Bibiana Aído: "I was wrong not to respond to insults"

No, Irene Montero is not the only woman who has suffered the anger, violence and insults of the radicals.

24 November 2022 Thursday 17:35
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Bibiana Aído: "I was wrong not to respond to insults"

No, Irene Montero is not the only woman who has suffered the anger, violence and insults of the radicals. 14 years ago another woman, then the youngest to form part of a government (31 years old), suffered unspeakably for months both in the streets and on the Parliament rostrum. She is Bibiana Aído, Minister of Equality from 2008 to 2010, head of a department created by President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and which raised eyebrows in the most conservative sector of society. Bibiana Aído went to New York, to UN-Women in 2011. And she has continued working for this organization since then, later in Ecuador and now, in Colombia.

And from there she recounts the harassment she experienced to La Vanguardia: “I felt pressured and overwhelmed. With a lot of responsibility and no room for maneuver. The ministry had just been created, we had no furniture, no computers, no equipment, and no structure decree. We had to do it all at once while the blows kept coming. The right-wing press attacked mercilessly and the left-wing ones did not show the slightest empathy either. We were objective just by existing. The patriarchy was very upset by the mere creation of the ministry and began from the beginning with personal disqualifications as a way of disqualifying the policies that we wanted to promote ”, he points out.

Aido was vilified in Congress for her inclusive language (her famous "members" and "members" still haunt her) but, above all, for putting feminism on the social agenda with the reform of the abortion law. This put an end to a norm that allowed the voluntary interruption of pregnancy only in three cases (rape, danger to the life of the mother and malformation of the fetus). Since 2010, abortion is free in Spain during the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.

The abortion law put the most conservative sectors on a war footing, with the Church at the forefront (the bishops took to the streets in an unprecedented image), with a clear enemy, Minister Aído, and with an institution to be overthrown, the Ministry of Equality. The insults and whistles followed her wherever she went, it didn't matter if she was in a provincial capital or in a small town. And, since that did not seem to make a dent in her, always in silence, dolls of her the size of a 14-week fetus began to arrive day after day at her office (the aido babies, they called them). In boxes, well wrapped. Those same dolls reappeared in 2019 in Seville, by Vox.

How did you manage it? “From the conviction that it was better not to get into controversy, nor spend time responding to insults and mockery. I was wrong, we were wrong. The machos only became more emboldened and the rest sided. It is not that feminism had reached power, it is that for the first time it seemed that it could reach it, and that generated a strong reaction that we did not know how to counteract.

Aido's collaborators are clear that they were going after her for being a woman, for being young, for representing feminism, for fighting against machismo, for leading the Ministry of Equality, for a political project that they wanted to humiliate and, above all, silence. . ”.

What do you recommend to Minister Montero? “I ask that you not leave a single verbal attack unanswered. It's not for her, it's for everyone. That the prevention and elimination of political violence against women must form a central part of the agenda if we want to advance real equality”.

But, despite what he experienced before and now with what happened with Montero, Aido sees a "positive note": "I am happy to see that at least now, in situations of political violence against women, a large part of the social, political and media raises its voice, 14 years ago they looked the other way. Clearly something is changing in this country, there are reasons for hope”.



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