Spain: Madrid IWD fun run for equality tainted by local mayor’s apron and nail file handouts
London ~ Monday 10 March 2014
Mayor in Madrid accused of chauvinism over aprons and nail files at fun run
Juan Soler condemned for spending public money on machista gifts for participants in International Women's Day race By Ashifa Kassam in Madrid
As gifts, nail files and aprons 'perpetuate the stereotype that women belong in the home', says the Socialist party's Carmen Toledano. (Graham Turner for the Guardian)
A local mayor in Madrid has been lambasted after handing out aprons and nail files to participants in a race for equality on International Women's Day.
Juan Soler, a member of the ruling People's party (PP), gave out the items at an event in Getafe, a city in Madrid's metropolitan area.
The gifts were "intentionally machista [chauvinistic]", said the Socialist party's Carmen Toledano. She condemned the mayor of Getafe for spending public money on items that "perpetuate the stereotype that women belong in the home" rather than on programmes aimed at improving women's conditions and job opportunities.
Toledano also noted that a recent EU report found the pay gap between men and women in Spain was 17.8%, 1.4 percentage points above the EU average. Spain is one of a handful of eurozone countries in which the gender gap has widened in recent years.
Toledano pointed to PP legislative efforts to limit access to abortions and recent public sector cuts that have disproportionately affected women, such as reduced bursaries for daycare and the an end to subsided school lunch programmes. "The leaders of the People's party and the measures they're putting in place have one clear objective: that women return to the home and the kitchen," she said.
Madrid officials rushed to defend the mayor's actions, saying the aprons and nail files were promotional items given to them by the city-owned waste collection firm. Adorned with the company's logo and messaging, the items were meant to encourage equality, Madrid said, as "the aprons were for men and the nail files for women".
Officials also stressed that the company operated as its own entity with its own set of directors, and Soler and the city hall were not involved in any way with the planning of the promotional campaign.