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Women's rights groups protest against Andalusia government in Seville, Spain, on January 15, 2019. (REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo)
Women's rights groups protest against Andalusia government in Seville, Spain, on January 15, 2019. (REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo)

‘Here to stay’

Spain’s political parties compete for the feminist vote, pushing women’s rights to the forefront

By WITW Staff on March 6, 2019

Nearly a year after 5 million women in Spain went on strike for International Women’s Day, the country’s political parties — liberal and conservative alike — are competing fiercely for the feminist vote.

On Friday, the ruling Socialist party approved a number of initiatives sought by women’s rights activists, including more generous paternity leave and more transparency around the gender pay gap. The party has also worked to elevate more women to positions of power — Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s cabinet boasts the more female ministers than any other in the country’s history.

Not to be outdone, on Sunday the center-right party Ciudadanos released a manifesto for “liberal feminism” that that aims to encourage gender equality, albeit in a way that “doesn’t exclude men.” Members of the conservative Popular Party (PP), such as outgoing parliament speaker Ana Pastor, have also positioned themselves as advocates for women’s rights — despite attacks by PP leader Pablo Cascado on women who obtain abortions.

“Let’s not let them speak in our name,” said Pastor of the left-wing political parties in a PP campaign video. Her party, she emphasized, has pledged to reduce the gender pay gap and help more women enter the workforce.

“That’s tangible proof that feminism is here to stay, and sells,” said Cristina Monge, a sociology professor at the University of Zaragoza. “Many right-wing people … won’t tolerate that their party oppose it.”

Despite growing support for feminism across party lines, there has been pushback. The far-right Vox party has moved to oppose a law against gender violence, calling it “discriminatory” against men, while an ultra-conservative Catholic association called HazteOir has made headlines by driving around the country in a chartered bus and comparing feminists to Nazis.

Nonetheless, support for women’s rights activism in Spain is high. According to a recent survey, 77 percent of respondents said they would support a women’s strike to mark this year’s International Women’s Day on March 8.

Read the full story at MSN.

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