Iratxe Garcia Perez
Profession/ Current priorities
Political Aims/ Priorities/ Assessments
© Jan 2001
Iratxe Garcia Perez
Probably my social preoccupations. I began militating in the socialist youth organisation when I was sixteen, and took part in the activities of voluntary associations in my borough. From there, I went on to work in politics.
2. Do/did you have a role model?
The model came from my family, a socialist family.
3. Is there a tradition of political involvement/policy - making in your family?
Yes, almost everybody in my mother's family is in the Socialist Party. My uncle was deputy mayor and MP in the regional Parliament of Extremadura.
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?
I worked in voluntary associations in my borough as a co-ordinator. Later on, I was elected Councillor and I worked in equal opportunities and social equality.
5. Were there disruptions in your political career?
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?
My objectives did change, mainly because I started in politics when I was very young. My initial objectives were of a social nature. After a few years, I got involved directly in politics as a borough Councillor in Laguna de Duero and the provincial government of Valladolid.
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My social preoccupations led to politics as a means to achieve my objectives.
2. Which party and when?
Since 1995, I'm a member of the Spanish Workers Socialist Party (PSOE).
3. Does your party have equal opportunity regulations?
Yes, we have implemented what we call peer democracy, according to which each sex must have a minimum proportion of 40% and a maximum of 60% in all election lists for public as well as internal positions.
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?
My first publicly responsible position arose from the 1995 municipal elections when I was elected Councillor. Later on, I was elected MP for my province, a position I've occupied until my inclusion in the provincial list for the national Parliament. When I was elected to this post, I resigned from my previous positions. I was elected with the support of the Socialist Youth that promoted my candidacy.
5. Did you have mentors within your party?
6. Have you ever changed party affiliation?
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I think there is a direct relationship. As a social worker, all the equal opportunities and equality issues are expressed in my daily political activity.
2. What kind of qualifications do you have?
3. In what kinds of jobs did you work?
Since I started my political career when I was very young, I never had a lot of time to engage in any other work. However, I worked as co-ordinator for a home assistance programme.
4. Is there a link between your professional life and your political career?
5. In what areas do you see your special competencies?
At this time, I'm Deputy Speaker for Social Issues in the Socialist group of the national Parliament.
6. What are your political priorities?
The elimination of social inequalities and the development of the established values held in our party, i.e., freedom and justice. These are very broad values, but I believe that politics is an instrument to substantiate them.
7. Main fields of action?
Ethnic minorities, women and the disabled.
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To end inequalities and solve the problems which are occurring in various social areas.
2. How and why have your political objectives changed during your political career?
My first-hand contact with social problems compels me to constantly question my work. Even so, I still maintain my initial objectives.
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.)
Yes. A few years ago, various administrations began to implement equality plans for women with a varying degree of effectiveness. These plans have produced results because women are now in a completely different situation compared to 20 years ago. However, there is a long way to go.
4. Have women benefited from that strategy? How would you evaluate it?
Yes, as a woman I had the possibility of participating in the political life of my party under equal conditions. I didn't get anything for free, but I had the same possibilities as other comrades.
5. Do you see direct or indirect discrimination in conventional policy-making?
Yes, discrimination continues to exist.
6. What keeps women away from politics?
Possibly the difficulties in combining politics with family life. Women's values regarding their private lives don't facilitate access to the labour market or political and associative activities.
7. What are the major obstacles that women need to overcome?
The idea that women must prove they have the same capacity as men. The cliché, that women have to earn their position, whereas men don't, is still widespread.
8. What obstacles have you had to overcome in your own career?
Above all, the cliché of being a young woman.
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