OpenDemocracy investigates how women have made headway in local and regional politics in Spain:
As frequently happens when it comes to women and politics, sexism has been present in comments made about their image, their decorum and their professional capacities. Journalists have questioned Ada Colau’s humble origins and a member of the Spanish Academy felt the need to criticise her policies by suggesting that she would be better off selling fish. Mónica Oltra’s political career in the opposition of the Valencian parliament has been maligned by the press and often centred on her choice of t-shirts. Manuela Carmena’s ethics have been questioned by the conservative press regarding supposedly luxury vacations and for not firing her spokesperson after she was prosecuted and financially sanctioned for having marched against religious sexism in a university chapel while being a student.
However, despite these stereotypical representations, Manuela Carmena, Ada Colau and Mónica Oltra have managed to work in their respective strongholds and focused on the anti-austerity measures influencing their constituencies. Their policies have been mainly articulated through two welfare issues: housing and the politics of care, both personal and environmental. The first measure taken by Manuela Carmena in Madrid was the creation of a local anti-eviction office in charge of mediating with the banks. To combat the high level of pollution in Madrid, she has implemented a ban on cars parking in the city centre. In Barcelona, the administration of Ada Colau has proposed an alternative tourism model, listening to the complaints from neighbourhood assemblies. However, her most talked about measure has to do with the regulation of the activity of female prostitutes in the streets. Mónica Oltra has focused in matters of transparency in political institutions and the investigation of the previous administration in the Valencian Country. Following her efforts while in opposition, the current government in Valencia has settled all pending benefits claims with families with dependent members.