Monday 17 December 2018

Spain swears in world's most female-dominated cabinet

Spanish Minister for Economic Affairs Nadia Calviño (left) and Minister of Industry Reyes Maroto. Photo: Getty Images
Spanish Minister for Economic Affairs Nadia Calviño (left) and Minister of Industry Reyes Maroto. Photo: Getty Images

Hannah Strange

Spain has inaugurated the most female-dominated cabinet in the world, as 11 women and six men took their positions in Pedro Sánchez's new centre-Left government.

Mr Sánchez, who took power last week following a dramatic vote of no confidence in the government of Mariano Rajoy, was widely applauded for advancing equality with the appointments, which put female ministers in key portfolios such as the treasury and defence.

At almost 65pc female, the Spanish cabinet now leads the world in the proportion of women ministers.

Mr Sánchez acknowledged the political influence of the unprecedented strike on International Women's Day on March 8, when millions of Spanish women abandoned their workplaces and homes for the streets, describing it as a watershed moment for social progress.

After unveiling his cabinet, he said it was a government "committed to equality" that for the first time gave the weight of economic responsibility to women.

Thirteen ministers referred to the cabinet as the "Consejo de Ministras y Ministros" - putting the feminine form of the noun first instead of the traditional use of the masculine form for both genders.

"We greet the most feminist government in the world," said the Madrid-based organisation, the Communication and Gender Agency.

"If you doubt their credentials, check their CVs. And now let them work."

Among the appointees are María Jesús Montero, the new head of the treasury, Margarita Robles at the defence ministry, Dolores Delgado as minister of justice and Carmen Calvo, who, as well as her roles as vice-president of the government and minister for equality will also oversee parliamentary relations.

Brussels has been particularly pleased with the selection of Nadia Calviño, the European Commission's director general for budgets, to head the ministry of economic affairs.

She is regarded as one of several appointments designed to reassure Europe over the new administration, which won power in a lightening assault on the Rajoy government but must rule with the smallest minority since Spain's transition to democracy in 1978.

The choice of Josep Borrell, a former president of the European Parliament who in recent years has taken a hardline stance against the Catalan independence movement, has also been lauded in Brussels.

© Daily Telegraph, London

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