Posted on eurativ.com 29th March 2010
Women's equality should be part of the EU's 'Europe 2020' strategy, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, current holder of the EU's rotating presidency, said yesterday (28 March). EurActiv Spain reports.
Spain's socialist government led by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has made gender equality as one of its priorities. Zapatero's government counts nine women and nine men, including the prime minister.
Among the Spanish government's key commitments are protecting women and fighting against abuse and gender violence, keeping men who harass their partners with aggressive behaviour away from their victims.
Some of Spain's laws are unique in Europe, such as a law on comprehensive protection from gender violence, which has been in force since 2005.
During its EU presidency, Spain plans to promote initiatives such as an EU centre for monitoring gender violence, to gather Community-wide information and to diagnose the problem at European level. This should allow comprehensive solutions to be found.
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LinksDossier:The Spanish EU PresidencySpeaking at a conference on 'Women for a Better World' in the Mediterranean city of Valencia, Zapatero stressed that during its EU presidency, Spain would continue to support the inclusion of the "complete affirmation of equality between men and women" within the Union's new economic strategy.
He said the aim was to increase the level of female employment to 70% by 2020 and to reduce the salary gap by as much as possible. Zapatero, whose speech closed the two-day event attended by some 500 women, mostly from Europe and Africa, said that throughout the Spanish EU Presidency he would continue to promote new ways to support, at European level, the struggle against gender violence. Among those present were Finnish President Tarja Halonen and former Chilean President Michele Bachelet. The Spanish prime minister stressed that Europe is not only the most important reference for Spain, but also a significant international player that other regions of the planet look up to and are inspired by. For this reason, he supported the notion that equality should be a "homogenous reality throughout Europe," both in rural areas and in cities, and in both professional and family environments.
Zapatero also stressed the Spanish EU Presidency's plans to take decisive action against gender violence.
"When we encourage equality throughout the world, we are building a fairer future, and when we cut back on discrimination, we are gaining ground for the dignity of everyone," he said.
The Spanish prime minister added that gender equality begins with the eradication of both direct violence against women and structural violence, which perpetuates "customs which threaten [women's] dignity".