Feminism and equality have emerged as key issues in recent months, spurred largely by the emergence of the far-right Vox party, which has attacked domestic violence legislation and railed against “feminist supremacy”.
This year will see another strike, as well as well as 1,400 rallies across the country. Spain’s socialist government, which came to power in June last year, has made improving equality a key aim. As he entered office, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez appointed 11 women and six men to his cabinet, saying his new government was “unmistakably committed to equality” and intended to reflect recent changes in Spanish society.
The cabinet has suspended all activity today - except for its weekly ministerial meeting - and eight ministers are due to join a protest in central Madrid this evening.
Feminism and equality have emerged as key issues in recent months, spurred largely by the emergence of the far-right Vox party, which has attacked domestic violence legislation and railed against “feminist supremacy”. Its influence has also served to drag the conservative People’s party (PP) further to the right in a bid to retain voters.
The PP’s leader, Pablo Casado, has recently spoken of revisiting Spain’s abortion laws to make terminations more difficult.
Neither Vox nor the PP will be taking part in today’s rallies. In an article for the conservative daily ABC, Vox’s leader in Madrid spelled out why.
“We don’t believe in gender laws, or quotas, nor in this feminist supremacy that seeks only privileges - not for women - but for a minority of opportunists and lobbies,” wrote Rocío Monasterio. “Nor do we accept that the organisers of this strike – who are nothing more than fronts for the big political parties – can claim to speak for all women. It’s an insult to our intelligence.”
Speaking on Thursday, Carmen Calvo, the deputy prime minister and equality minister, said it was fitting that the PP wouldn’t be taking part as “rightwing parties have never joined the struggle for equality”.
She added: “We are a feminist government that understands that in the 21st century, you can’y govern without looking at the specific problems faced by more than half the population.”