SPAIN made a giant step forward in gender equality this morning with the passing of a new decree that will punish heavily companies found using the outdated pay structure.
During a weekly cabinet meeting, Minister of Equality Irene Montero told reporters that Pedro Sanchez’s left-wing government is taking the issue very seriously.
“The message is very clear, women must be paid the same as men for doing the same jobs,” said Montero.
In the decree, the government will now require all companies to disclose pay structures for their individual staff.
Any company that refuses to do so could face fines of up to €187,000.
Minister of Labour Yolanda Diaz said in the press conference, “You can’t play around with fundamental rights.”
Moreno also added that the government will have to be extra vigilant to ensure that no companies are using the COVID-19 pandemic to disguise discrepancies in pay between the sexes.
Spain stands out in Europe as one of the leaders when it comes to improvements in gender equality.
In December last year, Spain made it into the top 10 on the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report, leaping 21 places since 2018 thanks to an increase in women’s rights.
Sanchez’s government has had a large part to play in this, creating one of Europe’s most female orientated cabinets, with 11 out of 17 ministers appointed as he came into power.
This echoed by the Spanish congress, which is the most equal in the EU, with 47.4% of the members female.
Sanchez has also made significant leaps towards finally overturning Spain’s outdated sexual violence laws.
For many years, the crime of rape could only be charged if there was proof of violence, therefore if alcohol or drug abuse was involved, many perpetrators, such as the Bilbao “Wolfpack” would escape with the lesser crime of sexual assault.
However since this landmark case, sentences are steadily being overturned to the more serious charge of rape thanks to immense pressure from female rights groups and nationwide marches.