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The Iron Quixote of Spanish diplomacy

María Rosa Boceta was the first to break the prohibition of francoism against diplomatic women in 1971

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The Iron Quixote of Spanish diplomacy

It was 1969 and Maria Rosa Boceta studied philosophy and letters and economics at university in Madrid. He had a boyfriend and was about to get married. It was quarrelsome and restless about open worlds that re could be in Franco outside of Spain. I had already traveled something. His far was a professor and an agronomist and seemed to have his future clear ahead. He was told that diplomatic career was still banned in Spain for women and shocked: "How?" Then he broke and overcame several barriers, tripping and taboos. To leave it for several years without a seat after having approved opposition. But in end it was several times ambassador. She now recommends three ingredients to young women in diplomacy: "Illusion, thrust and vocation".

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In 1964 a Council of Ministers of dictatorship of Francisco Franco raised, in ory, express prohibition that governed since military uprising after Republic against women to be presented to diplomatic opposition. The francoism gave puffs, but still maintained some barriers very raised also in elite races, like diplomats and lawyers of state. Maria Rosa Boceta is still indignant now by remembering about turning 80 years number of sticks on wheels that she had to smash to reach some of her dreams.

Nothing made it easy. On contrary. Nor examination to overcome opposition. Maria Rosa still hears voice of that undersecretary, President of Tribunal, who blurted out: "As long as I am responsible re will not be a single woman, because arrival of Maria Rosa is entrance of woman." He showed up three times. In first did not approve because he had just prepared 300 mes for three months and played in hype several related to economy, least had been prepared and what was n so excited. The second and third overcame test by choosing most difficult subjects, so that re would be no doubt of ir interest and preparation. Approved without square.

A President of Tribunal became so abrupt in his justification: "This squirts blood". With anor he faceded by short note that he imposed on him: a five scraping which he again left on verge of overcoming contest and who confessed that he could be right in his claim with an Englishman "No coment". Already n, Maria Rosa was news, grabbed attention of her future companions and was followed by high authorities of regime, with ministers, businessmen and senior officials who wanted her in her agenda. Don't arredró. Even when he finally won in 1971 his position tried to provoke a manipulation of compulsory medical examination to prevent him from exercising. That trick didn't thrive eir.

All efforts, studies, tuitions, international courses, summers in London to improve English, obstacles, slashes of future companions and even breakup of ir courtship formed ir resolve to not abandon. To debut he had or options and recommendations but on his pilgrimage and for professional pride ended up choosing Ethiopia. "I have always been a walking Quixote and have done things and taken posts that perhaps now would not repeat," he says now with a certain tone of lament and complaint for various mistreatments received. But he went to Ethiopia, a 32-year-old woman, single, and won many of his companions and managed to put down a resolution of Organization for African Unity (OAU) on africanization of Canary Islands.

Between his stage in Ethiopia and n in Ivory Coast, where he already arrived as an ambassador but later than his fellow promotion, he won French nickname of "The Iron Lady". He doesn't like it. He had to prove his fortitude and threw when he offered to mediate successfully, hiring peliculera by means of a helicopter Rambo-style, for release of six kidnapped religious in helpless Sierra Leone by guerrillas of front Revolutionary United (RUF).

In his 40-year career, which he retired in 2006 coinciding with publication of his controversial memoirs, Women and Diplomacy, he had opportunity to try several experiences close to politics. He worked in Madrid for both teams of curator Eduardo Serra and socialist Narcís Serra, when he was appointed high office in Ministry of Defense. It suffered tripping and boycotts: "They go for you". She was accused of ideological proximity, rejecting: "I was 100% professional in my career." And he suffered various discriminations, but rar than for his sex because of incompetence of his interlocutors: "To be a pioneer in Spain is very difficult, because re are many jealousies of or's success, but when I was with an ambassador or intelligent companion re was no Problem but y did emerge when y crossed mediocre. "

Today's diplomatic women, who are almost half of latest promotions but barely reach 10% of ambassadors, recommends ir particular recipe: "To go ahead with enthusiasm, thrust and vocation, to ignore stabs." This Thursday historical Maria Rosa Boceta, sick of influenza, did not go to feminist demonstration that sees too politicized but to an act summoned by 19 foreign ambassadors accredited in Spain with its own motto in mind: "I have never believed in quotas But it makes no sense that re is no foreign minister in Spain and of course I support claim of equality. "


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