The gender pay gap in Spain has widened over five years, increasing by 3.2 percent in 2013, up from 16.1 percent in 2008, EU statistics agency Eurostat said on Thursday.
The new data will be an embarrassment for Spain ahead of International Women's Day on Sunday.
It takes Spain above the EU average of 16.4 percent and goes against the European trend towards greater equality.
Germany registered one of the worst pay gaps, which fell slightly to 21.6 percent in 2013, while the figure also topped 20 percent in Estonia, Austria and the Czech Republic.
The best place in Europe for working women is Slovenia, with a 3.2 percent gap, but no EU country has achieved full gender pay equality.
The disparity in hiring in Spain was below the EU average of 11.6 percent with some 53.8 percent of women employed compared to 62.4 percent of men.
But women in Spain are less likely to have full-time jobs than men, with 25 percent of working women having a part-time position compared to 7.5 percent of men.
Female employees also see themselves in lower-level jobs, with women holding 31 percent of managerial positions despite taking 46 percent of total employment.
Times have changed since Spain’s transition to democracy on the death of fascist dictator General Francisco Franco and women with women taking a lead in politics.
When socialist prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero swept to power in 2004, he insisted he was “a feminist” and by the time he left office eight years later he had installed nine women in a cabinet of 17.
Mariano Rajoy currently has only four women appointed in a cabinet of 13.
Although there has yet to be a Spanish prime minister, the next monarch of Spain will undoubtedly be a Queen: The heir to the throne is the nine-year-old Infanta Leonor.