María Rosa Bonet, awarded on International Women’s Day

The Madrid Region has awarded María Rosa Bonet, president of Catergest, the ‘8th March’ Award for her work in promoting social projects that have encouraged the role of disability in the workplace and defender of equal opportunities in training and promotion for women.

These recognitions are given on the occasion of International Women’s Day, in a ceremony that took place at the Royal Post Office in Madrid and was presided over by Isabel Díaz Ayuso, president of the regional government.

María Rosa Bonet, also honorary president of SEK Education Group, has come a long way innovating, transforming and renewing the hospitality sector, faithful to her values of perseverance, professionalism and teamwork.

“This important recognition of her long professional career distinguishes her as a pioneering businessperson, at the service of society. Her leadership and humanity represent the best values of Catergest, and she is the example from which so many of us have learned,” said Nieves Segovia, president of SEK Education Group and daughter of María Rosa Bonet.

Pioneer in the fight for women’s access to paid jobs

Bonet began her professional activity by founding Catergest in early 1962, a food company with three workers, which today employs about 400 professionals and serves 20,000 meals daily. She was a pioneer in the fight for women’s access to paid jobs and with adequate wage conditions, at a time when female work represented a minimum quota in companies. Currently, over 73% of Catergest’s staff are women.

“I thank God because life has given me the opportunity to serve society for more than half a century and, even today, to continue doing so. I have always believed that to lead is to serve. I am 86 years old, and I want to offer only one piece of advice: always serve with love, because to love means to respect the dignity and freedom of every human being,” Bonet expressed during the event.

The president of Catergest has expressed feeling “very honoured and grateful to the Madrid Region and its president for their generosity and for their sensitivity in recognising the generation of women that I am proud to represent. Women who were pioneers in the labour market from the 60s in Spain, with few rights, but with an extraordinary will for personal, family and social progress.

Bonet also paid tribute to her team before finishing her speech: “To all my team, congratulations, because this award belongs to them. It recognises their work, their dedication and their commitment.”

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