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'Sexist' mayor in Madrid under fire for handing out aprons and nail files

Julan Soler has been criticised for handing out the items to people taking part in a race for International Women's Day

A local Spanish mayor has been accused being intentionally sexist after he handed out aprons and nail files to people participating in an event to support International Women’s Day.

Juan Soler, a member of the ruling conservative People's party (PP), distributed the items during a race in the Spanish town of Getafe, near Madrid.

Socialist party member Carmen Toledo lambasted Soler, the Mayor of Getafe, for spending public money on items that “perpetuate the stereotype that women belong at home”.

Speaking to Spain's El Mundo newspaper, she described his actions as “intentionally chauvinistic”.

"What women need are steps that favour a true change of mentality and social transformation in order to attain equality," Toledo added.

Toledo highlighted the party’s efforts to limit access to abortions in Spain. The governing People’s Party, backed by the Catholic Church, is adamant that access to abortion should be curtailed.

The planned changes to the law would make the procedure illegal, except in rape cases, or where two doctors independently certify that a failure to abort would damage the women’s mental or physical health.

Toledo also pointed to public sector cuts that have affected women, such as reduced child-care bursaries.

Madrid officials defended Soler's actions by arguing that the aprons were supposed to be handed to men and the nail files to women, as a way of encouraging equality.

They said the items were promotional items that had been given to them by a city-owned waste collection firm.