Article from REAS Euskadi 

Zaloa Pérez – REAS Euskadi , together with Ander – EMAKUNDE – present the main novelties of the modification of Law 4/2005 of February 18, for Equality between Women and Men in a day-workshoporganized by the Observatory of the Third Social Sector of Euskadi.

This modification of the Law on Equality between Women and Men which entered into force on 18/03 of this year represents an advance in many areas, especially from the perspective of its drafting and the incorporation of approaches and concepts from feminist theory and, also, some of the historical demands of the feminist movement of Euskal Herria.


Next, we want to highlight some of the elements of the spirit of this law that seem most significant to us:

In the first place, the reference that is made to the need to move towards an economic model that places the sustainability of life at the center. In this sense, the feminist movement has long pointed out that real equality between women and men is not possible within the framework of a system that is built (and reproduced) on inequalities and, in particular, on gender inequality.

This law, although there is still work to be specified by other means, aims to contribute to this transition, among others, through Responsible Public Procurement, co-responsible conciliation, the guarantee of a public and integral system of care provision and the revaluation of domestic work and unpaid care.

Thus, even with its limitations, it tries to move towards a new social organization of care that addresses the tremendous injustice in terms of time and quality of life that the obligation of care supposes for women.

The second element is the intersectional approach that appears in this modification and that is born from the idea that gender intersects with other variables (origin, ethnicity, diversity …) complicating the identities, living conditions and positions of women in the socioeconomic system. One of the challenges will be to take advantage of all the potential that this perspective has linked, for example, to the development of anti-discrimination policies.

Another significant element is that this law deals with put the sexist violence that is exercised against women at the center and be a guarantor of a life free of sexist violence. Progress is being made in a broad definition of this violence from the perspective of women’s human rights and new typologies are incorporated, such as digital violence, obstetric violence or violence against the environment that supports the victim.

Finally, it appeals to the need to promote a change in the culture and business and organizational practice from the consideration of entities as holders of responsibilities in the construction of equitable spaces and the promotion of a non-macho organizational culture. It uses, for this, Responsible Public Procurement and the regulatory bases of subsidies as a method to promote these transformations in private enterprise.

This element seems especially significant to us since the Basque social sector is highly feminized (more than 70% of workers and volunteers are women). It is a sector that offers possibilities of paid work in decent conditions to women, however, we need to transform our culture and workspaces since, our organizations, having been mostly founded by and for men, their work systems, structures, norms, etc. tend to reflect experiences of men and masculine values. On the other hand, we have to intervene in the private sphere, to assume in a co-responsible way between women and men the care of life.

Otherwise, the full potential of this third sector of social action for the promotion of equality can become a trap for women. The third sector can become a space that meets the practical needs of women and offers us more and better possibilities to combine our double and triple days but that does not question the relations of power and inequality that are the basis of discrimination and violence.

As our colleague Silvia Piris points out, we are in a moment of systemic crisis that points to the urgency, need and opportunity to promote processes of transformation of the organizational culture. The ways of participating, of understanding the division between employment and labor, the patriarchal logics that cross our ways of being and relating in these organizations must be progressively questioned, reviewed and transformed. And this amendment of the Basque Law for Equality between Women and Men directly challenges us to implement these processes.