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Gender mainstreaming has been progressively developed in Spain over the last 15 years. It was first mentioned in the Plan for Equal Opportunities between Men and Women, which was approved in 1997. This document called for a ‘transversal approach’ to gender equality – as equality-policy plans require different government departments to adopt gender-policy measures included in the plan – and recommended that all policies be revised from a gender perspective.

A step forward for the effective implementation of gender mainstreaming was taken in 2007, when the transversal approach was incorporated into a binding norm, the Law on the Effective Equality of Men and Women, which introduced specific methods and structures to effectively implement gender mainstreaming, including gender budgeting, gender impact assessment, etc. Although some of these methods were already in place (i.e. gender impact assessment), this norm meant a clear mandate for their development, and the effective revision of all policies from a gender perspective was facilitated. That is, these instruments helped to move beyond the preceding stage, which was limited to the introduction of a general mandate, towards a transversal approach.