The Spanish Supreme Court has condemned a ‘discriminatory’ rule that prevented shorter women from joining the country’s police force.
Candidates for the Spanish National Police must meet height requirements, among other qualifications. Women must be at least 1.60 metres tall, and men at least 1.65 metres. Women currently account for just 14.8% of the Spanish police.
A prospective female police officer filed a complaint to the court after her job application was rejected in 2017 for being six centimetres too short.
The woman plaintiff, who measured 1.54 metres, complained that the requirements were more favourable for men because only 3% of the male population don’t meet the requirement. For women, 25% of the population are not that height.
The Spanish Supreme Court said in a statement published on Monday that simply setting different height differences for men and women was not enough. The rules must take into account the average height for each sex in the Spanish population, the judges ruled.
Judges added that the National Police had not justified its height requirements for candidates.
‘Within the police structure, there are many functions that require no special physical condition and even less a tall stature,’ the court said.
The average height of Spanish men is 1.74 metres and for women is 1.63 metres, for those between 20 and 49 years of age, according to court documents.
The Spanish National Police have been ordered to employ the female candidate, provided she passes her exams, and to pay her the same salary as other women who joined in 2017.