Following the strike and mass protests seen nationwide during the International Women’s Day in March, left-wing parties are calling for women’s rights while conservative parties hit back at what they consider “radical feminism”. There have been real advances on key issues such as gender violence and the pay gap, but historical achievements such as legalized abortion may be affected by the rise in support for the far-right party Vox. The women’s vote could tip the balance in the Spanish general elections. Polls show that 60% of undecided voters in Spain are female. For the younger ones, this is the moment to mark a major change.
“I think there’s confusion with a lot of people who need to know what feminism is, ” said one young female voter.
“There’s a lot of talk about one out of every three girls killed have not reported any danger, but the other two have and nothing has been done,” said another young female voter. Many political parties have made the fight against gender inequality a central theme of their campaign.
Cristina Monge who is a political analyst in Barcelona said, “One of the reasons for the rise of the feminist movement in Spain is a wave of movements that began on the 15th of May and it gathered a society together to be more active and more involved in these movements, and people are making this a priority”. Sexism, wage and job inequalities are still present in Spanish society. Women in Spain earn 15.1% less than men, according to Eurostat. Hotel waitresses have been protesting every month to fight this inequality. Ángela Muñoz who is a hotel waitress from “Kellys organization” said, “Not only wage inequality, but specific jobs that make it seem like we’re subservient to them and that we’re working in exploitative conditions, that don’t look like they should be in the 21st century. There are women who are still scrubbing on their knees”.
Another of the main pending issues is the fight against gender violence. Condemnations have increased in the last year. The Ana Bella Foundation provides workshops to help women who’ve been victims of abuse.
Cristina Monge added, “The truth is, on the conservative side, it’s a little scary to see extreme right-wing proposals from parties such as Vox, questioning basic issues such as the right to abortion, something that’s already well established in Spanish society, and now it returns to public debate and questions women’s rights. Meanwhile, we have Citizens, who do not want to miss the movement on March the 8th and want to bet on the discourse of liberal feminism, which is something that generates a lot of controversy because from the theoretical and philosophical point of view it’s difficult to understand”.
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“The fact of having parity lists is somewhat anecdotal because it does not result in greater participation of women or the greater presence of women in positions of responsibility within each of the political parties,” said Monge.