Spain's Supreme Court annuls minimum height rule for women in police force as 'discriminatory'

The top court ruled that the National Police's 1.6-metre bar was much more difficult for women to reach than the 1.65-metre bar required for men


The Supreme Court in Spain has annulled the minimum height requirement of 1.60 metres for women wishing to apply to the National Police, considering that it is an "indirect discrimination".

In coming to its ruling the court considered statistics which show that 25 per cent of the Spanish female population does not reach a height of 1.60 metres, compared to only 3 per cent of Spanish men who do not exceed the National Police bar of 1.65 metres for male applicants.

The Supreme Court upheld the appeal of a woman who was excluded from the selection process in 2017 for entry into the National Police because she did not meet the minimum height requirement.

The appellant claimed that the percentage of women who did not reach the required height was much higher than that of men, so that only a minimum height of 1.54 metres for women would re-establish the necessary equality (she was excluded because she was 1.56 metres tall). For the applicant, the discrimination was a consequence of the fact that the limits set did not meet the current average height standards for men (1.74 metres) and women (1.63 metres) between the ages of 20 and 49.

The ruling also notes that other police forces require a minimum height below that required by the National Police force, such as the Guardia Civil where it is 1.60 metres for men and 1.55 metres for women.