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Girls & Women

Spain's New Female-Majority Cabinet Just Made Herstory

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Spain welcomed a new prime minister over the weekend and, with him, a trailblazing cabinet.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced his picks at a press conference on Wednesday, naming 11 women for key positions in his 17-member cabinet and setting a new record, the Guardian reported. On Thursday morning, the historic administration was sworn in by King Felipe VI.

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Sánchez’s cabinet exceeds the previous record for female representation among Spain’s government leaders set by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero cabinet — in which women held nine of the 17 senior posts — in 2008. With women holding 65% of the positions, Sánchez’s cabinet also far outpaces that of his ousted predecessor Mariano Rajoy, which had just five women, in the race toward gender equality in Spanish politics.

In fact, according to Politico, Spain’s new cabinet has the highest proportion of women among Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) members, beating out Finland, which previously held the record with women making up 62.5% of its cabinet. However, Sweden still boasts the most women in its cabinet, among European countries, with 12 positions held by women and 11 filled by men. 

Read more: Women Across the US Made History in Tuesday Night's Primary Elections

"This new government is unequivocally committed to equality,” Sánchez said on Wednesday. “You have heard me say it many times: Spain changed on March 8,” he said, pointing to the nationwide women’s strike on International Women’s Day as the catalyst for Spain’s recent effort to tackle gender inequality.

“There was a before and an after in our country with the feminist mobilizations, and the new government is a faithful reflection of that movement," Sánchez said. The cabinet has been warmly received on social media and many are praising the country’s move toward establishing gender equality.

“Thank you @sanchezcastejon for a government that best on a diverse and European Spain, moving away from ‘cheap’ populism, that mixes the talent and dreams of many, and above all pilots this unstoppable women-led revolution,” one tweet in Spanish read.

“It’s our time. Finally, a government that recognizes the value of women. Even the newspaper @elpais_espana has appointed a woman as Director: Soledad Gallego-Diaz. Power to women!” another tweeted.

The new cabinet also includes former astronaut Pedro Duque, journalist and writer Màxim Huerta, and openly gay judge and LGBTQ activist Fernando Grade Marlaska.

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