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Spain's Equality Minister Bibiano Aido (left) was the face of Spain's achievements in gender equality © ES 2010 - Equality Spain women
Spain's Equality Minister Bibiano Aido (left) was the face of Spain's achievements in gender equality © ES 2010
"It can only get worse."

Economic and social scientist, Natalia Tetmoniva's outlook is rather gloomy, even though she's standing in the bright light of Madrid's morning sunshine.
 
The 34-year old looks down the street where she expects the overdue bus to arrive.

Tetmoniva  came to Madrid with an expert group to evaluate the work of the Spanish EU Presidency. "The Spanish EU Presidency has been but joyful, for women at least." she says, "I am more than fearful of what will come next."  

Six months ago, the Spanish government under José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero took over the rotating presidency announcing that it would be "a transforming Presidency not a managing one".

To the surprise of many, "equality at all levels" wasn't just another policy of Zapatero's presidency (whose cabinet consists of more women than men), it was at the very top of list alongside innovation. 31-year old Bibiana Aido became the face of the transformation when she was chosen as Minister for Equality at the start of Zapatero's second term in government in 2008.

In the last six months, Aido had been over-active and omipresent: From the UN in New York and the World Health Organisation to decision makers in European capitals and abroad, Aido has been rallying to put gender equality on top of the agenda - every agenda.

Now that the Presidency is coming to an end, Aido's track record is more than impressive. Among her achievements was the decisive commitment of the Member States to include equality between women and men in all measures related to the economic recovery and was finally crowned with its inclusions in Europe's 2020 Strategy, the joint roadmap for the continent to get out of the recession and into the next decade. 

"Equality has been the core aspect of the Spanish Presidency from the outset tackling the issue from all perspectives", Aido concluded on the day of her success. "In order to generate growth from a solid base, Europe must be able to count on the potential, capacity and knowledge of all its citizens." 

The Strategy provisions a 75% employment rate of women and men by 2020. For this target to be reached, particular attention will have to be given to incorporate more women in the labour market. At present, 63% of women are working compared with 76% men. The Strategy also addresses causes and effects of the  "gender pay gap", the wage differences between men and women, that reached 17.4% in Europe in 2009.  




 
  

Shila Meyer Behjat
01/07/2010
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