Spain announced legislation promoting gender equality in politics and business.

Madrid, March 4, 2010 (FBC) Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced on Saturday that the gender equality law would require equal representation of women and men in politics, business and other areas of public life.

The Equal Representation Act applies gender equality measures to electoral lists, boards of directors of large companies and governing boards of trade unions.

Sanchez announced this at a Socialist Party rally ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8. It will be approved at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday before going to Parliament for debate.

The government “not only takes action in favor of feminism, but also supports Spanish society as a whole,” he said.

It is the latest in a series of equality measures announced by the leftist coalition government. In December, lawmakers passed the Gender Rights Act, as well as a pioneering law covering sexually transmitted diseases and reproductive disorders, offering state-funded leave for women suffering from traumatic periods for the first time in Europe.

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“If they represent half of society, half of the political and economic power should be women,” Sánchez said on Saturday.

The Equal Representation Act requires women to hold 40% of the management of companies with more than 250 employees and annual revenue of 50 million euros ($53 million).

In politics, the law obliges parties to field an equal number of male and female candidates in elections, with the aim of increasing gender equality in parliament. Women currently make up 44% of Congress and 39% of the Senate.

It also requires professional associations to have at least 40% women on their boards and judges for any publicly funded awards.

($1 = 0.9406 EUR)

Reported by Jessica Jones; Editing by David Holmes

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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