United Nations Public Service Award Winners


Initiative: Implementation of the Basque law for the equality of women and men


Institution: Emakunde-Basque Institute for Women


Problem: The lack of legally binding policies on gender equality, at both the state and regional levels essentially weaken equality policies. The main consequences of this were the following: (i) Difficulty in making significant advances for the achievement of real equality of women and men, as well as in the defense of women's rights and in the eradication of discrimination; (ii) The risk of incompliance by Basque public administrations with the mandate of Article 3.2 of the Amsterdam Treaty to integrate the objective of eliminating inequalities between women and men in all policies and actions; (iii) Difficulty in effective fulfillment of the commitments contained in the Beijing Platform for Action, particularly the strategic objectives collected in areas of institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women’s rights. This problem affected all citizens, since equality is a matter of human rights and a strategic element for good government and the social and economic development of peoples.


Solution: A strategic reflection by the Basque country was undertaken to solve the absence of legally binding policies on equality, and to determine better policies in assisting the citizens, especially women, and conform to the Amsterdam Treaty and Human Rights Principles. The proposed partnership of Emakunde-Basque Women's Institute promoted the process for the elaboration, approval and implementation of a new Basque law of equality between women and men. With the elaboration of the law project, Emakunde designed and led a process for the elaboration of a bill for its referral to the Basque Parliament. The most important objectives in this phase were to achieve the participation of civil society. The participation of the women's association movement was sought to achieve consensus with the departments of the Basque Government and all involved partners for transparency. Lastly, it was imperative that there be consensus of citizens for a law that promotes a solid legal basis for the defense of women's rights and the eradication of their discrimination, as well as the implementation of gender mainstreaming.


Impact: There was vast improvement in the administration language utilized by the Basque Government, making policies inclusive and equal. An assessment on gender equality in other regulations was carried out to ensure mainstreaming of the new law. Data and its collection have also improved significantly, considering sex and equality practices. Public contracts and subsidies now include equality clauses. It is important to highlight women enjoy more access to public employment, such as higher political positions and thus, providing more equal representation of women in government. There has also been a continuous, systematic and structured Basque public administration training.



Category 4:

Promoting Gender-Responsive Delivery of Public Services


Related SDGs: 










Europe, North America and Others Group


More information: 

Basque law for the equality of women and men

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