April 22, 2004

At least one country in the world ...

... thinks that the lack of women in high government offices is a serious problem that needs to be addressed — and then puts actions behind its words.

Check out this article about the increased role of women in the new socialist government of Spain. Of the sixteen ministers in Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's cabinet, eight of them are women. Zapatero also appointed Spain's first female vice president, and has promised to amend the Spanish constitution so that women will be equally eligible to assume the crown.

Women also hold more than one-third of the seats in the Spanish congress.

Mona Krook, who is researching gender quotas in the European Union at Columbia University, notes that a European directive to fix gender quotas first came from the Socialist International in the late 1980s, and was adopted by the Spanish Socialist Party soon after. "The whole demand to have equal numbers of women in Spanish politics," she explains, "is very much connected to the Socialist Party."

Although gender parity is voluntary in Spain - not legislated, as it is in France and Belgium - Spain now ranks with some of the most historically progressive European governments, like Sweden and Finland, in its representation of women.

Ms. Krook attributes this transformation to Spain's recent history, and particularly its evolution from a dictatorship to a democracy. "You see this in a lot of countries that go through a transition to democracy," she explains. "In that context, you start talking about how to include more people."

Via Christian Science Monitor.

Posted by Magpie at April 22, 2004 05:01 AM | International | Technorati links |

Two countries -- after its election win the South African ANC has appointed women to four of the seven provincial premierships that it solidly controls. (The other two entail making deals with right-wing coalition partners, hence are more likely to have male premiers.)

We weren't mad keen on the Iraq war, either.

Posted by: MFB at April 22, 2004 08:53 AM