World

Spain's historic female-dominated cabinet takes office

The cabinet with the most female ministers in Spanish and European history was sworn in Thursday, putting the cap on one of the fastest power transitions in Spain's four decades of democratic rule.

11 of 17 new ministers under PM Pedro Sanchez are women

Spain's new deputy prime minister, Carmen Calvo, was sworn in as part of a cabinet with the most female ministers in the country's history. (J.J. Guillen/Associated Press)

The cabinet with the most female ministers in Spanish and European history was sworn in Thursday, putting the cap on one of the fastest power transitions in Spain's four decades of democratic rule.

The new Socialist government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has 11 female ministers — overseeing key areas such as the national economy, finance and defence — and six men.

Women represented 64.7 per cent of the new cabinet, above the 62.5 per cent that the Finnish government scored in 2015, according to the statistics of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Most of the new ministers referred to the female majority in their oath-taking on Thursday before King Felipe VI.

A court ruling over a kickbacks-for-contracts scheme involving the conservative Popular Party prompted a no-confidence vote against Mariano Rajoy, prime minister since 2011.

Sanchez replaced Rajoy last week. He has defined his government as feminist, progressive, pro-European and "a loyal reflection of the best in the society that it aspires to serve."

Carmen Calvo, an expert in constitutional law and former culture minister, will be Sanchez's deputy prime minister and also in charge of the resurrected Ministry of Equality.

The government "has to work to reduce inequalities and achieve great equality, which affects men and women," Calvo said on Friday in a brief ceremony to take over the government's no. 2 position from Soraya Saenz de Santamaria.

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