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Report of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice, A/HRC/29/40/Add.3, 17 June 2015: Spain

III.     Legislative and institutional frameworks

A.      Legislative framework

3.       Same-sex marriage law

21.     Spain adopted the Law on Same-Sex Marriage in 2005, thereby becoming one of the States in the world to have taken this step towards equality. The Constitutional Court upheld the constitutionality of the law in November 2012.

D.      Stereotypes and the media

62.     Negative gender stereotypes undermine the status of women in all spheres of life. Official statistics point to the large gender gap in the world of sports, culture and academic life.[16] In the media, traditionalist and sexist roles, sexist advertising and resistance to reporting women’s success in sports are still widespread. Interlocutors criticized the use of discriminatory language in the courts, the imposition on women of a secondary role in the Church, the scarcer presence of women artists in exhibitions and awards and their severe underrepresentation in the Academy of Sciences and the governing bodies of sports federations. The Working Group noted with concern the multiple discriminatory stereotypes to which women in vulnerable situations, including rural women, women with disabilities, women in poverty, migrant women and lesbians, are subject. It was also informed of the existence of a television show Palabra de gitano (“Gypsy’s Honour”) that portrays women in a degrading and stereotyped way.

VII.    Health and safety

A.      Sexual and reproductive health and rights

81.     Requiring third-party consent for girls under the age of 18 runs counter to the obligations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In this regard, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has emphasized the right of the child to confidential counselling and to access to information without parental or guardian consent. In its general comment No. 15 on the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, the Committee recommended that States review and consider allowing children to consent to certain medical treatments and interventions without the permission of a parent, caregiver or guardian, such as HIV testing and sexual and reproductive health services, including education and guidance on sexual health, contraception and safe abortion. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities guarantees full and equal legal capacity to persons with disabilities, recognizing that the denial of legal capacity to persons with disabilities has, in many cases, led to their being deprived of many fundamental rights, including reproductive rights.

XI.      Conclusions and recommendations

B.      Recommendations

110.   In the area of health and safety, the Working Group recommends that the State:

(a)     Remove obstacles to women’s access to safe and legal abortion services in all parts of the country, such as the blanket refusal in certain regions, on grounds of conscientious objection, to provide abortions; and make suitable public guardianship provisions to allow girls younger than 16 years to obtain an abortion without parental consent;

(b)     Cancel all attempts to restrict women’s and girls’ existing access to safe and legal abortion;

(c)     Include mandatory sex education in school curricula;

Link to full text of the report: Report-WGWomen-Spain-2015-eng

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. 16. See the national report of Spain (see footnote 5) [national report of Spain of 29 May 2014 submitted to the Economic Commission for Europe in view of the regional review meeting in preparation for the global 20-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (available from].