you're reading...
Spain, Women

They want us poor, silenced and straight

Spain’s government wants to impose a model of society, not only at the service of capital, but sexist and homophobic to boot, argues Esther Vivas

The governing Popular Party (PP) is on a crusade – not only against fundamental rights such as health, education, housing, work, but also against sexual and reproductive freedoms. The PP wants to impose a model of society, not only at the service of capital, but sexist and homophobic to boot. It wants us poor, silenced and straight.

Last week the Government proposed to the Spanish regional governments that they veto, within the public health system, assisted reproductive treatment (artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization) to lesbians and single women. A measure that threatens equal access to public services and discriminates against those who do not conform to the strict hetero ‘standard’ . If you are female, poor, lesbian, or you are single, you are forbidden to get pregnant. For the PP, without men there must be no children. In this way, the Right imposes its family archetype: a straight couple.

We are facing a government that is shocked that two women can be mothers, that two men can be fathers, that a lone woman may have daughters and sons, but it does not feel the slightest shame in pursuing policies that lead to hunger, unemployment and evictions. It is the double standard of those who do not have any principles. Who are only obedient to the doctrine of capitalism and patriarchy.

Yesterday in a feminist protest outside the Ministry of Health in Madrid, called precisely to condemn this measure, the response was repression. This is a government that pursues and criminalises those who refuse to be silent. The ‘politics of the truncheon’ is the other side of coin of their ‘politics of cuts’.

Here’s another example. The Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality plans to leave out of official statistics the abuse of women who, despite being attacked, do not visit the hospital or whose hospital stay is less than 24 hours. Which means the majority of cases will remain hidden. Could it be that the figures are getting out of control?

In the first quarter of 2013, 1,100 women per month signalled injuries when reporting attacks by men, according to the Observatory for Gender Violence of the General Council of the Judiciary. This, however, represents a minority of cases. In 2012, according to the same organisation, in only 11% of the 128,000 complaints for abuse did women notify that they had been injured. For some, it seems, it is better to hide or disguise the reality, rather than fight it.

And to all of this must be added the offensive by Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón to change the already limited abortion law, turning the clock back to the era of ‘the caves’. A change that, in the words of the minister, will take place in the next three months. The future law, everything seems to indicate, will be more restrictive than that of 1985, only allowing pregnancy to be terminated in certain, very limited circumstances.

Among the cases that are being earmarked for removal from the current law, is the malformation of the fetus. According Gallardón, the reform aims to ‘increase the protection of the quintessential right of a women: that of motherhood.’ And I wonder: Motherhood in whose hands? Women or the State?

In short, this is an attempt by the PP to take control over, and legislate about our body. These measures ultimately add up to a political solution to the crisis that sees women returning to the home. When cutting public services such as health, welfare, social services, there will be a whole area of care work, invisible, undervalued, but essential, that will end up being done, again, by women. It is us who, above all, will bear the burden of the cuts to the welfare state.

We face a right-wing government that is sexist and homophobic. The response to this can only be at once left-wing (not talk, but action on the streets) and feminist, in defence of sexual freedoms.

Esther Vivas is a Spanish journalist and activist

El Publico

Translation by Revolting Europe

About revoltingeurope

Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or email [email protected]


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Twitter Updates

  • A Tribute to Mandela from Portugal revolting-europe.com/radical-press-… 1 day ago
  • Sweden and Mandela's anti-apartheid struggle thelocal.se/20131206/swede… via @TheLocalSweden 1 day ago
  • Germany, Mandela and the Cold War. thelocal.de/20131206/50651 via @TheLocalGermany #banks #debt #EU 1 day ago
  • Meeting #Mandela and the fight against apartheid: A view from #France thelocal.fr/20131205/mande… 1 day ago
  • A Week in Revolting Europe paper.li/tomgilltweets/… #poverty #austerity #inequality #precariat #EU #politics #protest #TTIP #unemployment 1 day ago
  • Survey says six million Italians living with job insecurity - ANSA ansa.it/web/notizie/ru… #precariat #austerity #euro 1 day ago
  • Mandela: a universal symbol of victory against racism and human exploitation says European Left shar.es/DUdD4 1 day ago
  • RT @corporateeurope: Hundreds of corporate lobbyists are writing this new global treaty, but the public can't even see it. http://t.co/m3rj… 1 day ago
  • Italian households see buying power fall 4.8% in 2013, 9% over last 2 years. ANSA ansa.it/web/notizie/ru… #austerity #euro 2 days ago
  • With the Tuscan massacre, slavery returns home | Giorgio Cremaschi | Revolting Europe wp.me/p1bMfw-1Xq 2 days ago
Follow @tomgilltweets

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Anti-social Europe in numbers


Key facts and figures on wages across the EU

Wealth Inequality in Europe

Get the key facts and figures


A different take on European issues

Italy’s Healthcare Crisis

Health services are ‘close to collapse’ in Rome, Turin and Naples after years of cuts and privatisation.


99% of the 167 000 Madrilenos who signed a petition rejected the sell off local water company

Filthy Rich

France's Bernard Arnault of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) empire is worth $41 billion. Check out Europe's rich list


Private banks receive half-trillion-euro gift from ECB


Workers and citizens stand up for themselves


Workers are on a go-slow over privatisation

Massive Spanish protest

Half a million take to the streets over labour market deregulation


Hundreds of workers occupied the factory of ArcelorMittal in Florange in the north of France

International Workers Day

International Workers Day 2012

RSS Watching Corporate Europe

  • Fight austerity and free trade! Blockade the EU Summit!
  • European Commission nominates food lobbyist to EU food safety agency's management board - again
  • Voluntary lobby register still inadequate

RSS Hate Crimes in Europe

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

RSS Fight discrimination in Europe – Amnesty Int’l

  • Listen to Roma Rights
  • Czech Republic: Amnesty International’s submission to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe: D.H. and others v. the Czech Republic


in Italy the home is a very dangerous place to be


Workers down tools over PM Monti's attack on labour rights


Concentration camps and a massive migrant marine cemetery





Read the statement by Lafontaine and Melenchon

PM Rajoy One Year On

Spaniards are not impressed








The Dossier