Priscila de León Álvarez, an expert in telecommunications and advertising and insular councilor for Equality and Prevention of Gender Violence, considers the implementation of the second Framework Strategic Tenerife Violeta, which brings together more than 80 entities working for gender equality.
CEO of Equality and Prevention of Gender Violence since 2021. What personal challenges or goals did you set for yourself when you took office?
I felt very comfortable since I arrived, it is an area that fills me. In addition, I joined the service and I found a wonderful technical staff, who always goes above and beyond and gives 120%. The first thing I did was to continue with the lines that my predecessor, Marian Franquet, left traced. My personal objective is that the policies that are carried out throughout the Cabildo, not only in the area of Equality, have a gender perspective. I want the Cabildo to wear violet glasses every day when exercising politics. It is a quite realistic objective, because many of my colleagues and colleagues, and almost the entire government group, have assumed the transversality of equality.
From your point of view, what are the main problems affecting women in Tenerife? Do they coincide with the priorities of your department for this term?
Definitely, inequality, in general, and more specifically, in employment. We need more awareness on the part of institutions and companies. We continue to be the main caregivers, since we are left in charge of dependent people (minor and elderly), which is an added problem for labor insertion. Another notable reality, and one that we are focusing on as a department, is to put a stop to the increase in gender-based violence. We thought we had achieved certain achievements, but we have no doubt that this is not the case and it is demonstrated by the studies we have carried out. The groups of young people and adolescents do not have as assumed as they should the fight against gender violence.
What are your department’s priorities for this legislature?
Right now, the priority on which we are focused and we have put 60% of the energy is the first Plan for the Prevention of Gender Violence of the Cabildo de Tenerife. This plan, which is in the first phase, will serve as a guide to know what strategy to follow and how to reach young people and adolescents to prevent this type of violence.
In addition to continuing with the pre-existing actions, what new initiatives have been launched since you have been here?
We organize workshops and activities that allow us to work individually and collectively on the well-being of women. In them we deal with issues such as self-esteem, the digital divide, citizen participation, etc. Likewise, we have other axes focused on the empowerment of older women and the fight against ageism (GAIA), since we have realized that within ageism women are doubly affected, compared to men. We are going to do all of this within a comprehensive program called Conecta Mayores, where all the areas of the Cabildo work transversally.
The Tenerife Violeta Strategic Framework was a pioneering experience that brought together public and private entities on the Island to develop equality policies. How do you rate the execution of the first METV? What would you highlight about the new Strategic Framework, in place since 2020?
The first thing I thought when I saw the I METV is that it is a huge project. When you go to a Network meeting and see how the entities get involved to solve the problems detected within the framework, you immediately understand its functionality. That is its nature, to detect problems that entities can solve from outside. Last year, the Network launched 90 collaborative work projects between municipalities and other entities. In other words, dozens of entities working together to solve problems is a big step and a great advance. Both the Framework and the Network are unique initiatives. Those who participate do not do so to give a good image, all entities and all sectors are represented, collaborating side by side with the intention of improving. The desire for positive change is palpable and is demonstrated by the meetings of the Network. The new Strategic Framework has two main features to highlight. On the one hand, gender intersectionality. It attends individually to women with all variants and peculiarities: women of color, older, rural, migrant, disabled, etc. As the Strategic Framework attends to all the realities of women, we have detected problems in a differentiated way among vulnerable groups. Right now we are working with older women, but within the subsidy plan, projects that cover any problem that affects women are taken care of. And, on the other hand, it should be noted that the Framework already includes the Sustainable Development Goals, such as cooperation to achieve the goals (number 17) or gender equality (number 5).
Some sectors consider that in a certain part of the youth there is a setback in the perception of the issue of gender equality and violence. Do you perceive it the same way?
I agree that we are witnessing a setback. They now have more access to digital media from a very young age, where they receive an excess of inappropriate and incorrect information. The study we did of pornography said that boys began their consumption at 8 years old and girls, from 12. If we look at the educational plans, we verify that we are giving them sexual education in 2nd, 3rd and 4th of ESO, that is say, when they are between 14 and 16 years old. By then, they have been searching for all the information related to sexuality through social networks or the Internet for several years. They learn from the behaviors they see on the screens and when we give them quality training, we are late. Another reason for concern is that they do not identify sexist violence. I don’t think they deny its existence, but they don’t understand it as the one exercised by men towards women, they confuse it with any type of violence that is exercised between couples. I am very worried.
How can this setback be reversed?
With training, not only in educational institutes and centres, which is essential, but also at home and by increasing the involvement of public administrations. Our Enrédate sin machismo program in the classroom, which works for weeks with 1st year Baccalaureate students and university students and which also incorporates an application to find out if they have macho attitudes, are useful examples, but we need education at all levels. In society, from the institutions, but we also need the support of families, because they are a fundamental part of the process.
Finally, how would you explain to a woman how the work done by the Cabildo contributes to improving her life? What about a man?
We put women at the center of the policies we make, both in my area and in any other. We do projects for them, because if women are well, strong, with a good job and a good economy, that has a positive influence on the whole society. If we have half of the population discriminated against, without being able to access quality jobs, this has a negative impact on the group of women and men on the island of Tenerife. In the case of men, if they live with 50% of the population equally, they also benefit. It is to their advantage that their wives, mothers, daughters and sisters are empowered and feel equal. When they ask me if we have positive discrimination policies, I answer yes, because they are necessary. I hope there is a day when they are not! Hopefully the day will come when this area that I am working on is not precise, because it will mean that men and women are at the same starting point.