Are Socialists a Woman’s Best Friend? Equality Policies in the Spanish Regions

Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 438-462, June 2003

26 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2011  

Katerina Linos

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Date Written: June 1, 2003

Abstract

This paper challenges the dominant thesis that social democracy is the principal impetus behind gender equality policy. The delegation of gender equality policy to the Spanish regional governments in the 1980s offers an unusually good experimental set-up to test competing theories: two decades of rich and comparable data. The interaction between the federal state structure, the parties in office, and women in power explains the development of equality policy in Spain. The difference between conservative and socialist governments at the regional level has been small and is declining. Furthermore, the party effect on policy is not a direct result of left-wing ideology, but an indirect result of a) the preferential treatment of similarly colored regional governments by the central administration; and b) the Socialists’ commitment to placing women in power, which prompted other parties to follow suit. A direct link between women in power and improved equality policy is established.

Keywords: autonomous communities, federalism, equality, gender, left, social policy, law, Spain

JEL Classification: J16, J78, O18, P16, P52

Suggested Citation

Linos, Katerina, Are Socialists a Woman’s Best Friend? Equality Policies in the Spanish Regions (June 1, 2003). Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 438-462, June 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1881039

Katerina Linos (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

488 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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