MĒ Jesus Sainz Garcia
Profession/ Current priorities
Political Aims/ Priorities/ Assessments
© Jan 2001
MĒ Jesus Sainz Garcia
My political activity began as the result of my professional and technical work. I was appointed general secretary for Education Programmes and later general director of secondary education.
2. Do/did you have a role model?
No. In fact, on the one hand I have a project which is embodied in my political party, the Partido Popular, and at a personal level I follow the attitudes or models which suit me as a person and match my education and attitudes.
3. Is there a tradition of political involvement/policy - making in your family?
No, I'm the first politician in my family.
4. Did you take part in political movements before getting involved in political parties (citizen rights movements, parents associations, etc.). If so, in which post and institution did you begin your political career? What made you switch from grass roots movements to a political party?
No. I was a teacher with a commitment to education as an essential element for the development of any country. Doubtlessly this teaching vocation is closely linked to my other vocation, politics. Teachers have a background of dedication to children and teenagers and politicians must have a spirit of dedication to citizens in general.
5. Were there disruptions in your political career?
No, in fact there weren't any interruptions in my political career. It was continuous.
6. Were there disruptions in your biography that have had an impact on your political career? Have your objectives changed during your political career?
7. How and why did your political objectives change during your political career?
Initially, my involvement was based on my commitment to education as the basis for development and progress. Later on I realised that women who are involved in politics must work towards equality between men and women.
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Because in positions of power you can contribute to improve those things in which you believe. In a political party you find the tools to fight and work. I worked in local authorities, the Senate and now the Chamber of Deputies, and everywhere I find a motivation to continue working.
2. Which party and when?
To the Partido Popular, since 1981.
3. Does your party have equal opportunity regulations?
My party has clearly defined objectives and principles regarding equality. The aim is to reach legal equality which, in my view, is already achieved in practical terms, and then actual equality for women. A programme has been established around the main actions to reach this goal.
4. Which office/function did you hold in your party at the beginning? How long after joining? How did you get into running for office?
The first position of responsibility was a general direction in a regional government. At the party level, it was membership of a regional executive committee. Both appointments were proposed by my bosses who considered I was well suited to the post. At present I'm president of the Partido Popular in Santiago out of my own free will and also because I earned it.
5. Did you have mentors within your party?
There's always an important reference. I could mention two persons who believed in my work, Jose MĒ Aznar and Manuel Fraga.
6. Have you ever changed party affiliation?
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I've always been linked to the sphere of education, and in my political life I have competencies in this area.
2. What kind of qualifications do you have?
I am a professor of Spanish Language and Literature and inspector of secondary education.
3. In what kinds of jobs did you work?
I am fully dedicated to politics.
4. Do you link your professional and political career?
I got involved in politics through my professional career and put all my knowledge in the service of politics.
5. In what areas do you see your special competencies?
Initially in the area of education because it was my job, and for a few years in Social Affairs because I am chairwoman of the party's National Committee for Women's Issues and spokeswoman of the Joint Committee on Equal Rights for Women, apart from being a member of the Chamber of Deputies committee.
6. What are your political priorities?
Regarding my work, my main political priority is to make equality an actual reality to be experienced by the society in which we live, because it is one of the fundamental rights of democracy and of respect for people.
7. Main fields of action?
Education, Social Affairs and Women's Issues.
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I'm fully aware that there are many women with added difficulties and serious problems, and my conscience drives me to work mainly to improve their conditions.
2. How and why have your political objectives changed during your political career?
I realised that women politicians have a number of additional gender-related problems. In addition, I believe that the first objective of women who are in politics due to their service vocation must be to achieve for 50% of the population, i.e., women, the same conditions and freedom enjoyed by the other half.
3. Do you think the equal opportunities strategies in Spain have had an impact on the participation of women in decision-making? (quotas, equal opportunities legislation, etc.)
There is no doubt that in the past few years we have seen considerable progress for women in politics. By way of reference, in the newly-elected Senate we have gone from 8% of women to 30%.
4. Did you benefit from these strategies?
The above-mentioned change was very important and is not the result of strategies or quotas; instead, it arises out of the conviction that equality must occur in a normal manner within the party structures and of course in the preparation of lists, because the latter will mirror the votes of citizens (half of whom are women). Therefore, women must be included if we want to have perfect democracy in the spheres of power.
5. Do you see direct or indirect discrimination in conventional policy-making?
Yes, there is discrimination, mainly of the indirect type, related to the small percentage of women in politics, above all in power and decision-making spheres.
6. What keeps women away from politics?
In most cases, women must take charge of all the household chores. Joint responsibility for household work and educating the children is required to achieve a new social contract. Without this, it'll always be harder for women.
7. What are the major obstacles that women need to overcome?
On many occasions the lack of trust people have in women led me to prove day after day that I'm prepared and competent, and that the responsibilities entrusted to me are in good hands.
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