From Bibiana Aído to Irene Montero: the history of the disputes over the Ministry of Equality

On April 30, 2004, the socialist Government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero appointed for the first time to a specific Equality position. He was Soledad Murillo, General Secretary of Equality Policies. Four years later, the PSOE created for the first time a Ministry of Equalitywith Bibiana Aido in front. Since then, the very existence of the Ministry and its ownership have generated different relevant disputes.

Socialist sources present at that time highlight that in Zapatero’s first term, the creation of a specific Ministry of Equality was already proposed. The reasons were that the issues in this area They had no visibility or presence in the Council of Ministers. Not everyone in the PSOE was in favor of the work of this structuring, the same sources recall.

Zapatero finally created the Ministry in 2008, at the beginning of his second term. “The attacks were virulent. We were targets just for existing. The mere creation of the Ministry greatly irritated the patriarchy and all its spokespersons,” Aído herself explained to Public in an interview conducted in February of this year.

During Zapatero’s first stage, laws as relevant as the Law against Gender Violence and the Law of Effective Equality between Men and Womenpioneers in this topic in our country.

Already with Aído as minister, in 2010, it was promoted the abortion deadline law, strongly criticized by the right, like practically everything that came out of that Ministry. It was not until this year that the Constitutional Court rejected the appeal filed at that time by the PP.

The Ministry of Equality only lasted two years. In 2010, Zapatero decided to integrate equality policies into the Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality, directed by Leire Pajín. Aído continued in this department as Secretary of State for Equality. The minister herself, according to PSOE sources, found out about the remodeling on a television program. Zapatero gave in to pressure, according to the same sources.

Rajoy and Sánchez

With the arrival of the PP and Mariano Rajoy to the Government, Equality remained integrated into the same Ministry. Of course, its functions were diluted even more because the single Secretary of State became Secretary of State for Social Affairs and Equality.

Following the motion of censure of the current acting President of the Government, Pedro Sanchez, against Rajoy in 2018, Equality moved again. The PSOE decided to integrate Equality into the Ministry of the Presidency that it then led Carmen Calvo. There was also a Secretary of State for Equality, who was once again the aforementioned Murillo. Visibility was raised a little more compared to the PP stage.

The arrival of Unidas Podemos to the Government

Just ten years after its disappearance as its own Ministry, the coalition pact between PSOE and Unidas Podemos led to the recovery of its own ministerial entity. Calvo gave the portfolio to Irene Monteronot without a strong internal debate in the socialist ranks, who did not want it to fall into the hands of their partners.

Montero’s stage has really been the most visible of this Ministry. It has lasted an entire legislature, not Aido’s. The socialists have maintained a series of important tensions due to some issues carried out this legislature, especially the trans law or the law of only yes is yes.

Likewise, both Montero and other members of the Ministry have been the target of the anger and insults of the political and media right.

In the PSOE they have been trying for some time to dispute the feminist flag to Unidas Podemos. And in this sense they want to recover the Ministry of Equality, according to socialist sources. Although the hypothetical future Government that PSOE and Sumar are already negotiating will be smaller in number of ministries, there is no doubt that it will continue.

Faced with the elimination of many municipal and regional Equality councils or departments by PP and Voxthe socialists are committed to giving a strong entity to this matter.

The party is no stranger to the pools that move to elect the minister. Everything is still up in the air, taking into account that there is not even a Government agreement. The challenge of the PSOE is to search a profile that does not generate internal tensions in the feminist sectors of their training. A division that has already been glimpsed during this legislature and that Sánchez does not want to go through again.

Speculation is already beginning in Ferraz. “We must look for a figure of consensus,” says a socialist leader in this regard. There are those who look precisely at municipal or regional positions who have been evicted from their duties after March 28. Other sources point to the current Secretary of Equality, Andrea Fernandez, as a “logical” movement. But not everyone believes that she should be the chosen one.

Sumar and Irene Montero

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Equality has also generated strong disputes in the space of Unidas Podemos, now Sumar. Podemos, with Ione Belarra at the helm, have been openly demanding for weeks that it be Montero and his entire team who continue to lead the Ministry after not being on the electoral lists for 23J, which the purples denounce as a “veto.”

An option that seems very complicated, if not impossible, both due to the position of the PSOE and that of Sumar. Podemos has conveyed this request in writing but has not received a response.

At Sumar, although they officially highlight that they are not yet talking about ministries, they want to maintain a distribution for their space similar to the current one. The Ministry of Equality is also in its plans. In any case, it remains to be determined whether those of Yolanda Diaz They will make a battlefield on this issue, whether they will put it as a red line in the negotiations or other departments will take precedence.

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