Everyday is International Women's Day
Yesterday there were demonstrations in Catalonia and all over the world to mark International Women's Day, and the thousands who took to the streets protested in a festive atmosphere. They made demands that have been dragging on for years and will not be settled overnight. In the run up, the Catalan and Spanish governments have put in place some measures that show to what extent discrimination against women is so deep-rooted that sometimes it is difficult even to identify it. This is the case, for example, of the initiative by the Department of Equality to encourage the Catalan Consumer Agency to inspect fashion stores to ensure that they comply with European regulations on sizes. The idea is, on the one hand, to ensure that sizes meet standards set by European regulations, avoiding a size L which is actually an S or an M, with the frustration that this causes. But also to avoid chains that only sell sizes XS or S, which in reality are an almost childish size sold for mature women. It seems an anecdotal issue, but this aesthetic pressure is of paramount importance in the fight against eating disorders and also psychological disorders and in the way women, especially teenagers, perceive their bodies.
Another even more relevant measure was explained today by the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, after the Council of Ministers. It is the approval of the III Strategic Plan for the Effective Equality of Women and Men, which plans to invest up to €20,3bn up to 2025. This high amount is due to the fact that the plan includes measures which have already been approved, such as the extension of parental leave or the schooling of children aged 0 to 3, items that account for the bulk of the budget. It also represents a significant increase in relation to previous policies, with the aim of allocating investment to enable the effective exercise of this equality by facilitating work/life balance and improving services for families.
The truth is that, as studies published yesterday reveal, the wage gap continues to be all too real and women suffer more from temporary employment, have more insecure jobs and are undervalued in places of responsibility. Catalonia, in this, is no exception, and is even a little worse than the Spanish average, if we pay attention to the study Women in Business, published by consultancy firm Grant Thornton. The presence of women in top management, 32%, is lower than the Spanish average (36%) and the European average (33%). The gap also remains in relation to the median annual salary: in Catalonia, the average salary of men (€28,965) is 20.64% higher than women's average salary (€22,988).
It is good to celebrate a day and take advantage of it to make the necessary demands, but it cannot stay here. Equality and the reduction of discrimination and violence against women will only be achieved if we really believe it every day and in all areas. For us, every day is International Women's Day.