On the eve of International Women’s Day on Tuesday, Spain’s leftist government unveiled a draft law intended to increase the proportion of women in business and politics and enhance gender equality in one of the world’s leading nations on the subject.
The Equal Representation Law mandates a minimum of 40% female representation on the boards of directors of major corporations and the governing bodies of professional associations. It also applies the principle of full gender parity to electoral lists.
During the cabinet meeting, when women outnumbered males for the first time in Spain, Economy Minister Nadia Calvino remarked, “We need to take advantage of 100% of the female talent in our nation to boost the productivity of firms and to have a stronger and more sustainable growth over time.
The draft bill, according to Calvino, who gained notoriety last year when she threatened to stop attending events if women were not equally represented among the speakers, would shatter the glass ceiling in both the public and private sectors and solidify Spain’s position as a pioneer in gender equality.
By July 2024, all listed companies must have at least 40% female management, under the law. By 2026, the aim must be met by unlisted businesses with more than 250 employees and a 50 million euro ($53 million) annual revenue.
These objectives are more stringent than those imposed by an EU rule, which calls for women to make up 33% of all directors or 40% of non-executive directors by the year 2026.
Before learning the specifics of the proposal, the CEOE, the country’s largest business organisation, refrained to comment.
According to a study by the IESE business school and the marketing firm Atrevia, the percentage of women serving on the boards of publicly traded Spanish companies increased to 32.37% last year from below 30%.
Tuesday’s McKinsey&Company research, which was the result of a survey of 35 Spanish companies, revealed that the participation of women in top management and boards was only 9% and 28%, respectively. Since 2019, the overall proportion has been constant, and the analysis claimed that more women in management may boost earnings by 25%.