“Diverging Paths on Gender Equality…”

in Spain and Italy:

As Stoat noted earlier, Spain’s cabinet is now over 50% female. Italy’s has 4 female ministers out of 21, and its Prime Minister has criticised Spain’s cabinet as “too pink”. Spain is also implementing tough new domestic violence laws, and trying to redress workplace inequalities. (The article, though, cites a 16 week maternity leave policy, paltry by European standards.) And,

No other modern, democratic, administration outside Scandinavia has taken more steps to place gender issues at the centre of government.

Hence the BBC headline used as title for this post. Of course, as Mr Jender notes, “the divergence is helped by the fact that one of the countries is run by a progressive and the other is run by a complete git.” But I must note that the article is guilty of quite a bit of gittery as well, describing the Italian ministries of education and equal opportunities as ‘lightweight roles’. And noting that all of the Italian female ministers are known mostly for their looks, supporting this by offering supposedly telling anecdotes and quotes, like the fact that their attractiveness is often commented upon, and the fact that one lists “collecting pens” as a hobby. (As a devoted watcher of Eurovision, I don’t think it’s appropriate to judge a person’s professional abilities by the ridiculousness of her hobbies.) While along the way mentioning in passing facts that hint at more impressive resumes, like being a lawyer. An article which presents itself as on the side of gender equality really shouldn’t uncritically accept the sexist judgment that all these women and their posts are lightweights.

2 thoughts on ““Diverging Paths on Gender Equality…”

  1. I’m reminded of a discussion that included a web page from Berkeley’s College of Engineering. It was about “the faces of Berkeley Engineering” and had both men’s and women’s faces, with their names and a very brief description. As it was pointed out, the men were identified by high professional achievement, the women by their hobbies.

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