The first of three Reconocidas 2022 (recognised 2022) galas to be held across Malaga province this month took place in Nerja on Monday and honoured six women from the Axarquía.
Blanca López, Elena López, María Belén Guerrero, María José Navarta, Pilar Delgado and Pilar Serrán were all recognised for their contribution to promoting gender equality and contributions to the empowerment of women in their towns and fields of work. Between them they represent the business, social, sporting, research and cultural sectors.
Blanca López is a hammer throw athlete from Nerja, Elena López a mechanic from Rincón de la Victoria and Pilar Delgado, ex-councillor of Rincón de la Victoria and president of the Rincón Contigo Association; María Belén Guerrero is a truck driver from Sayalonga; María José Navarta is a local policewoman from Algarrobo as well as a former football player and coach.
A posthumous award went to Pilar Serrán, former president of 'Esperanza' - the Axarquía association of women with breast cancer, who died last August.
In their speeches the women all said they were "deeply grateful” for the recognition and stressed "the importance" of such events to promote equality. The young sportswoman from Nerja has won three international medals, nine in Andalusian championships and has eight medals from different national events.
The truck driver from Sayalonga, as she likes to be called, has clocked up more than four million kilometres behind the wheel and has become a reference point in the fight for gender equality and an example for other women.
Navarta has been a local police officer in Algarrobo since 1999 and has been involved in sport from an early age, playing for almost a decade for the women's team of Málaga FC. Delgado is the president of the Rincón Contigo Association and was councillor for social welfare, the elderly, immigration, consumer affairs and health. Her aim, she said, is to "give visibility to women in order to put an end to inequality".
Malaga's provincial authority, the Diputación, which organises the annual event, gave posthumous recognition to the businesswoman Pilar Serrán, who specialised in the design and manufacture of flamenco fashion as well as clothes for special occasions including communions. Until her death last August, she was president of 'Esperanza', and as such was recognised for her charity and entrepreneurial work in the Axarquia.
The event has been held since 2012 to recognise women who have contributed to promoting gender equality in Malaga province, especially in municipalities with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants. This year, instead of hosting a single event in the Edgar Neville Auditorium of the Diputación in Malaga city centre, three separate galas are to be held; in the Axarquia, Guadalhorce and Antequera.
"With this new format, ‘Reconocida’ will continue to distinguish the work of women across Malaga who represent the business, social, sporting, research, charitable or cultural fabric of their municipalities,” said Natacha Rivas, vicepresident of the Diputación. The next events will take place on 22 March in Álora, for the Guadalhorce Valley and on 24 March in Antequera.