This week I wanted to dedicate blog posts towards exploring gender equality. Due to the recent terrorist attacks, I feel compelled to bring Spain to the forefront of the discussion. This is because Spain has changed my life in more ways that I can even describe in just one blog post!
During college and after, I moved to two different cities in Spain (Granada and Madrid) and each time I go, I come back a different person. I will actually be there in less than two weeks and I can already foresee that it will do this to me again. In short, it is a place where I have grown as a person, and has made me the person I am today. The attacks in Barcelona today were devastating and due to my time living in the country, they pained me to read about them.
Part of the reason why I have always loved Spain is that they always seemed so progressive with their laws – did you know that it was one of the first countries to legalize gay marriage? Or that it is regarded as the most friendly country towards transgender people? When you visit these cities now, it seems as though the people they are spewing with love towards one another.
When it comes to women’s rights, Spain has room for improvement. As this article points out, a wage gap still exists in Spain (though better than Europe as a whole), domestic violence rates are still high (2014 legislation sought to change this), and women are still sometimes viewed as the “weaker sex.” However, that article also points out that their fascist dictator Francisco Franco died in 1975, which is then when Spain became a democracy. Today, more than half of parliament in Spain consists of women!
Having representation in government is just one of Spain’s achievements. They also have one of the best maternity leave policies (16 weeks, 100% paid time off). This is completely refreshing when you live in a country that has no paid maternity leave.
For a country that became a democracy such a short time ago, I think Spain has made tremendous strides towards equality. From speaking to Spanish friends, the country as a whole seems to be aware of its weaknesses, and hyperaware of political corruption. What happened to the beautiful city of Barcelona was pure evil, but I have no doubt that they will continue to be a unified group of people, continuing to improve their policies.