A feminist writer, Virginia Woolf rightly said women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size. This has been proved by Spain’s ‘wonder women’ cabinet. In Spain, the women outnumber men in the cabinet and they have taken up the biggest portfolios including defense, education, justice, energy and climate change, economy and finance etc.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez appointed 11 female cabinet members and 6 men, a historic cabinet indeed. He has described his government as feminist, progressive, pro-European and a loyal reflection of the best in the society that it aspires to serve.
Along Gender Lines
As per the UN January 2017 data that broke down governmental ministerial positions along gender lines, no country employed more than 52.9 percent women in these roles. Spain now has a greater percentage of women cabinet members than any other nation in the world. This is a big achievement for women throughout the world. More countries and leaders need to follow Spain’s example.
- The Changing Role of Women in Leadership
- Working-Class Woman are more Equal than Propertied, Educated and Rich Women: Feminist Activist Kamla Bhasin
- The Historical Narrative of International Women’s Day
Experts say that women have been typically elected young with no children or when their children were teenagers or had left home. Women should not be bounded and stereotyped to specific roles. Societies, the world over have been pushing women towards being feminine and ladylike. For far too long, women have been confined to the roles of nurturers, caretakers, and domestic. They have not been allowed to explore, grow and climb their career ladders.
Low Expectations for Women
The Inter-Parliamentary Union research states that women sell short their qualifications and perceive themselves differently than men who had nearly identical credentials. “Women were also likely to perceive campaigning as harder and were less likely to have anyone encourage them to pursue political office.” According to Harvard Kennedy School’s Women and Public Policy Program, talented women who would make effective public leaders are excluded from the pool of available candidates due to financial, social and legal barriers, to the detriment of their communities. Because of gendered behavioral expectations, women face different political challenges and opportunities than men. “When they perceive female politicians as power-seeking, voters react negatively with feelings of moral outrage.” Sadly, some norms inhibit women’s political participation.
More for Women
Spain’s historic cabinet has brought euphoria and expectations for other nations to empower its women in politics. The stereotyped thinking has to change. These challenges can be addressed through structural changes to political frameworks and social changes as to how we expect women and leaders to behave. This can give way to increasing women’s political aspirations.
Moreover, female role models in leadership positions help young girls to aspire to leadership. Mentorship, confidence building, media training and political campaign education are effective tools to increase young girls and women participation and efficacy despite structural obstacles.
The door of opportunities show is opened to more and more women.