Women across Spain are going on strike on Thursday – International Women’s Day – to demand equality in the workplace and at home, as well as to draw attention to domestic violence and other abuses.
During the nationwide, 24-hour strike, which is the first of its kind in Spain, women are being encouraged to do no cooking, cleaning or other household tasks and instead attend marches planned in cities across the country.
The strike has been backed by Spain’s biggest unions: the Workers’ Commissions (CCOO) and the General Union of Workers (UGT), which have encouraged members to strike in two-hour intervals.
In a year marked by movements including #metoo, Spanish women want to shine a light on serious abuses of power and the inequality that, they argue, is still so prevalent in Spanish society.
The organisers of the strike want to show the importance of women in Spanish society and that without them, society will grind to a halt.
Domestic violence is an ongoing issue in Spain, where, in 2017 alone, 99 women were killed by their partners.
When it comes to work, a recent study found that Spanish women are paid, on average, 13 percent less than men who do a similar job.
“Together today we will stop the world and shout ENOUGH against all the violence that we go through,” the 8M Commission, a group of different feminist organisations behind the strike, wrote in its manifesto.
“We demand that caring roles be recognised as a social good of the highest order and we demand the redistribution of these kinds of tasks,” the commission said.
The strike has strong support among Spaniards both female and male; according to a survey published this week by Spanish daily, El País, 82 percent of Spaniards thought there was good reason for women to go on strike (87 percent of women and 72 percent of men).
The strike has drawn high-profile supporters, among them the Mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena and Barcelona Mayor, Ada Colau.
“We are joining this strike to demonstrate that without women, the world stops,” Colau told Spanish media this week.
Spanish actress Penelope Cruz said at the Spanish premiere of her new film, Loving Pablo, in Madrid on Tuesday that she too planned to strike.
How can I get involved?
If you want to take part in the strike then legally, you have to inform your workplace and will lose a day’s pay in return.
Madrid: The main march through the Spanish capital will start at Atocha at 7pm and end at Plaza de España.
Barcelona: 6.30pm from Passeig de Gràcia.
Seville: 7pm from Plaza Nueva
Valencia: 6pm from Jardín del Parterre
Bilbao: 8pm from Plaza del Sagrado Corazón
Find out times and locations of other marches across the country on the website Feministas.
Spain is not the only country planning strikes and demonstrations on Thursday; it looks set to be one of the biggest days of protest and action to ever take place on March 8. The date was adopted as International Women’s Day by the United Nations in 1975, although the day had been celebrated since the early 1900s.