Gender bill passed by Parliament

LAST UPDATED: 9 Jun, 2007 @ 10:21
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A LAW aiming to bridge the gender gap between men and women in the boardroom has been
passed by parliament.
Politicians voted 192-0 in favour of the Law of Equality. Main opposition party Partido Popular (PP) abstained, claiming the bill as
“interventionist and unnecessary.”

“The new
ruling will radically transform Spanish society forever,” PSOE socialist Prime
Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, whose front
bench currently includes eight female politicians, said after the vote on March
15.

Under the
law, companies that include a fair man-woman ratio in the boardroom will
receive favourable treatment when bidding for government contracts.

Women must
also make up at least 40 per cent of party candidates in local, regional and
General elections.

Deputy
Prime Minister María Teresa Fernández

de la Vega welcomed the result of the vote: “This is the most advanced equality
law in the world. The Law of Equality will change the face of our country,” she
said.

Fathers
also benefit from the introduction of the law, with 15 days of paternity leave
now granted. This replaces the old system in which mothers could “give” male
partners part or all of their 10-week maternity leave.

Paternity
leave will rise to one month in 2013.

The Law of
Equality also gives first-time mothers 16 weeks maternity leave, 20 weeks for
the second child and 24 for each subsequent birth.

Explaining
her party’s opposition to the law, PP politician Susana Camarero
said: “It is inadequate and unnecessary for
Spain.”

PP
abstention from the vote has been heavily criticised by women’s groups. Marisa Soleto from the Woman Foundation said: “Today [March 15] is
an historic day in Spanish history.

“However,
it seems little smart to me that [leader of the opposition] Mariano Rajoy chose to miss the opportunity of seeing something
truly beautiful in his political life.”

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