Women across Spain are taking a stand against gender inequality, sexual discrimination, violence, and the country’s macho culture today, downing tools in their jobs and domestic lives for a nationwide 24-hour strike under the banner “If we stop, the world stops.”
The strike, organized by the feminist group Comisión 8M, has the backing of 10 labor unions and the support of high-profile female politicians, like Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena and Barcelona mayor Ada Colau.
“We are uniting in this strike to show that, effectively, without women the world stops,” Colau said.
The organizers asked women to ditch their domestic chores and not to spend any money for the day to highlight just how vital women are to the economy as well as the sheer amount of unpaid housework they do.
María Álvarez, from Comisión 8M said: “We women are tired: we have a double working day, we don’t have the same pay or conditions, and care-giving falls to us.”
More than 300 intercity trains and long-distance trains were cancelled on Thursday, traffic came to a halt as roads were blocked, and flights were disrupted as women flocked to the streets for the hundreds of demos. Famous female radio and TV presenters were absent from the airwaves, too.
According to the Foundation of Applied Economic Studies, women in Spain earn around 13% less than men for similar tasks. Violence against women has been rising year-on-year since 2015, and last year 49 women were killed by their partners, or ex-partners.
Hundreds of marches are taking place across the world for International Women’s Day, but the protest in Spain is the only one that is backed by unions.