In the midst of the restructuring of the new Government, its head, Pedro Sánchez, has given his ministers a wake-up call. As has been able to confirm from different sources, in recent days the President of the Executive has stopped some appointments proposed by his ministers for the second line of the Government, which is made up of the Secretariats of State and the General Directorates. He has done so after detecting a imbalance in these new appointments, in which the number of men exceeds the number of women.

Sánchez wants his ministers to take into account in all appointments made the principle of parity that the progressive coalition Executive assumes and demands. And he has expressly requested that there be more women in these positions of responsibility.

One of its main objectives of the recently inaugurated Government is to consolidate Spain as “a feminist reference point”. Sánchez explained it during the investiture session in mid-November and it also appears in the agreement reached by PSOE and Sumar. In the text, both forces commit to promoting “parity in the political, administrative and business spheres, approving the law of equal representation and balanced presence of women and men” that was already approved in the Council of Ministers in May, which even reached to the Congress of Deputies but which ended up declining due to the electoral advance.

Since they took office on November 21, the Government is made up of 12 female ministers and ten male ministers, a distribution that fits with that commitment expressed black on white by the two partners of the Executive. But when the members of the Cabinet began to choose their respective teams, Sánchez perceived that this parity was not being met. As an example, in the first Council of Ministers of the legislature, which took place on November 22, the chiefs of staff of each of the ministers were appointed as well as other general directors. Of them, 13 were men and only seven women.

This same week, some secretaries of State, undersecretaries, general secretaries or ambassadors were also elected, of which 28 were men and 21 women. Focusing attention solely on the diplomatic corps, the Council of Ministers appointed eight male ambassadors and only four female ambassadors, half of them. Given this scenario, Sánchez has decided to extend the deadline for his ministers to continue closing the structures of their respective departments.

Comply with the 2030 Agenda on Equality

There are still secretariats of state and numerous general directorates to be filled and the president of the Government wants there to be a greater presence of women in those still vacant positions to equal the number of men, currently predominant in that second level of executive power: of the already elected, there are 12 secretaries of state and six secretaries. This newspaper has learned from government sources that different ministers are therefore rethinking the initial configuration of their teams to adapt them to the request of their top boss.

It was last May, in one of its last meetings before the advance of the general elections and the dissolution of the Cortes, when the Council of Ministers approved in the second round the draft Organic Law of equal representation of women and men in the bodies of decision. The objective of the norm that ended up declining due to the 23J elections was to “guarantee parity in politics, administration and companies, expanding its scope to constitutional bodies and bodies of constitutional relevance.”

“The standard aims to meet the objective of the United Nations 2030 Agenda, based on guaranteeing women and girls ‘the same opportunities as men and boys in employment, leadership and decision-making at all. levels’”, then explained the Government of PSOE and Unidas Podemos. The text that intends to be taken up at the beginning of the recently launched legislature also extended the objectives of parity and balanced participation, guaranteeing that people of each sex do not exceed 60% nor are they less than 40%. This project also expanded its scope to constitutional bodies and bodies of constitutional relevance, such as the Constitutional Court, the Council of State, the Fiscal Council, the Court of Accounts and the General Council of the Judiciary.

The Government seeks to guarantee the effective representation of women in the political sphere and is preparing to modify the electoral legislation in order to establish the mandatory nature of zipper lists (candidacies made up of people of both sexes arranged alternatively) in the elections of members of the Congress, Senate, European Parliament, autonomous assemblies, municipalities, island councils and island councils.

Apply parity now

But in the project approved in May it was already established that within the scope of the General Administration of the State, the higher and directive bodies (for example, the secretaries of State, the undersecretaries and the general directorates) of each ministry should also incorporate this principle of parity. The text established a period of five years to comply with equality and extended the obligation to all entities in the state public sector. Sánchez, however, wants the new Executive to take it into account from now on.

Furthermore, the bill incorporated the aforementioned principle of balanced representation in different areas of civil society, especially business. Currently, the presence of women on the boards of directors of listed companies in Spain stands at 29.3% (357 directors out of a total of 1,220), and is limited to 19.6% in the case of senior management. (excluding senior executive directors).

The rule promoted by the Government established that the boards of directors of listed companies and public interest entities that have more than 250 workers and a turnover of more than 50 million euros or assets greater than 43 million euros They must have a composition in accordance with this principle, so that the number of women cannot be less than 40% of the total members of the council. To achieve this, the selection processes must be adapted to ensure compliance with this provision, and in the event of a tie between several candidates, the one of the least represented sex on the council must be chosen.

The Government also wants the principle of balanced representation to also be fulfilled in the governing boards of professional associations, which must also include in their annual report the number of members broken down by sex and, if the established percentage is not reached, clarify the reasons and the measures adopted to achieve it. It must also be fulfilled in courts, juries and collegiate bodies constituted to grant awards or decorations of the General Administration of the State or entities that make up the state institutional public sector or when they are chaired by representatives of the former.


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