The Spanish Council of Ministers has approved a bill to promote equal gender representation on the boards of directors of large companies, in the composition of electoral lists and in the Council of Ministers. “If women represent half of society, half of political and economic power must belong to women,” Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said during a rally of his party organized in a square in Madrid on the occasion of the events related to March 8 , International Women’s Day.
The proposal provides that the boards of directors of large companies are compulsorily composed of at least 40 percent women. If definitively approved – the proposal will have to pass by parliament -, the new rules will apply to all companies listed on the stock exchange by 1 July 2024 and to all companies with at least 250 employees and an annual turnover of 50 million euros by on June 30, 2026. Sánchez’s decision is consistent with a European Union directive issued last year: it establishes that by July 2026 all large companies listed in the European Union will have to adopt measures to increase the presence of women in the their guide.
The new Spanish proposal establishes that no less than 40 percent of people of each gender are included in the boards of directors of professional orders. And it establishes that no prize or recognition financed with public money can be assigned by a jury that does not respect equal representation between the genders.
Lastly, the bill provides for mandatory gender alternation in the composition of electoral lists and in the composition of the government.
Until now, gender equality has been a criterion taken into consideration and respected by the various centre-left governments of the country. In the current executive, for example, out of 22 ministers, 14 are women. But the new rule will ensure that parity no longer depends on the political sensitivity of the head of government: if approved, it will become an obligation. This same rule will be valid for the secretariats and undersecretaries of state and at managerial level in the institutional public sector (autonomous bodies, agencies, public companies, foundations, and so on).
“It just seems right to us,” said Sánchez, who then explicitly defended the so-called “pink quota” policy, which has been a topic of discussion for decades within feminist movements and beyond: “I know it’s very annoying to the right, because they combine the idea of meritocracy with quotas, as if the photos full of men and without any women meant that there are only valid men and no valid or more valid women than those same men».
Sánchez has often spoken of her government as a “feminist” government: in fact, it is currently one of the most progressive in Europe in terms of rights and the fight against inequalities. In Spain, the so-called “Ley Trans” has just been approved, a law which provides, among other things, the possibility for all people aged 16 and over to freely self-determine their gender identity, without the obligation of years of hormonal treatment and a medical or psychological diagnosis certifying the so-called “gender dysphoria”, i.e. the condition of people who identify with a gender other than that corresponding to their birth sex.
The Spanish Parliament then definitively approved a reform of the law on abortion: it provides for the creation of a register that prevents a doctor who appears there as a conscientious objector in the public from performing abortions in private; provides for the elimination of the compulsory permission of parents or guardians to have an abortion from the age of 16; and provides for the elimination of the currently mandatory three days of reflection before the termination of pregnancy. Finally, he amended the penal code to punish those who harass or intimidate women who go to a clinic to voluntarily terminate their pregnancy, and introduced leave from work for those suffering from menstrual cramps.
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