Region: Greater Middle East
- |El País - Madrid |
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- Spain's parliament leads Europe in gender-equality despite rise of far right
- Spain’s new parliament, sworn in on Tuesday, has the largest share of women in any European legislature, no small achievement for a country still reinventing itself four decades after the end of a right-wing, traditionalist dictatorship. Women’s rights have been prominent in the political debate for over a decade and remain controversial, to the point where the far-right Vox party entered the assembly for the first time on a platform that seeks to reverse some equality laws. Many argue that male attitudes - and the law - still have a long way to go, citing an infamous case in which four men calling themselves “The Wolf Pack” were convicted last year of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman, but cleared of rape because of a lack of physical violence. Still, even Vox, which harks back to Spain’s dictatorship-era conservative morality, counts nine women among its 24 legislators. At 47%, or 165 of 350 seats, Spain has a bigger proportion of female lawmakers than even Sweden, which has a far longer history of promoting gender equality. Even the previous share, 39%, had put the European Union’s average of 30% in the shade. Globally, only Rwanda, Cuba, Bolivia and Mexico have higher female representation, according to World Bank data.