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Reasons not to celebrate International Women’s Day in Spain

There’s been significant progress for equality in Spain, particulary under the last Socialist government, but austerity measures since May 2010 and the policies of the current right wing government of Mariano Rajoy threaten to roll back gains.

Here’s a few figures just published by trade union central Comisiones Obreras that show the huge gender gap that still needs to close

 Women at Work

  •  Women comprise 96% of the total population that don’t seek work for the principal reason of caring for children, adults, ill, immobile or elderly
  • The main reason (40%) for not working are ‘domestic responsibilities’ compared to being a  ‘pensioner or early retirement’ for men (60%)
  •  Employment rate among women is 11.6 percentage points lower than for men
  • Unemployment affected young women in particular: 7 out 10 female 16-19 year olds are jobless and four out of 10 for those of ages 20-24
  • 51% of Spain’s jobless are women but only 39% of these women received contribution-based unemployment benefits
  •  Women account for 76% of part-time work, but the main reason (53%) is the inability to find a full-time position, followed by care of dependents (15%) with only 10% citing part-time work as a genuine preference
  •  In the public sector 72% of women have permanent contracts compared to 82% of men


  •  Men’s average wage in 2009 was Euros 15,001 compared to Euros 19,502 for women, or only 78% of a man’s.
  • Women’s wages are less than men on average across all trades and professions and in all sectors with the gap at Euros 6,000 in the services sector
  • Three times of many women, or 15%, earn the same or less than minimum wage as men
  • At the upper end of the scale, of those on five times the minimum wage there are twice as many men as women (5%)
  • Women predominate in the low wages stakes: 64% of those earning below two thirds of the average wage are female

 Work life balance

Employment rates among men between 25-49 with children was 84% compared to 80% without children while for women the already lower rate of 69% drops to 61% if you have children. For women with 3 children on their hands the employment rate drops to 45%


More men get better pensions: 3 million men received an contributory retirement pension (or occupational pension) of an average Euros 1,000 a month compared to 1.7 million women with this type of pension being worth just Euros 620

In the home

  •  Women spend 9 hours more a week than men doing domestic chores
  • 93.5% of informal (non-professional) care for dependent people is carried out by women
  •  9 out of 10 single parent families are headed by women

Sexual harassment

  • 1.3 million women suffer sexual harassment annually
  • 1 in 4 women perceive conduct that they believe represented sexual harassment
  • The Labour Inspectorate (Inspeccion de Trabajo) carried out 577 actions for sexual harassment  and 320 actions for harassment on grounds of sex

Domestic gender violence 

  •  A woman is killed every six days by partners or ex-partners (61 women in 2011 and 606 between 2003-2011) 
  • There were 134,105 acts of domestic gender violence reported in 2010 or 367 a day and as of 31 December 2011 19,515 women had active police protection for this reason. 538,063 acts of domestic gender violence were reported between in 2007-2010 or 389 a day.
  •  45% of men believe women are responsible for domestic gender violence because they continue living with aggressor.


  •  Women are not even a third (31%) of ministers of current government
  • Only 21% of regional governments are headed by a woman and women make up just 34% of regional councillors
  •  Only 17% of mayors are women
  • Women hold 36% of seats in the Congress and 33% of seats in the Senate
  • There’s well below 40% representation by women at the top of the main institutions of the state

In Business

  •  Men are twice as well represented in positions of responsibility in small business, rising to four times in medium and large firms
  •  As at May 2011, no woman headed a firm in the Ibex stock market listing of largest companies


  •  Males take 90% of all prizes and formal recognitions of achievement
  • 1 in 10 film directors are women
  • Single parent families are poorer if headed by a woman: 39% relative poverty rate compared to 21% in single parent families headed by a man

More information:

See more in the Comisiones Obreras report (in Spanish) 

More acts and figures on gender equality in Europe

What France’s feminists say about the crisis

About Italy’s women’s movement

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope



  1. Pingback: Why Spain’s feminists will be joining the Europe-wide protests « Revolting Europe - November 13, 2012

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