May 9, 2019 – Updated May 13, 2019, 14:57
Esther Miguel Trula
Few things we like more than to self-flagellate ourselves and lament the piece of junk of a country that has been left to us (that has been left to us in the last 200 years), and we have pointed out earlier some examples of those not so positive exceptionalities that place us in disadvantage with respect to others (mainly as regards employment and social economic guarantees).
But the brand Spain strikes back, both the concept and the organization. This week our Minister of Defense of Spain, Margarita Robles, has just awarded a historian for analyzing how the black legend spread thanks to British and American cinema. And also the government project of the same name has been working for years for the internal and external awareness of everything we should be proud of.
Here is a short list of references to keep in mind for the next time we want to curse the land we step on (and in which we pay our taxes).
We are a very safe country
According to Eurostat statistics, Spain is the third country with the lowest rate of murders and homicides in the 40 European countries (only Germany and France have a lower murder rate). Counting the rest of the crimes, we are among the 10 best in Europe, and globally, according to the Global Peace Index we are in the 23rd position among 114 countries.
In this regard, it is not necessary to go to war zones: in the United States they live worse than here, and as those who have experienced coexistence in insecure countries know, this is a crucial factor for the quality of life.
And we are the ones feeling themselves least superior to others
Pew Research asked European citizens if they believed that their culture is superior to that of others. And there arose that popular Spanish self-hate: only 20% of the Spaniards surveyed believed themselves superior. 45% of the German, British or Italian respondents did not hesitate to show their chauvinism, and among the countries of Eastern Europe the figures were even worse.
Religion does not define us
We are also one of the countries that least associates “religious identity” with “national identity”. According to Pew, to date, only 9% of Spaniards believe that faith is indispensable for the definition of their national identity. The number of respondents in countries such as Greece exceeded 50%, in the USA 32%, in Italy 30% and in the United Kingdom 18%. Spain has almost completely succeeded in separating the church from the nation.
And we know who to blame for climate change
Only the Austrians win, but, behind them, we are the country that most supports the human factor as responsible for global warming. We practically double the support rates for the anthropogenic factor in Russia, the United Kingdom, Norway or Ireland.
We are vanguard in homosexual marriage
As many will know, and in large part thanks to the early implementation of gay marriage (we were the third country in the world in legally approving it, just after the Netherlands and Belgium) we have this right more than assumed. Only 7% of citizens object “strongly”. Only the Swedish and the Danish win us in tolerance.
And the country where homosexuality is most accepted
Yes, one thing leads to the other. In 2016, Pew Research published a survey with data from 2013 where only 6% of Spaniards surveyed considered homosexuality morally unacceptable, and in another different survey from the same year, to the question “Should society accept homosexuality?”, we led the world ranking along with Germany with 87% and 88% respectively stating that it should be accepted.
According to Pew Research, there are more positive views on homosexuality “in countries where religion occupies a less central position in the lives of people”.
Among those who believe most in the training of women
Still today in countries like China, Russia or Japan there is a good part of the population that believes that men are “better able to contribute to society in things such as working, earning money, training themselves or educating than women”. According to a survey conducted by Ipsos in 2017, Spain stood out in front of all of them when digging up this myth: only 9% of our compatriots think so.
The country that least justifies the rape together with Sweden
Or put another way, Spain is one of the countries where acts such as La Manada are less justified.
The Eurobarometer in 2017 did a survey across Europe to know how many of its citizens justified having sex without consent under certain circumstances, such as being drunk or that the other person has decided to accompany you to your home. We can be proud again: only 8% of Spaniards justify the violation, against 27% of the European average, and are the least inclined to defend it together with Sweden (6%).
We are also one of the most egalitarian countries at work
According to the latest annual survey of the Workplace Equality Index, which used data collected by the World Bank, Spain is the fourth country with a legal framework that best protects equal opportunities between men and women when accessing, promoting or being protected against abuses. We got 92.9 points in “equality” out of 100. Ahead, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. And in the same level, Mexico, Bosnia or Latvia. Although, as the same report warns, it is a technical analysis, not a practical one.
And the European country with the most women in the government
We lead the female presence in the executive at European level: 52.4% of our ministers in the current government are women, above paradises in the rights of women like Sweden or Finland, and well ahead of the EU average, a 30.2%
Also the last elections has left another important photo: according to the 2018 data of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and comparing it with the women who have taken a seat, just now the Spanish Congress is the most parity-compliant in Europe (if we look at the proportionality among the genres) and the fifth worldwide.
Thanks to the sum of all the above, it is clear why we are also the fifth best country in the world to be born as a woman.
The most “refugees welcome”
In figures for 2018, and several years after having lived with the arrival of (approximately) two million refugees from Syria and Afghanistan to Europe, up to an 86% of Spaniards were in favor of welcoming them into our country, something that counteracts the vision of our neighbors. Although, being fair, the figures of demographic impact of this population within our borders are not the same as in Germany or Italy.
In any case, we are also the least likely to blame them for the country’s level of criminality.
A very healthy country
According to the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index for 2019, we have taken the lead as the healthiest country in the world. It is a combination, according to Bloomberg, of several factors: champions of life expectancy, with exceptionally good primary and universal care and a progressive and successful prevention of deaths from cancer and cardiovascular problems.
They also believe that the Mediterranean diet affects us positively, although we must remember that, at a nutritional level, we have our problems: we are the second country on the continent with more obese people.
We have been global leaders in organ donation for 27 years
The average of the European Union stands at 22.3 donors per million inhabitants, figures that we have surpassed almost thirty years ago. Currently in Spain we are in the 48 donors per million inhabitants. This is thanks to the enormous awareness of the population and to an extension of the categories of donors which other countries do not end up approving.
We are the fourth country with the best level of conciliation
You will be surprised, but yes, according to the OECD the majority of European citizens (letting aside Dutch, Danish and French) has, on average, less free and family time than we do. Specifically we have, on average, one hour a day more of “life” than the others. This is tricky, of course: the average hours worked by Spaniards is close to 30 a week, and this is a lot to do with the part-time work and the extreme precariousness of employment in which we live.
The sixth world exporter of audiovisual products
Just as you are hearing, we are only behind the US, the United Kingdom, France, Canada and Germany. These figures are analysed by the foundation Real Instituto Elcano and do not coincide with UNESCO data, but it may be due to the fact that the definition of “cultural product” does not coincide with what each one of them takes as different works. According to Elcano our main clients are France, United Kingdom and Germany, and our great strength is the television formats (for example, Survivors or Masterchef) and fiction series (The Ministry of Time, The Paper House).
And the fifth in the world in exports in general
Speaking in relative terms to GDP, not in absolute terms. Yes, we export more than the United States, China, France or Japan, even if it does not look like it. We are a tremendously exporting country, and we owe it to an inmense variety of products: fruits and vegetables, textiles, medicines or electrical components (we are not highly dependent on oil, so the future is anticipated quite well). Although the jewel of our crown are the automotive exports, a subsector that we should protect as if our life depended on it.