Spain wants to break ‘glass ceiling’ with women in corporate and political positions

by Lorraine Williamson
corporate and political women

At least 40% of corporate and political positions should be occupied by women. This is the latest bill from the Spanish government. “A big step towards gender equality and breaking the glass ceiling.” 

A day before International Women’s Day on March 8, the government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced it wants to introduce a women’s quota in business and politics. In concrete terms, this means that at least 40% of employees on the boards of large companies, politicians and organisations must be women. 

Big step in breaking the ‘glass ceiling’ for women in Spain 

This bill was announced on March 7 by the Spanish government. According to the first vice-president of the Spanish government, Nadia Calviño, this is an important step towards real equality. By mandating this percentage in key areas of the economy, rather than just recommending it, Calviño hopes to break the so-called “glass ceiling” that prevents women from breaking through to senior positions within companies. 

Not only will the corporate world soon have to comply with this women’s quota, but also within the electoral lists at least 40% of the eligible political persons must be women. This applies to both national and local elections. 

However, for the time being, this is a bill that still has to be discussed in parliament and voted on. If this proposal receives sufficient support, it is intended this law will enter into force on July 1, 2024. Between 2024 and 2026, companies will be given time to adapt their organisation to this so that at least 40% of the positions mentioned will consist of women. 

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Spain follows European Parliament directive 

In November 2022, the European Parliament already adopted a directive for a women’s quota within large listed companies in Europe. By July 2026, the EP will mandate that at least 40% of all non-management positions be for women, compared to 33% of management positions. The Spanish government adopts this directive in the bill and raises the entire women’s quota to 40%. 

Currently no more than 30% of the positions in listed companies are for women. Furthermore, in top positions, that percentage does not exceed 20%. “It’s time we harnessed the female talent in this country,” said Minister Calviño. Only four European countries achieved this quota within large companies after the October 2022 measurement; France (45.2%), Italy (42.6%), the Netherlands (41.6%) and Denmark (40.8%). 

Spanish Prime Minister wants to be an example

The current government of Pedro Sánchez currently consists of fourteen women and eight men. Sánchez considers women’s rights very important and wants to give a correct example of this within the formation of his government. This is also evident from the fact that Spain has had a ‘minister of equality’ for some time, which position is held by minister Irene Montero. At the end of 2022, she managed to introduce menstrual leave in Spain, as the first country in Europe. 

Also read: Edge to International Women´s Day in Spain

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