When I think gender politics in Italy and Spain I used to think about the times friends and I were wolf-whistled when travelling as tourists when younger. Now I have reason to rejoice that there has to be be more to those countries than great food, beautiful architecture and rampant misogyny. Both Spain and Italy put Britain to shame with the number of women they have in high ranking political roles.
As pointed out by The Times "Gordon Brown’s Cabinet has only six women out of 23, barely an improvement on Tony Blair’s first Cabinet in 1997. True, Brown made Jacqui Smith the first female Home Secretary. But the pace of change here still feels slower than a marathon runner shuffling along in an elephant suit. Britain is fifth bottom of the EU league when it comes to women’s representation in Parliament. Just 19.5 per cent of our MPs are female, compared with nearly half in Scandinavian countries and more than 30 per cent in Spain, Belgium, Austria and Germany. If Spain, the father of machismo, can throw off centuries of tradition by having a Prime Minister who declares himself a feminist appointing a seven-months pregnant woman as Defence Secretary, then surely the British political classes should be feeling a little abashed." Read the full article here.