The Spanish government and corporate boards will soon be obliged to include at least 40% women
Spanish lawmakers have passed new legislation this week making it mandatory for businesses to ensure that their corporate boards include more female executives.
The Equal Representation Law, which has been approved at a weekly cabinet meeting this week, will seek to ensure that boards feature at least 40% "of the least represented gender." It will also require similar levels of equality in top management positions.
Apart from the boards of directors of big companies, the bill also covers electoral lists and governing boards of professional associations.
The new regulations will apply to all publicly traded companies by July 1, 2024, and for all businesses with at least 250 employees and an annual turnover of 50 million ($53 million) by June 30, 2026.
The 40% quota will also apply to the government cabinet and will make it obligatory for all electoral lists to alternate between male and female candidates. At the moment, female members make up 44% of Congress and 39% of the Senate.
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"If they represent half of society, half of the political and economic power has to be women's," Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said last week, as he announced the plans.
The new law is the latest in a series of equality measures announced by the Spanish authorities. In December, the government adopted a transgender rights bill along with a pioneering law covering sexual and reproductive health, which offers state-financed paid leave for women who suffer from painful periods.
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