For the first time in European history a nation is being led by more female politicians than male. The new Spanish cabnet sworn in by socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, has nine women alongside eight males including Spain’s first female Defense Minister. Spain is the nation whose exaggerated adherence to masculine values added the word, “machismo” to the English language. Under the dictatorial regime of General Francisco Franco, women couldn’t even open a bank account or sign a contract without permission of their husband. The idea a woman could serve in the armed forces was unheard of in Franco’s Spain, but today they constitute 20% of all members of the miltiary. The Conservative daily newspaper, El Mundo, was furious at what it termed, “an exercise in political marketing” that offended the values and traditions of the Spanish military by subjecting its members to be led by a woman!
Prime Minister Zaptero pushed through legislation which prohibits more than 60% of the candidates of any political party from being male or female. As he once described himself, “I am not only anti-machoist, I am a feminist. The most unfair domination is that of one half of humanity over the other. The more equality women will have, the more civilised and tolerant society will be.” Actually, the concept of female political equality is even more engrained in Scandinavian nations where the idea of ‘every second seat” being held by a woman is now accepted practice.
Ironically, America which claims to be a leader in democracy has fallen way behind other nations in terms of female political equality. Ity is doubtful if such legislation as that proposed by Zaptero would ever be accepted by the United States Congress.