‘If we stop, the world stops’
Today, on International Women’s Day, thousands of Spanish women have abandoned all of their paid and unpaid work in support of the country’s first ever “feminist strike”. Organised by umbrella organisation Comisión 8M, for 24 hours, every woman in Spain is encouraged to drop everything and take to the streets in protest of the patriarchy that Spanish women say pervades the country’s culture.
Not holding back at all in their manifesto, the commission said: “Today we call for a society free of sexist oppression, exploitation and violence. We call for rebellion and a struggle against the alliance of the patriarchy and capitalism that wants us to be obedient, submissive and quiet. We do not accept worse working conditions, nor being paid less than men for the same work. That is why we are calling a work strike.”
Under the slogan “If we stop, the world stops”, the strike aims to bring attention to and fight the salary gap, domestic violence, and sexual harassment that occur as a result of Spain’s machista culture. By encouraging women to give up all household tasks as well as their paid jobs, the commission also hope to bring awareness to the reported 26.5 hours extra work that women in Spain undertake on unpaid, so-called “invisible work” like childcare and looking after other family members.
According to reports by Spanish news outlet The Local, women in Spain earn 12.7 per cent less per hour for the same work as men, almost one third of all women in the country report feeling sexually harassed at least once in their life, and last year 99 women in Spain were killed by their partners in incidents of domestic violence. Many high-profile Spanish politicians, including Ada Colau and Manuela Carmena, the mayors of Barcelona and Madrid respectively, have come out in support of the strike. A reported 82 per cent of the population support the strike’s motives, according to El Pais.
The revolutionary strike that takes place today across Spain today (March 8), has already brought traffic to a standstill. With over 120 street demonstrations planned, the women of Spain are already literally bringing the country to a halt. 30 per cent of all trains across the country have been cancelled due to demonstrations and lack of staff. It’s expected to continue throughout the day as they come together to smash the patriarchy.