Gender Quotas Database

Country Data

EXPLORE QUOTA DATA    

 

Spain (Kingdom of Spain)

Spain (Kingdom of Spain) has a Bicameral parliament with the use of voluntary party quotas. 166 of 350 (47%) seats in the Congreso de los Diputados / Congress of Deputies are held by women.

At a glance

Structure of Parliament: Bicameral

Are there legislated quotas...

  • For the Single/Lower House? Yes
  • For the Upper House? Yes
  • For the Sub-National Level? Yes

Are there voluntary quotas...

  • Adopted by political parties? Yes

Is there additional information?...

  • Yes

Last updated: Apr 9, 2019

Single/Lower House

Congreso de los Diputados / Congress of Deputies

Total seats 350
Total Women 166
% Women 47%
Election Year 2019
Electoral System List PR
Quota Type Legislated Candidate Quotas¤
Election details IDEA Voter Turnout - IPU Parline
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas¤ Constitution  
Electoral law

‘Lists of candidates put forward under this Act for elections to Congress (…) shall have a balanced proportion of women and men, so that candidates of either sex make up at least 40 per 100 of total membership. Where the number of seats to be covered is less than five, the ratio between women and men shall be as close as possible to equal balance’ (Organic Law on Regime of General Elections, Article 44 bis (1)).

Legal sanctions for non-compliance Electoral law

Political parties are given a short period to adjust lists that do not meet the quota requirement. If they fail to do so, the lists will not be approved by the Electoral Commission (Article 47 (2 and 4)).

Rank order/placement rules Electoral law

Quotas are not only applied to the whole party lists but also to every 5 posts. If the number of eligible posts is less than 5, then the list must be as close as possible to the 40–60% equilibrium (Article 44 bis (2)).

Is the provision of direct public funding to political parties related to gender equality among candidates? No  
See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database
Are there provisions for other financial advantages to encourage gender equality in political parties? No  
See more in International IDEA's Political Finance database

Upper House

Senado / Senate

Total seats 250
Total Women 98
% Women 39%
Election Year 2019
Electoral System Directly and Indirectly Elected
Quota Type Legislated Candidate Quotas¤>
Election details IPU Parline
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas¤ Electoral law

Where candidates to Senate are grouped in lists those lists shall also have a balanced ratio of women and men, so that the total proportion is as close as possible to equal balance (Article 44 bis (4)).

Legal sanctions for non-compliance Electoral law

Political parties are given a short period to adjust lists that do not meet the quota requirement. If they fail to do so, the lists will not be approved by the Electoral Commission (Article 47 (2 and 4)).

Rank order/placement rules Electoral law

Quotas are not only applied to the whole party lists but also every 5 posts. If the number of eligible posts is less than 5, then the list must be as close as possible to the 40–60% equilibrium (Article 44 bis (2)).

Quota at the Sub-National Level

  • Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas¤
  Legal source Details
Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas¤ Constitution  
Electoral law

‘Lists of candidates put forward under this Act for (…) municipal elections and elections to Insular Councils of the Canary Islands or Legislative Assemblies of Self-Governing Communities, shall have a balanced proportion of women and men, so that candidates of either sex make up at least 40 per 100 of total membership. Where the number of seats to be covered is less than five, the ratio between women and men shall be as close as possible to equal balance’. Villages with less than 3,000 inhabitants will not be obliged to comply with the Equality Law (Articles 44 bis (1) and 187 (2)).

Legal sanctions for non-compliance Electoral law

Political parties are given a short period to adjust lists that do not meet the quota requirement. If they fail to do so, the lists will not be approved by the Electoral Commission (Article 47 (2 & 4)).

Rank order/placement rules Electoral law

Quotas are not only applied to the whole party lists but also every 5 posts. If the number of eligible posts is less than 5, then the list must be as close as possible to the 40–60% equilibrium (Article 44 bis (2)).

Voluntary Political Party Quotas*

Party Official name Details, Quota provisions
Spanish Socialist Workers' Party Partido Socialista Obrero Espanol [PSOE] Since 1997, PSOE has a 40 percent quota for either sex (party statutes, 2009, article 7k). The party first introduced a quota rule, at 25 percent, in 1988.
United Left Izquierda Unida [IU] Since 1997, IU has a 40 percent quota for either sex (party statutes 2008, article 7). The quota was first introduced in 1989, at 25 percent.
Socialist Party of Catalonia Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya [PSC] PSC has a 40 percent quota for either sex (2000). The quota was first introduced in 1982 (12 percent) and enlarged in 1987 (15 percent), 1990 (25 percent) and 1996 (30 percent).
Initiative for Catalonia- Green Iniciativa per Catalunya-Verds [ICV] ICV has a 40 percent quota for either sex (2002). The quota was first introduced in 1991 (30 percent).
Republican Left of Catalonia Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya [ERC] ERC has a 40 percent quota for either sex (2004).
Nationalist Galician Block Bloque Nacionalista Galego [BNG] Quotas were approved by BNG in 2002 (40 percent quota for either sex).
Canarian Coalition Coalición Canaria [CC] A 40 percent quota for either sex was approved by CC in 2000. (Party statutes, 2008, article 4:18.)

* Only political parties represented in parliament are included. When a country has legislated quotas in place, only political parties that have voluntary quotas that exceed the percentage/number of the national quota legislation are presented in this table.

Additional Information

In March 2007 the Equality Law (Ley de Igualdad) modified the electoral law and introduced the ‘principle of balanced presence’ of female and male candidates. Party electoral lists are required to have a minimum of 40 per cent and a maximum of 60 per cent of either sex among their candidates in elections to the Lower House (Congress of Deputies). The law was first applied in the general elections of March 2008. The Electoral Law (as amended in 2007) also applies to regional and local elections. It was first applied in the local and regional elections of May 2007. The provisions do not apply to villages with less than 5,000 inhabitants. By 2011 only villages with less than 3,000 inhabitants will not be obliged to comply with the Equality Law. Quota requirements are also included in regional laws. By March 2007 several Autonomous Communities—including the Balearic Islands, Castilla-La Mancha, Andalusia and the Basque Country—had adopted quotas in regional elections. In these elections, women have to represent at least 50 per cent of any party’s electoral list. In the first elections in which the quota was to be enforced, some provincial electoral authorities failed to reject lists that did not comply with the rules. Some parties challenged those lists before administrative courts and lists failing to comply with gender-based parity were forced to be amended or be invalidated.

The Equality Law passed in the Basque Country in 2005 obliges the government to incorporate a 40 per cent quota for either sex in the composition of the cabinet. It also states that in party electoral lists women must constitute at least 50 per cent of all candidates.

Sources

LEGAL SOURCES:

Additional reading

  • Valiente, C. 2005. ‘The women’s movement, gender equality agencies and central-state debates on political representation in Spain’, in Lovenduski, J. et al (eds) State Feminism and Political Representation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 174-194.
  • Jenson, Jane & Valiente, Celia. 2003. Comparing Two Movements for Gender Parity: France and Spain, in Banaszak A. L., Beckwith K., D. Rucht (eds.) Women's Movements Facing the Reconfigured State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Valiente, Celia. 2003. ‘The Feminist Movement and the Reconfigured State in Spain (1970s-2000)’, in Banaszak A. L., Beckwith K., D. Rucht (eds.) Women's Movements Facing the Reconfigured State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Hacia una Democracia Paritaria. Análisis y Revisión de las Leyes Electorales Vigentes (Towards Parity Democracy: Analysis and Reform of Existing Electoral Laws). 2001. Madrid: CELEM.
  • Prades, Joaquina. 2000. ‘PSOE y PP, únicos partidos que suben su cuota de mujeres.’ El País, 30 January.
  • Instituto de la Mujer, Statistics of women in congress, http://www.mtas.es/mujer/mujeres/cifras/poder/poder_legislativo.htm
  • Spanish Parliament website, http://www.congreso.es/

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