Thursday, July 7

Lights, shadows and concessions to Vox: X-ray of equality policies in Andalusia with PP and Ciudadanos

“With F for feminism” was one of the ‘claims’ of the last institutional campaign on February 28 for the Day of Andalusia. “That ‘F’ has cost a lot”, confessed the Minister of Equality of the Board, Rocío Ruiz, in an interview with Andalucía a few days after the event. The word “Feminism” does not appear in the electoral programs of the parties of the Government of the Board (PP and Ciudadanos), nor did it appear in their 2018 programs. The orange party finally fell for this legislature with the competences in matters of Women and Equality , at the head of which Ruiz has been during these three and a half years. She has known how to deal with the successive requests for resignation from Vox and, far from it in the same sense as Macarena Olona talks about “man as a complement”has even spearheaded an official position alongside the “brave” men who fight for real equality through a “new” political agenda centered on in egalitarian masculinities.

The Junta de Andalucía allies itself with the “brave” men for equality: “You are no longer going to preach in the desert”

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“It started off on the wrong foot”

The management of equality and women’s policies has been advancing during these three and a half years to the point that it seems that the legislature has fallen short of Ruiz. He has been maintaining it internally in recent months, when the electoral advance was almost a fact. In November, in fact, announced that three strategic plans on Equality, Gender Violence and Trafficking for Exploitative Purposes would see the light of day in the following months, as they have been. “It started off on the wrong foot, I guess because of the pressures it could have, but it has gotten better by changing its attitude and has wanted to be our ally in recent months,” says Andrea Barbotta, vice president of the Andalusian Council for Women’s Participation (CAPM ) on behalf of the Association of Feminist Women Taking Party, who speaks of “progress and setbacks” in the matter during the Government of PP and Citizens. “A legislature with some light and many shadows,” says a woman with knowledge of the cause in equality issues from the first opposition party, the socialist Soledad Pérez, who highlights the “ability” of the counselor to “wash away the shame of the PP with Vox”.

With a “firm determination to put an end to sexist violence” and a resounding condemnation in each murder, President Moreno has failed to fulfill one of the electoral bets with which it was presented in 2018: an Andalusian Pact against Gender Violence in Andalusia. The Governing Council knows periodically, through the Ministry of Equality, the monitoring report of the state law against gender violence where compliance, development and application of the norm is analyzed. “Our priority is to eradicate sexist violence,” says his electoral program in the section on equality policies. “The policies against gender violence have been free for the Board, because they have been made with money from the Government of Spain,” says Soledad Pérez.

The truth is that, from the first day of the legislature, the Andalusian Government has had to deal with the denialist policy defended by Vox, a shadow partner for the approval of the annual budgets and to whom the Board granted the creation of the domestic violence hotline, a concept that is part of the usual discourse of those of Santiago Abascal and that some prominent member of the Board has assumed, such as the Minister of Health and Families. “The Board has done one and the opposite,” recalls Deputy Soledad Pérez in this regard.

Barbotta, for her part, denounces that both this telephone number, which aims to “make invisible” other existing ones for the care of female victims, or the Vox motion to eliminate inclusive language from Andalusian textbooks, approved last year, or the subsidy in 2020 of one million euros of aid for anti-abortion associations, due to the “strangulation” of women and women’s associations derived from the first budget agreement of PP-Cs-Vox of june 2019. “Everything is directly related,” he points out, although in that agreement there was only an explicit mention of the field of equality, relating precisely to pro-life associations (“help and advice for pregnant Spanish women who do not want to abort”), and another to the aforementioned domestic violence telephone number.

The vice president of the CAPM, among the “setbacks” in this time, recalls that the Plenary of the Council took “year and a half” to meet and that many associations “stopped working” due to the 2019 call for grants. “We have had to put up with being put in the same bag as the ‘chiringuitos’ when they don’t know that we work with finalist projects, which do not provide any economic benefit to women’s associations. She recalls that, despite the counselor’s support, at least in the last stage, “Ciudadanos is a party that has supported some issues” such as those mentioned above “and that they are questioning things that we had more than assumed.” “You cannot pretend that nothing is happening, nor can it be ignored, because it comes to light, people listen to it, it transcends, they question themselves,” she points out.

New protocols against sexist violence

The Andalusian Institute for Women (IAM), which since 2019 has had a specific unit for comprehensive care for women victims of gender-based violence, defends that Andalusia has improved care for victims with ten new protocols that promote cooperation between institutions, administrations and social agents, although it does not contemplate in principle a proposal from Ciudadanos in 2018 to attend to victims of sexist violence who withdraw a complaint in this regard. Also, the Women’s Information Telephone “It has multiplied by 10” its budget since the beginning of the legislature, with an investment of more than 1.4 million euros. “In 2018 the budget was 103,000 euros and it was a mere referral from Salud Responde”, they recognize from the IAM.

The Board has also just approved the decree that regulates the municipal centers for women, which provides for both co-financing for the maintenance of the 180 existing centers and the creation of new spaces. It is also recently approved, coinciding with the International Women’s Day last 8M, the Strategic Plan for the Equality of Women and Men in Andalusia for the period 2022-2028, which has the ultimate goal of “achieving parity democracy and the full incorporation of women in order to overcome any social, political, economic or labor discrimination.” And now that the PSOE’s state law on prostitution has taken its first step with the support of the PP and the divided vote of United We Can, in November the Board approved the Andalusian Strategy against Trafficking in Women and Girls for Sexual Exploitation 2021-2024whose design has had the participation of more than 40 organizations and entities, including the 11 ministries of the Board.

The network of 34 reception centers in Andalusia, on the other hand and according to the IAM, has gone from having a staff of 133 professionals to having a technical team made up of a total of 225 people, which represents an increase of more than 69%. . “We will guarantee all women victims of sexist violence who are at risk an alternative accommodation to their usual home,” Rocío Ruiz’s party promised in 2018.

For Soledad Pérez, the legislature could have been “the one that promoted” equality policies after laws such as Equality were unanimously approved in 2018. “The prospects were great” but turned into a “huge disappointment,” she says. “Without totally dismantling equality policies, which are well established in Andalusia, the Junta has not taken courageous, transformative and revolutionary steps. There has only been one campaign against gender violence [en 2019] and it was so white that not even Vox criticized it. And the opportunity of the State Pact against Gender Violence has brought 60 million invisible, because nobody knows what added effort has been made by the Board.

“Zero sum,” insists Pérez, who also comments how “Vox’s support” has served to “remove the leadership and recognition they had from feminist associations, calling them beach bars. And Moreno, who chairs the CAPM, has not said anything with complicit silence. The PSOE spokesperson on the matter offers a “detail”: “the Board has not made use of the sanctioning regime provided for by the 2018 Equality Law.” “It is not that he has not sanctioned anything or anyone, it is that he has not even opened any file and that possibility has been kept in a drawer. They bet on the equality that comes out for free, the one that has no reproach”.

Programs of yesterday and today

According to the balance that the IAM has provided to this newspaper, instead “specific programs and actions aimed at women victims of gender violence to facilitate access to employment and improve employability” have not been established, a promise of the PP that was committed to a ‘specific program of incentives for the employment of women victims of gender violence’. I asked for it in 2016proposed it in 2018, but there is no information about it.

While the pay gap remains a reality in Andalusia and in Spain, beyond the IAM annual campaigns little is known about the ‘Specific Program against Salary Discrimination of Andalusian Women’ with which the PP was presented in the previous elections or about those announced “mechanisms that guarantee equal pay between men and women and non-discrimination in employment” . Ciudadanos also promised in 2018 that it would work “to reduce the wage gap between women and men.”

Regarding the committed improvement of opportunities for rural women and their incorporation into agricultural activity, from this march The II Sectorial Plan for Equal Opportunities between women and men in agricultural, fishing and environmental activity in Andalusia-Horizon 2027 is submitted to public information.

On the other hand, in terms of the specific proposals of the PP before entering to govern the Board, the promised Comprehensive Plan for Women in Sport has not been executed, nor has the Andalusian Women’s Sports Week been held, for which in his new program he bets again. Nor has there been a shock plan against female unemployment, nor the Support Plan for Women Entrepreneurs, nor has greater protection and training actions aimed at domestic workers and caregivers been specified.

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