 27.5% in 2019, that still fell short of the CNMV's target of 30% for 2020 and 40% for 2022.
Within the blue-chip cohort, power generation company Iberdrola, grid operator Red Electrica and banking group Santander topped the rankings for gender diversity, with women making up over 40% of their boards of directors.
Energy group Naturgy brought up the bottom with just 8%.
In an encouraging sign, across all listed companies, the participation of women on boards of directors in Spain reached 23.7% in 2019, an increase of almost four points from the year before.
(Reporting by Aida Pelaez-Fernandez; Editing by Nathan Allen and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)