On the occasion of International Women’s Day, women workers of Spain went on an unprecedented strike to mark growing gender inequality and discrimination based on sex. Nearly 5.3 million women joined the strike which is backed by 10 unions and also has the support of the top women administrators of the country. The women gathered in the streets in thousands shouting the slogan, “if we stop, the world stops’.
The women stopped all work and were asked by the organisers to not to spend any money and forego all the domestic chores for one day. The protestors blocking the primary roads were blocked by the police but many areas came to a complete halt. The strike also affected public transport. Marches were held in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Bilbao etc. Many events have been organised in about 200 Spanish locations. The strike also marked absence some of the prominent women from their programmes. The strike has been organized by the 8 March Commission which has a manifesto calling for “a society free of sexist oppression, exploitation and violence”. It stands against discrimination in salary as women as paid less for same work men do.
Men were also allowed to join the strike as single-gender strikes are banned under Spanish law. Women are paid 13% and 19% less than males in public and private sectors respectively.
The International Women’s Day began with the labour movement which ultimately became a UN-recognised move an event. It was in 1908 when approximately 15,000 women protested in New York City for a reduction in working hours, right to vote and even better pay. The day was later declared as the National Woman’s Day in 1909. It took an international turn when Clara Zetkin gave the idea at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910. The day first saw the light of the day in 1911 when it was celebrated by Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. This year we are celebrating 107th International Women’s day.The day is thus a reminder to the society, of the importance of women in home, society, politics and economics.