Mayor of Barcelona is among top ten Spain’s most powerful women

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According to the EU’s Gender Equality index, with 72.0 out of 100 points, Spain ranks 8th on their list. Their score is also 4.1 points above the average score of the EU. Since 2010, its score has increased by 5.6 points.

The government of Spain has adopted two complementary decrees intended to improve gender equality in the workplace. One of these decrees details the requirements for employers to report compensation by gender across their workforces, and the other specifies rules for companies that must draw up negotiated equality plans. The equal pay decree establishes processes for identifying and correcting gender discrimination in compensation, according to the Spanish government, which will develop tools that companies can use for free when creating their compensation registers. The decrees “are one more step to end the gender gap that exists in our society,” said Spain’s minister of equality, Irene Montero. At this moment, the wage gap between men and women in this country remains above 20 percent.

Spain vows to continue working for a comprehensive response to all forms of violence, as it emphasizes that the fight against gender violence is a “national priority” that deserves special attention. Country’s Strategic Plan for Equal Opportunities 2014–2016 allocated a budget of 3.1 million euros to promote gender equality with the “More Women, Better Business” project, aimed at moving towards balanced participation in management positions in companies.  Spain committed to strengthen the initiative which promotes the participation and leadership of women in political, economic, social and cultural life.

According to the McKinsey Global institute, “Eradicating gender inequality in the workplace could translate into a 26 percent increase in global GDP by the year 2025” 

The fight for women’s rights in Spain has been a decades-long process 

Ever since Marie Gouze’s “Declaration of the Rights of Woman and of the Female Citizen” in 1791, many have fought to dismantle outdated gender roles. One of the major steps was women’s suffrage, established in Spain in 1933 during the Second Republic, with the help of Clara Campoamor. Thanks to figures like her, women in Spain currently take an active role in society, holding high positions in both the government and private sector. However, inequalities still persist to this day. This is easily reflected in salaries.  While men with full-time jobs earned an average of 29.5 thousand euros annually, women had annual average salaries of 26.9 thousand euros. 

The World Economic Forum has created the Global Gender Gap Index analyzing these aspects in 140 countries, including Spain, which generally ranks higher than most nations. The country fares better in the area of educational attainment due to the large number of women enrolled in all levels of education. However, deeper analysis suggests poor economic empowerment, with a large disparity in wage equality for similar work and scarce presence of women leadership roles.

In order to have more women in leadership roles, we have to take a look at role models, such as influential female leaders who did not hesitate to take the charge. According to The Local, mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau made the top ten Spain’s most powerful women.  

Ada Colau, born in 1974, has been mayor of Barcelona since 2015. She is the first ever woman mayor in the history of this city. She is a researcher and human rights champion, specializing in the right for housing. In 2007 she became a member of the Social and Cultural Economic Rights Observatory, a platform made up of people and organizations dedicated to researching economic, social and cultural rights. She is also an author of several books on human rights and urban housing. 

Following the financial crisis, 400,000 homes had been foreclosed and a further 3.4m properties lay empty. In response, Colau had helped to set up a grassroots organization, the Platform for Mortgage Victims (PAH), which championed the rights of citizens unable to pay their mortgages or threatened with eviction. Recently, Colau has visited newly opened residential centers, proving her decisiveness when it comes to housing. She shared the news on social media by stating the following: “Important news: In Barcelona we have reduced the number of women living on the street by 35% by opening 3 residential centers exclusive to them”

She is also very public about promoting gender equality. One example is the new government measure on gender equality in the tech environment. It is providing additional promotion of women in the digital sector, and strengthening the feminist perspective in the construction of an increasingly tech-driven society.

During her Forbes Women Summit in Barcelona, Colau expressed the importance of feminism, creating equal rights as well as making the oppressed people heard and become more visible to the society. “Those of us who are more visible have to continue fighting for those who have it more difficult.” she stated. “I have not become the first female mayor, I have come to pave the way”. (photo credit: ajuntament.barcelona.cat)