There is a social welfare system, introduced in 1966 for public employees and expanded in 1968 to cover the entire population. Programs include old-age, disability, and survivors' pensions, health and maternity coverage, and workers' compensation.
There is no legal discrimination against women, although they have only enjoyed full suffrage since 1970 and play only a very minimal role in the country's government. Women's rights advocates have reported that pregnant women frequently lose their jobs. There is no governmental department specifically designated to address women's issues, but in 2001 a Secretariat of State for the Family was created. Children's welfare is promoted by the government.
The constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of birth, race, sex, origin, religion, or any other personal or social condition. Foreign nationals, primarily from Spain, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom, account for over 40% of the population. While accorded the same rights and freedoms as citizens, foreigners lack access to some of the social benefits provided by law. Recent legislation has improved living conditions for immigrant workers, but many still have only temporary work permits and face deportation of they lost their jobs.
The rights of freedom of speech, press, peaceful assembly, religion, and movement are provided by the constitution and are respected in practice.