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SWE in Spain: First Professional Affiliate Launched

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January 28th, Caterpillar Málaga Demonstration and Learning Center (CMLDC), Málaga, Spain.

On January 28th we celebrated the launch of the first SWE (professional) affiliate in Spain. It took place at the impressive venue of Caterpillar Learning and Demonstration Center in Parque Tecnológico de Málaga with the help and Sponsoring of Caterpillar, Aveva, Keysight, Emerson, Dow Chemical, Carburos Metálicos (Air Products), IBM and the participation of Universidad de Málaga and the Association of Women in Mining. Due to Covid restrictions, 94 people registered for the event and 23 attended in person.

The hybrid event was kicked off by Maurice Sanders, General Manager of CMLDC, who welcomed SWE to Spain and celebrated the occasion; followed by a few words from me about why SWE and how we got to where we are today: starting this first affiliate, including a welcome video from Emily Burnett, Senior Manager of Global Programs.

It was a full day hybrid event that started with a round table about how to attract female talent to STEM disciplines. It was moderated by Almudena Ruiz de Lara (Caterpillar) and participants were Luz Cerezo, founder and President of Women in Mining Association, Mari Carmen Aguayo, Professor of Telecommunications Engineering at Universidad de Málaga and Elena Jimenez Sánchez, current President of Women’s Network at Emerson. They all concurred that there are fewer women in the STEM industries because there are fewer women pursuing STEM degrees at universities and that we need the little girls to see women in STEM as role models so they will be interested in those fields when growing up. “It was very inspirational to hear about all the actions that are being taken to gain more female talent, how companies are sending representatives to the schools to do scientific experiments or creating programs to show what their companies are doing”- said Elena Pastuschuk, one of the attendees. The round table was a good mix of academia, associations and public sector perspectives.

For the onsite attendees, we had a tour around the state-of-the-art facilities of Caterpillar, where we learned about the training they conduct for their different businesses. For the online joiners, it was a break until the first afternoon session: a Webinar by Julio Parry, development and learning consultant at Caterpillar, member of Women’s Network and Men Allies lead. Julio spoke about unconscious bias and shared some tips for men about how to act as allies and not as protectors.

The webinar was followed by a hybrid panel discussion about the equality Plans in Companies with Natalia Magrans, Head of HR Spain, Keysight Technologies, Clara López, HR representative, HP Spain and Lucía Rosal, Head of HR, Dow Chemical Ibérica. 

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Family Photo, after last tour of Caterpillar with most of the onsite participants

In Spain there is a specific law (Ley de Igualdad de Oportunidades) that states that there should be no differences at work between men and women (salary, opportunities, promotions, etc.) To guarantee that, all companies with more than 50 employees must configure and register an equality plan to the government including information about the state of equality conditions inside their company (including gaps and corrective actions, i.e., salary, male/female rate in different positions, actions they are taking to guarantee that women are receiving the same opportunities, etc.). The panel was moderated by Elena Pastuschuk from Aveva. It was a very interesting conversation about how each company was at a different stage of the plan development and implementation. The panelists shared the actions their companies have implemented and gave the audience some advice for elaborating their companies’ plans, which can be challenging depending on the company culture.

Finally, we had Cristina Caballé, Executive Director, Global Public Sector, IBM Corporation / Member of IBM Industry Academy presenting her WE21 session “The Urgency of Science in Sustainable Development”, which had such a powerful message: a call for collaboration (and not competition) between companies for a sustainable future.Auto Draft -

After that session, it was over for the online participants, but the onsite, had a last tour of the facilities and had time for a last networking coffee and a typical pastry called “Palmera”, specially made for the occasion. We captured each other’s details from the printed badges and planned for an after-event dinner.

We were so motivated that almost half of onsite attendees met for dinner a couple of hours later.

During dinner, new ideas came up, more discussions were prompted, and when the restaurant announced at 11:30 pm they were closing, we felt we still had to continue talks. Therefore, we ended up at the Roman theater, in the city center with the Acazaba (Muslim fortress) in the background, where we continued with the interactions until shortly before 2 am.

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And we loved it so much, we have made a stamp to commemorate the event.

More information on what is  happening in SWE Spain can be found at:



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  • Inga Urbina

    SWE Global Ambassador, Spain FY22, Barcelona Affiliate lead, SWE Senator FY21-FY22 Linked in: