The following article is an English translation of a manifesto written in Spanish and signed by a number of Spanish female professionals (actresses, journalists, entrepreneurs, translators, politicians…). Translated and published with explicit permission.
All of us present here (not just the undersigned) have something to say, just in case someone is willing to listen. Not as women: as individuals. Each of us has her own tastes, colors, reads, ages, songs. Just in case someone keeps claiming to speak on behalf of “women”. And this is what we came up with:
According to all international organizations’ statistics, the situation of Spanish women is among the best in the world; nonetheless, it can always improve. Currently, there are more women than men in college, school dropout is a male problem, and the female presence in fields like medicine, the judiciary system, high State Administration and the high-level politics is becoming more and more apparent.
However, in recent times, and parallel to the enforcement of the Spanish Gender Violence Act, we have seen, in the mainstream discourse, the installation of a way of thinking that presents women as victims of heteropatriarchy, of a sexist society, by default.
This is something that we consider to be harmful for the future expectations of any women, especially girls and young women, who need to know that nowadays, in this country, they can go as far as they are willing to. The obstacles to reaching women’s highest ambitions (at least those women who have such ambitions) can come from a strictly domestic area, where the State can’t intervene. The wage gap occurs between mothers and men, or between mothers and childless women. Balancing professional work and housework is something that concerns both mothers and fathers. Both of them are responsible for their children’s education, and for sharing housework as they see fit.
The number of victims of the so called “gender violence” has not improved after the law’s enforcement. In these ten years, there have been some ups and downs, but the number of fatal victims has not decreased significantly. That’s why we think it is necessary to thoroughly assess what has gone wrong, and why the expectations of the law have not been met. We think it is necessary to scientifically study the profile of both killers and victims, in order to legislate based on empirical data, and not on assumptions like the one that says that any of us could be a victim.
It’s worth recalling that in northern countries, the paradise of equality, there are more murders of women that in southern Europe’s societies. In addition, we can’t keep ignoring the number of men who have formed associations to denounce the abuse in the enforcement of the Gender Violence Act. If our society doesn’t fear the truth, we should investigate if there are fathers who have been robbed of a relationship with their children, due to a fraudulent application of the act. Investigation and assessment have always been the way towards progress.
Also, we rebel against the use of “women” as an expression of a monolithic block of thought, identical in their aspirations and complaints. We have seen such a strategy in nationalists, when they use “the Basque” or “the Catalan” in the same way. Women in Spain are free to choose a work day reduction when they become mothers, or if they prefer the father to be the one who requests it; free to breastfeed their babies for as long as they want, or to let the father feed the baby; free to aspire to an Ibex company, or to stay home; free to have children without marrying. They are free to choose degrees that lead to better-paid jobs, or to choose others with a more uncertain professional future.
Girls these days need to know that they are not victims; the future is in their hands. In 2015, Time magazine chose Angela Merkel as their “Man of the Year”. There are still less women than men in governments, but there have been women in power for quite a while now; three decades ago, Margaret Thatcher led a country as important as the United Kingdom. Two of the most important cities in Spain, Madrid and Barcelona, are currently led by women as Mayoress.
Our children need to know that they are incredibly lucky for being born in a country where women are respected, where girls will go as far as they want to. Because they already have done so. Because we already have female deans, female investigators, female politicians, female doctors, female lawyers, female best-seller writers, female diplomats, female journalists, female entrepreneurs and female judges, who have been fighting against corruption. Just like men.
There’s still a long way to go, and lots of negotiation to be held in individual homes where both members of a couple have professional aspirations. In Spain, we are free and equal in rights and duties to men. That doesn’t happen in a lot of countries. According to UNICEF, an estimated 133 million girls have suffered genital mutilation, especially in the Middle East and Africa. That’s not “male chauvinist terrorism”, that’s just something barbaric that is done in the name of an alleged cultural tradition. Women in Spain stopped being dependent of men, and became equal to them, 40 years ago. Many of those women could do without this paternalism. We are not born as victims.
Berta González de Vega, Gabriela Bustelo,Verónica Puertollano, Cristina Losada, Emilia Landaluce, Eva Díaz Pérez, Rosa Belmonte, Alejandra Ruiz-Hermosilla, Carmen Posadas María Jamardo, Cayetana Álvarez de Toledo, Beatriz Miranda, Elisa de la Nuez, Pilar García de la Granja, Carmen Garijo, Sagrario Álvarez, Silvia Castellanos Andrés, Carmen Lomana, Teresa Jiménez Barbat, Carmen Pascual González-Babé, Lucía Rodil, Mónica Lalanda, Silvia Moreno, Mariella Gambardella, María Victoria Martínez de Sagrera, Andrea Mármol, Lourdes Cano, Yolanda de Aguilar, Anita Noire, Aurora Pimentel, Yaiza Santos, María Benjumea, Marta Suárez Artidiello,Rosa Borrajo, Belén Rueda, Paula Fernández de Bobadilla, Ximena Maier, Berta Vias Mahou, Patricia Jacas, Isabel de Troya, Ana Borrajo, Magdalena Rueda, Magdalena Colodrón Denis, Nerea Liza, Mara C. Amor, María Moreno, Lulú Arias, Noemí Noguerol, Marcela Hinojosa, Cristina Serrano, María Fernanda Lozano, Patricia Rull, Alicia Guerrero Moreno, Teresa Borrajo, Raquel del Cid, Teresa Martín Gavilán, Blanca Corral, Aurora Jiménez, Olga Mendoza Antúnez, Noelia Losada Moreno, Elena Pueyo, Verónica Iglesias, Carmen Sánchez, Carmen Gil Ortiguez, Silvia Pérez del Caño, Elena Martínez-Segrera, Elena Postigo Solana, Rosa Ferreiro, Olga Rusu, Adriana de la Osa, Regina P. Muñoz.
- Los maricas están oficialmente fuera (del bando progresista) - November 16, 2016
- Sword and Glory – A game about male disposability - November 15, 2016
- Guía para dummies para que las adolescentes respeten a los chicos - November 14, 2016