Why this story matters:
The wave of support for feminism that has been sweeping through Spain of late has just reached the central government.
Pedro Sánchez, of the Socialist Party, who became prime minister after ousting the conservative Mariano Rajoy via a no-confidence motion in Congress, has created a government with 11 women in key ministerial roles.
For the first time in history, female ministers are a majority.
This is a milestone not only for Spain, but also for all of Europe and the world. What’s more, the female ministers, all of whom have very impressive track records, will take charge of key ministries in Sánchez’s government, serving as deputy prime minister, and the heads of the Economy, Defense and Treasury ministries.
The appointments have received some criticism but mostly have been met with great hope and pride by a society that, after the mass women’s march on March 8, is increasingly more aware of the importance of eradicating gender inequality. Sánchez’s decision is also a way of winning over women’s votes and sending a message to Europe that Spain will once again be a model of feminism and the fight for women’s and civil rights, just like it was 15 years ago when it approved the pioneering Equality Law (which recommended gender parity in all institutions and other measures to correct the gender imbalance), or the 2004 law against gender violence.
Details from the story:
- Sánchez has appointed 11 women to the 17 Cabinet positions (64.7% women, 61% counting Sánchez)
- Spain has become the country with most women in government, overtaking the 2007 Finnish executive of Vanhanen.
- The deputy prime minister, Carmen Calvo, will also be responsible for Equality -- a way of giving the issue more importance.
- In the new government, all policies will be drafted with an outlook of gender: agreements, contracts, budgets, laws, etc.
- The new government also features a number of high-profile appointments such as astronaut Pedro Duque, who will be Spain’s new science minister.
- The law that sets out gender quotas in government legislatures (passed in 2007) has seen the proportion of women in Congress reach nearly 40%, as other countries like Belgium, acording to European Institute of Gender Equality (EIGE).