Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sánchez Saturday announced new equality legislation that will require equal representation between men and women in decision-making spaces within politics and business. This equality law would make Spain one of the only European countries with a statutory gender quota system. Sánchez supports this progressive approach, noting that Spain is putting itself “at the forefront of feminism in Europe.”To that end, the law will provide for a number of measures to ensure equal gender representation. It will require zipper lists in the Electoral Law, meaning political parties will have to offer equal numbers of male and female candidates during elections. This is a significant measure, as according to the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party only 44 percent of the seats in Congress and 39 percent in the Senate are currently occupied by women.In the business sphere, the law requires the board of directors of any listed company with over 250 workers and €50 million annual turnover to include 40 percent women. Similarly, governing boards of professional associations and juries granting public awards must also be made up of 40 percent women.This piece of equality legislation is the latest in a series of measures pioneered by the Spanish government. In February the government approved a bill allowing people to freely change their gender from the age of 16. In the same month Spain also became the first country in Europe to approve state-paid menstrual leave.It is expected that the Council of Ministers will approve the processing of the gender equality legislation next Tuesday.
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