Young girl in a crowd with the Spanish draped over her back

Improving gender equality is one of the key ways to improve a country’s economy.

That is one of the messages which resonated during the recent meetings between the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) and Irene Montero, Spain’s Minister for Equality.

Focusing on equal opportunities and equal rights for everyone brings benefits across society.

Benefits which are long overdue.

EIGE’s Gender Equality Index shows that Spain has a proven track record in working towards gender equality.

But there is still work to do.

A fact recognised by Minister of Equality Irene Montero, the Secretary of State for Equality Ángela Rodríguez, and the Director of the Instituto de las Mujeres Antonia Morillas.

“We are fully committed to making gender equality a reality. There is so much potential in our economy. We just need to unlock it,” said Irene Montero.

The Secretary of State for Equality and Against Gender Violence, Ángela Rodríguez, agreed, pointing out how Spain is at the forefront in feminist policies, but also wants to be at the forefront of care.

She highlighted how the state care system in Spain is a strategic economic sector but needs “a deep and structural economic transformation that allows the creation of public employment in this sector to avoid the precariousness that currently exists”.

Spain’s determination was echoed by Carlien Scheele, EIGE Director, who said:

“Even in a country like Spain which is already sixth in EIGE’s Gender Equality Index, there are still significant opportunities for progress.”

“We need businesses, individuals and Government to take three steps forward towards gender equality. To understand the challenges. To identify how to make improvements. And then to commit to action.”

“And balancing care responsibilities more equally between men and women is a great place to start. Care truly is the engine of economic growth.”

Placing gender equality at the heart of an economy that truly works for all was also addressed by Antonia Morillas, Director of Spain’s Instituto de las Mujeres "to strengthen the feminist agenda in the EU against the misogynist and hate speech that is advancing”.

In addition to the high-level meetings, during the two scheduled workdays the EIGE delegation attended meetings on violence, care strategy and gender mainstreaming and helped deliver a training session for the Equality Units of the Ministries in advance of the Spanish presidency of the EU.