Women’s Leadership in the Trade Sector

The second session of the virtual conference ‘Female leadership in strategic economic sectors during the pandemic’ has focused on the trade sector.

Montserrat Ballarín, Councilor for Commerce of the Barcelona City Council, informed about the presence of women in this sector: “Referring to female leadership in commerce is something natural. The visible face of commercial activity is usually a woman: 65% of women are in charge of their own business”.

Ballarín highlighted that 58% of the employees in the commerce sector are women. However, they only occupy 20% of the presidencies of commercial associations.

In addition, she made a special mention to municipal markets: “They are a public service that is highly valued by citizens. Apart from being local businesses that generate empathy and trust, markets have always been a space for female empowerment”.

Anna Mercadé, president of the Association 50a50, highlighted the importance of women as the basis of society. “Women are the ones who sustain society, but we do not reach the top because of the vertical segregation that exists”. Anna Mercadé mentioned the leadership and adaptability of women to change and their capacity for innovation and creativity.

The round table that followed was formed by Anna Sorli, president of the Sorli supermarket chain and the Sorli Foundation; by Débora Coimbra, entrepreneur and founder of Debby’s; and Teresa Llordes, president of Barna Centre and owner of Ros Bombon.

According to the speakers, the predominant characteristics in terms of female leadership are empathy and sensitivity, as well as flexibility.”Women are courageous, disciplined, determined, and creative, essential characteristics of a good leader”, Teresa Llordés said.

Referring to the current economic crisis, the three speakers called for more aid and action plans to come true. They also highlighted that women are the ones who are leading the local commerce and they do so by bringing new ideas and innovation to serve their community.

The next scheduled sessions will continue to analyse how women lead the strategic sectors of the city, such as tourism, the digital economy and technology, care and services for people, health and food, and cultural and creative industries.