Spaniards would back gender-based workplace quotas

More than half of people surveyed are in favor of measures to boost equality

Spaniards believe that women have it tougher than men in the workplace and back the idea of quotas to boost equality. This is just one of the findings from a survey conducted to mark International Women's Day, which is celebrated on Tuesday.

The study, carried out by the Ortega-Marañon Foundation, found that two-thirds of Spaniards believe that life is harder for women than for men. The 2,500 people polled also believe, to varying degrees, in introducing "obligatory quotas for women as a way to boost equality" in public posts and private business. Around half of men support this idea, which is backed by more than 60 percent of women. Left-wing voters were most keen on the creation of this tool for positive discrimination.

The European Parliament on Tuesday will debate a proposal to introduce quotas to boost the leadership role of women in society, a system that has enjoyed success in Norway. While not legally binding, the proposal would become a suggested action plan for the EU's 27 member countries if passed.

Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero initially put women at the heart of his legislature, appointing eight female ministers- accounting for half his Cabinet- when he was elected for a second term in 2004.

However, ambitious plans for quotas in business have since fallen by the wayside, and the new Equality Ministry was axed last year as a cost-saving measure.

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