As the first black person to be elected to Spain's Congress, Rita Bosaho says she is "overcome" by the media attention she has received over the last week. Born with Spanish nationality in Spain's former African colony of Equatorial Guinea, she came to Spain at the age of four, and says she doesn't consider herself an immigrant. But she accepts that she has become an important symbol, "and symbols are very important in our culture, in the same way the election of Barack Obama was important." A former healthcare assistant at Alicante's General Hospital, the 50-year-old chooses her words carefully when discussing politics, and is keen to avoid discussing her personal life.
Question. You have a degree in history, and have worked in healthcare, so what made you go into politics?
Answer. For the last decade I have worked with a small NGO that sets up projects in Africa and Latin America. Six years ago I traveled to Guinea and I am interested in the problems people face on both sides of the shore.
Q. You describe yourself as a feminist.
A. Yes, because I believe the feminist struggle is political. Achieving equality should be a question of state. The day before voting I watched a film about Clara Campoamore [a Spanish politician and feminist]. We have to understand the price that has been paid for our achievements, and that in some areas we haven’t made as much progress as in others.
Q. How much of [Podemos'] your party’s success is due to people’s anger with corruption?
A. It has been fundamental. It is an endemic problem with our system and we have to fight against it, as well as against the loss of social rights, the labor market reform, as well as finding more money for healthcare and women’s rights, particularly gender-specific violence.
Q. This is something you have mentioned many times during the campaign. What are we doing wrong in this regard?
A. There have been a lot of spending cuts. And when there are so many spending cuts in areas to do with working with people… It is not fair that more than half the population suffers more than the other half, shall we say, without accusing anybody in particular, and that our rights are not more visible. This has to do with patriarchal structures, and that means changes in education, cultural changes… We have to do something. Why are there no women running any of the main institutions in this country? There are continents such as Africa, which are very dependent on the money provided by women, and yet they aren’t represented in the institutions. This is a structural problem, a world problem.