A NATO family photo with a male majority

These days Madrid has hosted a NATO summit that many have described as “historic”. Nevertheless, the family photo left by this meeting It is not far from what we have seen in previous summits, at least in one aspect. In total, 32 leaders have posed before the cameras, but of them, only four were women. It is the reflection of a very low female representation in a summit that is located at the epicenter of decision-making that affects the world and in which some leaders have boasted of the commitment to gender equality in their countries.

The female faces of the summit are embodied by the Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen: that of Estonia, Kaja Kallas; that of Iceland, Katrin Jakobsdottir, and the president of Slovakia, Zuzana Caputova. The remaining 27 are all men.

“It’s a photo that shows very clearly and very simply gender inequality, and how power structures remain masculine.”, explains to TVE Beatriz Ranea, a sociologist specializing in gender.

While the leaders (and the four women leaders) talked, debated and decided on geopolitical issues dressed in their suits, the entourage of companions, mostly made up of women, have attended social or cultural events, such as the visit to the San Ildefonso farm, in which they have enjoyed a walk around the fountains or an exhibition of tapestries. They did so accompanied by Queen Letizia and Begoña Gómez, the respective consorts of the Spanish Heads of State and Government.

In the group, made up of 14 companions, there were only two men: Gauthier Destenay, married to the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, and the husband of the President of Slovakia, Zuzana Caputova.

“The women are still objects of decorum to please. They dedicate themselves to leisure, moving away from decision-making spaces that do not correspond to them and they are valued for what is merely aesthetic,” Ranea explains.

“It is still thought that they are not made for certain positions”

Systematic gender discrimination and respect for a hierarchy imposed by a heteropatriarchal society they continue to hinderaccording to experts, that women can access those spaces of power. In this case, we are talking about the political sphere, but it happens, they say, in all areas of society.

“It is still thought that men and women have different capacities and that women they are not made to fill certain positions when the evidence shows that it is”, adds Ranea. The sociologist believes that a change in the structural organization is necessary; for this, she says, they need “committed public policies that promote that women can access positions of responsibility, that they can reconcile, and that men also commit to equality”.

According to sociologists, it will take up to a century to achieve equality. Ending discrimination is the great battle of the 21st century, in which the most influential leaders in the world, for the time being, continue to fail.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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