In Spain's new 17-member Cabinet under Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, 11 ministers are women
When hundreds of thousands of women in Spain took to the streets on International Womenâs Day to demand equal rights, Pedro Sanchez saw the moment as a turning point.
âAfter March 8, Spain changed,â Sanchez, secretary-general of the Spanish Socialist Workersâ Party, said later in a televised interview. âWomen went out to claim their role and their power of transformation to construct a society that has to have as a principle value gender equality.âAdvertisement
On Thursday, Sanchez, as the countryâs new prime minister, saw a 17-member Cabinet take office that consisted of 11 women and six men. Women hold key posts such as deputy prime minister, economic minister and justice minister.
Sanchez said the appointments marked the first time since Spain returned to a democratic system in the late 1970s that t he Cabinet included more women than men. The country had been run for decades by dictator Gen. Francisco Franco, who died in 1975, and in recent years saw varying numbers of women in Cabinet posts.
âThe government of Spain seeks to be a faithful reflection of the society that we hope to serve,â Sanchez said during a news conference Wednesday night. âThe new government is born with the objective of serving the modernization of Spain, to make it grow in a sustainable way and regenerate the public life of our country.â
The new Cabinet includes Carmen Calvo, a former culture minister, as deputy prime minister and human rights prosecutor Dolores Delgado as justice minister. The new economy minister, Nadia Calvino, has been the European Commissionâs director-general for the budget for several years. Spain has the fourth largest economy in the European Union.
Sanchez, who lacks a majority in parliament, came to power last week after successfully leading a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. The Rajoy government had faced a major political crisis tied to Catalonia's independence movement and a corruption scandal.
For the seven years he was in power, Rajoy, of the Popular Party, kept his Cabinet composition at about a third women. The Cabinet of Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero hovered near gender parity between 2004 and 2011, while the Cabinet of the Popular Partyâs Jose Aznar ranged from 13% to 30% women between 1996 and 2004.
The announcement of the new Cabinet comes as women in Spain are pushing for greater representation in government and an end to gender-based violence. It was formed the same week journalist Soledad Gallego became the first woman to be top editor of El Pais, Spainâs largest circulation daily newspaper.
Journalists, academics and commentators took to social media to express their optim ism for the historic Cabinet.
âThere isthis feeling of almost euphoria, because itâs such a big change from what we had before,â journalist Marilin Gonzalo, who helped lead a movement to protest sexism in Spanish media, said in an interview Thursday.
âAMAZING! WHAT GREAT NEWS!â wrote Spanish author Laura Freixas on Twitter.
âIn ten days, we have changed the government. We have women Ministers in positions like Justice, Interior, Economy,â tweeted sociologist Soledad Murillo, who was Spainâs secretary-general of equality and a member of the United Nationsâ Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. âAnd if that werenât enough, Sol Gallego is director of El Pais. CONGRATULATIONS to those who have fought to democratize public space, thanks to #feminismo.â
Some, however, warned that the government had yet to prove itself as a champion of women.
âThis government, at the moment â¦ has a women majority, there are also ministers who are well-known feminists,â wrote journalist Ana Aguilar on Twitter. âAll of this is important and remarkable. But I would not say this government is feminist. It will be if its policies are feminist.â
The Socialist party is generally seen as a defender of womenâs rights. In 2004, under Zapatero, the government passed a law protecting victims of sexual and gender-based violence. In 2007, the Zapatero government passed an âEquality Lawâ requiring political parties to field female candidates in at least 40% of the seats they contest.Advertisement
Gonzalo, the journalist, said Spain, like many countries, has a culture that favors men.
She pointed to a recent survey about sexual assault that shows 40% of male respondents believe that workplace sexual harassment will stop if women âsimply ask.â The survey, created by a state-run delegation on gender-based violence , showed that 34% of male respondents believe women exaggerate the gender-based violence.
Sexual violence has dominated Spanish headlines this year, with a high-profile case alleging an 18-year-old woman was raped by five men at the 2016 running of the bulls festival. In late April, a judge convicted the men of sexually abusing the woman, not raping her, sparking outrage among feminist groups.
While the Socialist government still has to prove its feminism with policy, Gonzalo said, at least the Cabinet is a start.Source: Google News Spain | Netizen 24 Spain