Women hold the majority of Spanish cabinet
On Wednesday, Spain’s new cabinet was sworn in, with women at the helm of a record 11 of 17 ministries. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said his government was “unequivocally committed to equality” and would be a "reflection of the society it aspires to serve.” The new government follows a nationwide women’s strike on March 8, in which more than 5 million workers walked out of work to highlight sexual discrimination, domestic violence, and the wage gap. Mr. Sánchez called his diverse cabinet a “faithful representation of that movement.” Among other portfolios, women hold the coveted posts of Defense, Justice, Economy, Budget and Deputy Prime Minister.
Abortion to be legalized in Ireland
In May, Ireland overwhelmingly voted to repeal the Eighth Amendment constitutional prohibition on abortion. The repeal means that the Irish Oireachtas will have the authority to legislate on the issue, and the Cabinet and Dáil are expected to consider a Bill to expand abortion access in July. The Irish Times declared that the victory “belongs to the women of Ireland,” who directed a grassroots movement for change. Across the border in Northern Ireland, abortion remains illegal. On Thursday, the U.K. Supreme Court said they believed Northern Ireland’s abortion policy violated the European Convention on Human Rights. Activists are pressuring the U.K. Parliament to fully decriminalize abortion across the United Kingdom.
Economic reforms for women in Malaysia
This week, Malaysia’s Pakatan Harapan government, which won a surprise victory in May’s general elections, took steps to implement its campaign commitment to open up economic, legal, and social opportunities for women. The party previously promised to ensure pay equality and equal opportunities at work, enforce the minimum age of marriage, introduce a gender education curriculum, and to ensure women are at least 30 percent of policymakers. On Tuesday, the Finance Ministry took an important step toward formalizing care work and endorsed a plan to dedicate 2 percent of a husband’s salary to his wife’s retirement fund. Activists note, however, that much more work remains to achieve parity for women, including in politics: Pakatan Harapan itself has not reached the 30 percent threshold on its candidate lists or cabinet appointments.