INTERVIEW with the Councilor for Equality of La Zarza, Sara Jiménez Romero, in which she analyzes the situation of women and explains the projects and objectives of her department
Sara Jimenez Romero She is a councilor for Equality in the La Zarza City Council. Her main objective in this position is to inspire future generations to be more free, diverse and cultured. She intends to leave a better town for the girls of La Zarza, full of references to look at and free of violence towards women in all areas of daily life. A town of equals.
What is the role of the Equality Department?
The main purpose of the Department of Equality is the proposal and execution of policies aimed at making equality between women and men real and effective, the prevention and eradication of different forms of violence against women and the elimination of all forms of discrimination based on gender. reason of sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or ideology, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability or any other personal or social condition or circumstance.
What projects are you carrying out right now?
We currently have an internal equality plan in place, carried out by the ANAS foundation, which develops an education project for the sexual and/or reproductive health of young women. We work to combat gender violence with projects such as “In the face of gender violence, do not stand in profile, act” where we asked neighbors not to be impassive in the face of verbal or physical aggression. This year for 25N (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) and 8M (International Women’s Day) we decided to work where we believe the solution is, which is in education. We carry it out through storytelling, workshops, theater, etc.
We are also part of ATENPRO, which is the Telephone Assistance and Protection Service for victims of gender violence. It is a type of service that, with the appropriate technology, offers victims immediate attention, in the event of eventualities that may occur to them, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and wherever they are. . In addition, our Local Police is trained in gender violence.
We also work on some projects with the ‘Malvaluna’ Women’s Association and with the Badajoz Provincial Council, such as, for example, “Municipalities Free of Sexual Violence against Women.”
What objectives do you propose for the legislature and what impact do you expect it to have in the long term?
Our goal will continue to be the continuous fight for equality, using all our means to eradicate gender violence in La Zarza.
In this legislature we aim, above all, to make women visible. Rural women have been invisible for many years, despite their important role. We all knew the stories of the muleteers, Tierrablancos and emigrants. But little had been said about the Zarceña women who stayed at home taking their families forward, who traveled kilometers carrying laundry to wash.
Zarceña girls need role models; the lack of female examples prevents them from imagining themselves in different professions in the future. They need to see and know brilliant women being brilliant. See how they got there to imagine themselves being able to do it too. And thus be able to exploit its full potential. Here we are beginning to hear streets named after women, like Clara Campoamor Street in the new school.
Why do you think increasingly younger boys and girls seem to normalize inequality between men and women?
Gender inequality begins in childhood. There are some studies that warn of a very worrying trend, which is that girls believe themselves to be less bright than boys at six years old. Every day, girls and boys perceive gender inequality in their homes and communities: in textbooks, in the media, and among the adults who care for them. I think it is the fault of an education based on sexist principles and gender stereotypes.
Homophobia or LGTBIphobia is another form of inequality. Is there any project from the Department of Equality to address this specific issue?
We are a people proud of our diversity. From the Department we have a firm commitment to the fight against discrimination and hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity. We believe and will fight in love and equality through different projects. We are in contact with the Triángulo Extremadura Foundation, through exhibitions, talks, manifestos and, above all, raising awareness of respect for the youth of Zarca and involving them in different activities such as the painted pedestrian crossing in the vicinity of the institute.
If you could, what educational changes would you like to make to prevent tomorrow’s children from causing these inequalities?
I always say it in the manifestos and I will never tire of demanding the only effective measure: an education based on equality, a formal and non-formal education, where the hidden curriculum is taken into account, and this curriculum is loaded with values that have base the culture of non-violence. We need feminist education at home and in the classrooms. Because no matter who it is, the future is feminist and I hope our girls live in real equality. For that we continue fighting.
The gender wage gap in Extremadura is 17%, surpassing that of Spain. What do you think can be done about this?
The wage gap has reasons such as the feminization of lower-paid jobs or salary supplements. Nightlife, time availability, etc. These are licenses that many women with children or elderly dependents cannot afford. I think that the only thing that can be done, apart from education and co-responsibility of tasks and care at home, is positive discrimination. This concept is used to describe a social policy that is aimed at improving the lives of some groups that have historically suffered discrimination, in this case women.
Sometimes we hear people say that they don’t consider themselves feminists. Do you think it is a general feeling? Do you think the feminist demand is well understood?
I think it is not a general feeling. I believe that our claim is well understood, but there is also a lot of ignorance on this issue. It hurts me to hear young boys/girls who think that “feminism is the same as machismo” when they have all the means to inform themselves. Feminism does not claim that women are above men, but rather aims to achieve equality in cultural, social and economic aspects. Nor does it seek to discriminate against the other gender, it is about sharing the same social structures.
In the current panorama, the feminist movement is divided by issues such as the abolition of prostitution or the popularly known “Trans Law.”
What do you think?
Prostitution is one of the worst afflictions suffered by women and girls, a violation of human rights (dignity, physical and emotional integrity…) and an atrocious form of violence. Prostitution is not work, but sexual exploitation. I believe that abolishing it is a social, ethical and political duty.
Regarding the Trans Law, I think it is a complex law. Personally, I really like the feminism that Carmen Calvo defends and I believe, like her, that we must expand rights and protect the rights of LGTBI+ groups. Laws have to evolve as society does, but at the same time gender equality laws must be protected because equal opportunities depend on them.
What is your opinion about the work being carried out by the Ministry of Equality?
My opinion is very positive. The world needs an egalitarian society, free of sexist violence, where women can live without fear, with equal opportunities, with the same rights, co-responsibility for tasks and care, and justice and education without gender distinction.
The Ministry of Equality is responsible for the elaboration and development of the rules, actions and measures aimed at ensuring this equality.
On March 8, the budget for equality policies was announced,
20,000 million euros for the next four years. Do you think it is in line with the challenges posed?
This figure corresponds to the money that the Government is going to allocate to the new Strategic Plan for Effective Equality between Women and Men, which will be developed between 2022-2025. It is true that the Ministry of Equality will coordinate the management of the money and its distribution, but it is not part of the budget of this Ministry. I think this must be made clear, because either it was not understood or it was not wanted to be understood. I think it is appropriate, since this strategic plan contains measures such as guaranteeing that all public personnel are trained in a gender perspective, reducing salary and pension gaps, creating nursery schools from 0 to 3 years old, and strengthening of institutional response systems for early detection and care for victims of sexist violence, among others.
I understand that being an Equality Councilor has to do with your personal challenges. Once her tenure ends, what would have to happen for her to feel satisfied with this stage of her professional life?
I will feel very satisfied when we manage to make as many women as possible visible, when our girls live in a town full of role models and our elders are aware that we do not forget what they have done for our town. I think we are on the right track, but we still have a long way to go.
What mark would you like to leave on future generations of La Zarza?
I hope that, through the plays, exhibitions, concerts, marches in favor of women and the rest of the cultural events that we launch from the City Council, we are inspiring future generations to be more free, diverse and cultured. Furthermore, I hope and wish that boys and girls walk together in the same direction, and that that path is the eradication of violence against women in all areas of daily life.