Female Forward
Spain is on the right path for more equal opportunities.

Female leadership and empowerment in Spanish politics and society.
Women March

Women's march

© Pixabay, Bones64

The participation of women in the different spheres of political power has increased notably in Spain in recent years. Legislation in Spain intents to promote female representation, e.g. one of the laws which advocate equality between men and women, states, "The achievement of real and effective equality in our society requires not only the commitment of public subjects, but also their decisive impetus in the orbit of relations between individuals". This approach can be the key to a social response that has achieved that almost 50% of political representation is female, placing Spain at the head of the world and the EU in gender equality. The path has been long but it is beginning to bear small fruits.

This constitutional law pays special attention to the promotion of the principle of equality of existence or composition, including the presence of women and men in State institutions, so that the number of persons of each sex is no more than 70% and no less than 40%.

In line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by the United Nations, one of the main objectives is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. One of the targets within this goal corresponds to ensuring women's full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all decision-making levels in political, economic and public life. Spain ranks high in all categories of gender equality in the Sustainable Development report 2022: from the ratio of female participation in the labour force to a high share of seats in the national parliament and a comparatively low gender pay gap of 8.6%.

Sustainable Development Report
© Source: Sustainable Development Report, 2022.

In March of this year 2022, the audit by the renowned international NGO Grant Thornton published a survey where 36% of management positions in Spanish medium-sized companies were held by women, surpassing the reduction to 34% in the previous year caused by the pandemic. This percentage share exceeds the average European level (33%) and also the global level (32%).

Evolution of the percentage of women in management positions in Spain.

Grant Thornton
©  Source: Grant Thornton, 2022.

According to the Grant Thornton audit, if men return completely to the traditional office, model and women combine their work in the office with teleworking at home; this could lead to a reduction in the visibility of their professional achievements. In conclusion, this could mean a reversal of the trend towards gender equality.

Isabel Perea, audit partner at Grant Thornton, says that this level of women in management positions is a reliable indicator of a country's progress: "The figures for Spain lead us to conclude that we are increasingly committed to equality. However (...) we must not forget that we are still only halfway there. We have made progress, but today we can only say that one in three members of the management team made up of women. There are still pending issues that we must resolve with concrete, realistic and effective actions".

Last May, the 40dB barometer published that a clear majority of Spaniards believe that women are better leaders than men are. This response of 50.8% of those surveyed, compared to 28.3% disagreed.

Source: 40dB Barometer, 2022.
© Source: 40dB Barometer, 2022.

To achieve diversity, inclusion and, above all, social justice, female leadership and decision-making must be present in all areas of economy, culture or politics. In general, the active participation of women in positions of power in Spain is steadily increasing. Data from various surveys and studies show that Spain is heading in the right direction towards greater gender equality, but there is still a long way to go.