MADRID (Reuters) – Spain’s Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz said on Monday male chauvinism was “systemic” in the country and had been shown in its worst form when national soccer chief Luis Rubiales grabbed and kissed World Cup player Jenni Hermoso on the lips last week.
Diaz, who is also deputy prime minister and head of the far-left Sumar coalition, called for social attitudes to change more generally in Spain and for victims of sexual harassment and violence to be better protected.
Her comments came after a defiant Rubiales on Friday refused to resign as president of Spain’s soccer federation and denounced “false feminists” for trying to bring him down over the incident, which has caused a national furore and overshadowed the women’s team World Cup victory.
Diaz told reporters following a meeting with leaders of the FUTPRO players’ union representing Hermoso: “On Friday we saw the worst of Spanish society, of the structural machismo of this country. They clapped and humiliated and made fun of a person they had the obligation to protect under the sports law and far from doing that, they inflicted more damage, more pain, more vexation.”
She insisted, however, that Spanish society was predominantly “feminist” and “an example in the world”.
“That’s why these behaviours are much more shocking.”
(Reporting by David Latona, writing by Aislinn Laing, Editing by Angus MacSwan)