21 April 2008

Jose Zapatero, Prime Minister and feminist

Kudos for Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero. Following his success over his conservative opponents in the recent election, he has appointed a new cabinet and, for the first time in Spanish history, it has a majority of women. Zapataro's cabinet is consistent with his promise to make women's issues his priority in this term. The new spirit was illustrated in mass media around the world with a photograph of a magnificently pregnant Defence Minister Carme Chacon inspecting her troops.

Prime Minister Zapatero, who proudly refers to himself as a feminist, is following the precedent of gender reforms set in his first term when his government legalized same-sex marriage, brought in fast-track divorces and passed laws to tackle domestic violence and promote gender equality, including a bill that required some companies to employ 40 per cent women in top positions.

Who would have thought a very macho Mediterranean country would become a leader in bringing equality to women. With the Canadian federal cabinet including a measly 22 per cent women, Spain clearly has something to teach us.

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