Gender Equality in the New Spanish Sports Law

25th January 2020
How many female athletes fail to receive the same recognition that their male counterparts enjoy? Is gender equality included in the new Spanish sports law?

Gender inequality isn’t hard to miss in sport; just look at how male and female athletes are treated and valued. In our post today, we want to take a closer look at the new Spanish Sports Law. One of its objectives is promoting gender equality in sports and international competitions.

What does the new Spanish Sports Law include?

At the beginning of February 2019, the Spanish Council of Ministers approved the draft for the New Sports Law. The new law will substitute its former, which started in 1990. The Council deemed the old Law antiquated, mainly due to their new perspective on gender inequality in sport.

The need to engrave the fight for gender equality in society is one of the Council’s biggest reasons for approving the new law. The increasing popularity and practice of women’s sports all around the world is yet another reason why the new law was necessary.

The main objective aims to fight against discrimination and promote equality for women. In its second article, the law specifically talks about the right to participate in physical activity and sports. In the draft, it reads [translated from Spanish]:

“[…] the General State Administration has guaranteed that the access citizens have to practice sports and physical activity is equal in conditions and opportunities”.

Furthermore, the new draft of the Spanish Sports Law aims to align with the international mandates of the United Nations in regard to human rights and fighting against any kind of discrimination in sport and society.

spanish sport law discrimination

The new Spanish Sports Law: promoting equality for women

If you study the references to women’s equality in the new sports law, you’ll notice four key points that differentiate from the former 1990 law:

1. Equality in sport federations

According to the new law, women must hold at least 40 percent of the directive bodies behind sports federations. In addition, these institutions must create a Gender Equality Committee.

2. Economic equality and equal opportunities

The new law fights for gender equality by demanding equal access to sports grants. Under the new law, the grants must be distributed impartially, regardless of the gender of the receiver.

3. Maternity rights for female athletes

Athletes should have the same maternity rights that other Spanish citizens enjoy. During their maternity leave, athletes should reserve their right to vote and maintain their professional status.

4. Equality in prizes and payments

The new law also states that economic compensations that derive from public funds should be given equally to male and female athletes.

spanish sport law equality

New public policies for Spanish sports law

The approved draft also anticipates the state’s cooperation to set the new law on track. The fourth article states [translated from Spanish]:

“[…] the General State Administration will develop, within its scope of action and in a coordinated effort with the rest of the public administrations. Public policies that guarantee equality in access and following development for physical activity and sport. This is in addition to the promotion of equal integration in the directive bodies, management and representation of the sport entities stipulated in this law, observing the previously stated laws in the Organic Law 3/2007 of March 22, for equality between women and men in the international norms and treaties ratified by the state”.

In other words, the promotion of gender equality in the new sports law must go hand in hand with public policies. Adding on, Spanish authorities must also create the means and establish effective ways to meet the demands of the new law.

  • Benilde Vázquez Gómez. 2016. La situación de la mujer en el ámbito deportivo. Extraído de: http://www.inmujer.gob.es/areasTematicas/AreaDeporte/docs/SeminariosEncuentros/P_BENILDE_VAZQUEZ.pdf
  • El economista. 2019. Anteproyecto Ley del Deporte con inclusión de la mujer. Extraído de: https://www.eleconomista.es/deporte-negocio/noticias/9673964/02/19/La-nueva-Ley-del-Deporte-incluira-a-la-mujer-deporte-inclusivo-y-limitara-los-mandatos-en-las-federaciones.html