For the first time a woman presides over the Chamber of Deputies of the Nation. For the first time, two women are at the head of both legislative chambers. The designation is news for the unprecedented. But more than a victory, it reveals the obstacles that persist for women to hold leadership positions: we were able to exercise the right to vote and be elected representatives for the first time at a national level in 1951. Little more than 70 years passed and women in politics they continue to face the pitfalls of a very masculine distribution of power even when there are figures among them who stand out for their leadership.
If the presidencies of the permanent commissions of the Chamber of Deputies are analyzed, barely 33 percent are in charge of women and they are mostly those linked to “reproduction”: Family, Children and Youth; Education, of the Elderly; Women and Diversity; Social Security and Social Security; Population and Human Development. And to a lesser extent, those commissions related to the “production” and “preservation of the system”: Budget and Treasury, Energy and Fuel, Economy, Transportation, Mining, Public Works, Constitutional Affairs, Justice, National Defense, to name a few. the most coveted commissions have male presidents, according to a recent survey by the Gender Observatory of the General Directorate for Equality of the Chamber of Deputies. They are just sample buttons.
In the national cabinet -which tried to raise parity as a flag at the beginning of Alberto Fernández’s term-, there are only two ministries in charge of women, and they are those precisely associated -once again- with the more traditional distribution of tasks in terms of gender: Women, Gender and Diversity and Health.
What happens in the union domes? Women are mostly absent. At a recent meeting of women trade unionists in La Rioja, Claudia Allegri, general secretary of the SADOP (Private Teachers Union) of that province, mentioned that according to a national investigation on the participation of women in union organizations they only occupy 18 percent of charges. And of that total, only 26 percent are in places “of decision-making, be it called general or deputy secretary, treasury or union, which would be the most important or most relevant. The remaining 74 percent are in other specific activities”.
On the Supreme Court, not a single female judge remains. And according to the gender map of the Women’s Office of the highest court (it seems like a joke and the name of that office), if you analyze the administrative staff, 61 percent are women, but when you go up the pyramid observes that 44 percent are civil servants and only 28 percent fulfill hierarchical roles: 25 percent, among chambermaids; in the Office of the General Defender of the Nation, they are 37 percent; in the Attorney General’s Office, 28 percent, and in the provincial courts, the difference is even more notable between male and female ministers. Women are relegated from hierarchical positions. Due to the care tasks historically assigned to women, they do not have the same availability of time to do postgraduate courses, specializations, so it is very difficult for them to reach the competitions. They are also largely outside the political and trade union thread. A study by the General Directorate of Gender Policies (DGPG) of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Nation found that of the total number of prosecutors appointed by competition between 2000 and 2016 –187 appointments–, 27 percent are women (51 ) and 73 percent (136), male.
When those who arrive are the exception, is there something to celebrate? Little bit.