Spanish gender programme heralded as great success

“Spain and Norway have become partners in gender equality. Our societies are different but our objectives are the same. The gender programme has been pioneering and perhaps one of the most successful,” said Norwegian Ambassador Johann Vibe at the closing event in Madrid on 10 June.

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Worth €11 million, this is the largest gender equality programme ever supported under the EEA Grants. Organised by the programme operator, Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, the closing event attracted some 50 participants, including many of the project promoters as well as representatives from the Norwegian partner, the Equality and Anti-discrimination Ombud (LDO).

Rosa Urbón Izquierdo, General Director, Institute for Women and Equal Opportunities, noted that while there were hurdles to overcome during the implementation, the results speak for themselves:   

“The funds are coming to an end here but the policies developed as part of the programme will endure in the country. It hasn’t always been easy, but in the end the results have more than met our expectations. The programme has been a resounding succcess.”

A total of 71 projects were supported under the programme. A number of these were showcased during the event, including the hugely successful ‘Promociona’ project which encouraged more women in leadership positions.

The many stories presented gave a flavour of the impressive breadth and quality of initiatives supported. Projects have helped women from all backgrounds to better access the labour market – from those already in leadership positions to some of the most vulnerable, such as victims of domestic violence.


  • 15 000 female direct beneficiaries
  • 3 760 women from vulnerable groups participated in activities to improve their labour market accessibility
  • 87 companies signed up to join the initiative “More Women, Better Companies”
  • 38 awareness raising initiatives on the gender pay gap were supported

Rachel Eapen Paul, project leader from LDO, described the programme as “unique, diverse, transformative”. She underlined how important the principle of equal ownership over the programme has been, with both sides gaining and learning from the mutual exchange of experience.

“It has been a great privilege to work in this programme. We had a mountain to climb but it is amazing to see what we have achieved together. It has had a very mobilising effect.”

Closing the event, Begona Suarez, General Deputy Director for entrepreneurship and women’s professional promotion in the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality spoke of the collaboration as having been “an enriching experience”.

“We were very ambitious which has sometime presented difficulties but the excellent cooperation with all those involved has made it all worthwhile.”

Read more

Gender equality and work-life balance programme

Spain country page: results and project stories