Spain // Structures

National level: The State Secretariat of Social Services and Equality, within the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, has a specific mandate on equality issues and runs two agencies: the Office of Gender-Based Violence, which is in charge of developing public policies on gender‑based violence that aim to uphold the rights of female victims of gender‑based violence, and the Directorate General of Equal Opportunities, which enhances equal treatment and opportunities between women and men, and the social and political participation of women.

The Women’s Institute, created in 1983, is an autonomous body affiliated to the Directorate General of Equal Opportunities, in charge of both promoting gender equality and protecting women’s rights. It includes two observatories: the Observatory for Equal Opportunities between Men and Women, which studies and assesses gender gaps in socioeconomic life and proposes policies to improve women’s situation, and the Observatory of Women’s Image, which was created in 1994 to promote a sound, non‑stereotyped image of women.

Other specific structures that contribute to implementing gender mainstreaming are the Interdepartmental Commission for Equality (with representatives from all ministries), and the gender units attached to each ministry, which are devoted to developing key methods such as gender impact assessment and gender statistics.

State of Autonomies level: In Spain, all 17 autonomous communities have established at least one central structure responsible for gender policies. Two types of structures have been set up at thislevel: autonomous agencies and departments. Ten communities have autonomous agencies analogous to the Women’s Institute at the national level. These are institutionalised by law and have their own budget and staff, and similar goals and tasks. Seven regions have established specific departments in charge of gender-equality policies. A list is provided below:

  • Andalusia (Regional Ministry of Equality and Welfare);
  • Aragon (Regional Ministry of Health, Welfare and Family);
  • Asturias (Regional Ministry of Presidency);
  • Balearic Islands (Regional Ministry of Health, Family and Welfare);
  • Canary Islands (Regional Ministry of Presidency, Justice and Equality);
  • Cantabria (Regional Ministry of Presidency and Justice);
  • Castilla La Mancha (Presidency);
  • Castilla y León (Regional Ministry of Family and Equal Opportunities);
  • Catalonia (Regional Ministry of Welfare and Family);
  • Extremadura (Regional Ministry of Health and Social Policies);
  • Galicia (Regional Ministry of Presidency, Public Administrations and Justice);
  • La Rioja (Regional Ministry of Health and Social Policies);
  • Madrid (Regional Ministry of Social Affairs);
  • Murcia (Regional Ministry of Health and Social Policy);
  • Navarre (Regional Ministry of Social Policies);
  • Basque Country (Regional Presidency);
  • Community of Valencia (Regional Ministry of Welfare).

Besides these structures, Spanish autonomous communities have also set up interdepartmental commissions and gender units with gender-mainstreaming responsibilities. Twelve communitites have set up interdepartmental commissions aimed at coordinating gender policies and fostering the transversal introduction of a gender perspective. The members of these interdepartmental commissions are representatives from all territorial ministries (ministers or sub-secretaries, depending on the community) who meet once or twice a year. Gender units covering the whole territorial administration have been created for some communitites, while seven communitites have opted to create a gender unit for each of the territorial ministries. The responsibilities of the former include, inter alia, developing guidelines and materials, delivering gender training and advising on how to implement gender mainstreaming, whereas the latter conduct similar tasks to the national level units such as collecting sex-disaggregated statistics, drafting gender impact assessments, promoting gender training, etc.

An agency to coordinate both the national and the community level has been created (Sector Conference for Equality). This agency gathers representatives from the ministry in charge of gender equality at national level and from each of the territorial agencies and departments. It is conceived as a mechanism for horizontal cooperation and the national government has no capacity to impose any line of action.