Women went on strike in Spain on Thursday, International Women’s Day, and chanted, “If we stop, the world stops.” For 24 hours, women will not go to work or perform unpaid household labor. They will also abstain from purchasing anything today.
At midnight in Madrid, protesters went to the central square and banged pots and pans. The 8 March Commission is the umbrella group responsible for planning the strike.
“Today we call for a society free of sexist oppression, exploitation and violence,” the commission said in its manifesto, according to The Guardian. “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.”
Although most of Spain’s unions advocated for a 24-hour strike, two of the largest unions called for a work stoppage of just two hours, according to CNN. Ada Colau, the mayor of Barcelona, said she would join the strike. Women in Spain earn 12.7 percent less than men considering every variable, such as age, seniority, occupation, and working day. Women have also been pressuring the government to tackle the issue of domestic violence, Al Jazeera reported last year. Reports of abuse against women are increasing and activist sites like Feminicio.net are counting murders of women.
According to an El Pais poll, 82 percent of Spaniards say there are sufficient reasons for a women’s strike, but the ruling center-right party, the Partido Popular (PP), said the strike was “for feminist elites and not real women with everyday problems.”
More than 300 trains were cancelled in Spain as workers go on strike, the country’s transport ministry announced. Women on strike also set up road blocks in Spain.
Women are going on strikes and protesting across the world on Thursday. Women all over the Balkans are protesting and attending rallies that focus on “re-traditionalisation, fascism, nationalism and patriarchy” according to BalkanInsight.
Women’s advocacy groups in South Korea held rallies on Thursday and brought attention to sexual abuse.
“We will join the Me Too movement until the end to eradicate all types of sexual violence that infringe upon women’s rights,” said The Korean National Council of Women (KNCW) in a statement.
In Milan, thousands of students marched to protest Italian doctors’ refusal to perform abortions, according to The New York Times. Asia Argento, who accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, marched with the students.
In Afghanistan, hundreds of women marched on Thursday to Kabul to bring attention to inequities in education, violence against women, and harassment.
The head of the the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, Sima Samar, reportedly said to women in Afghan security forces, “Your safety represents the safety of all Afghan women” and that they have an obligation to report abuse they witness.
Two days before International Women’s Day, teachers in West Virginia secured a deal for a 5 percent raise for themselves and all state employees after nine days on strike. Seventy-six percent of public school teachers are women.