On March 8 the women of Spain will take part in the first national strike to combat wage inequality and gender violence. For 24 hours, women are being called on to drop everything—from briefcases to brooms—and take to the streets and protest.
Here’s what you need to know about the demonstrations:
Who and What:
Women all over the country will stay home from work on March 8, International Women’s Day, in the first nationwide strike to end “macho culture” in Spain.
Smaller strikes were held last year on International Women’s Day, but this is the first time there is a coordinated national effort to encourage women to stay home in every region of the country.
The strike has received an endorsement from Madrid and Barcelona mayors Manuela Carmena and Ada Colau, and from two of Spain’s largest unions, the Workers’ Commissions (CCOO) and the General Union of Workers (UGT). They have both called workers to stage two two-hour strikes to protest wage inequities between men and women.
According to a Metroscopia poll, the feminist strike has the support of 82 percent of all Spaniards, who believe that there are sufficient motives for women to protest discrimination in the home and workplace.
The strike is an effort to end the “macho culture,” that 80 percent of Spaniards feel pervades Spanish society, according to Metroscopia. Women are taking aim at the salary gap, domestic violence, and sexual harassment that occur as a result of this culture.
Women in Spain earn 12.7 percent less per hour in comparison to their male counterparts while working the same jobs and completing similar tasks, according to a study by the Foundation for the Study of Applied Economics (FEDEA).
The inequities go beyond the workplace– women spend 26.5 hours on unpaid work such as caring for children or other family members, household tasks and chores, or work at non-profit organizations, as compared to 14 hours for men according to the country’s National Institute of Statistics (INE).
The organizers of the strike have urged women to strike these “invisible” tasks too.
One of the strike’s demands is that the government makes greater efforts to fight the salary gap, as well as increase measures to protect women from gender violence.
In 2017, 99 women were killed by their partners last year in incidents of domestic violence in Spain, according to the 8M commission, and in 2016 there were 28,281 officially registered female victims of gender violence according to INE.
Almost one-third of all women in Spain – 32 percent – report feeling sexually harassed at least once in their lifetime, a figure that rises to 47 percent among women in the 18-34-age bracket.
The international #MeToo movement has helped to shed light on the fact that hardly any statistical data exists in Spain to understand the scale of sexual harassment of women.
No data exist about sexual harassment claims in or out of the workplace.
The 8M commission has called for a 24-hour strike, and those who want to take part are legally required to inform their employers in advance. By law, they will be docked a day’s pay.
In addition to the strike, different demonstrations will take place throughout the day.
In Madrid, the march will start at 19:00 from Atocha ending in Plaza Espana.
In Barcelona, a march from Paseo de Gracia to Plaza de Cataluña begins at 18:30
In Valencia at 18:30 from the Jardins del Parterre and in Seville at 19:00 from Plaza Nurva de la Alameda.
Find your local demonstration here.
“Bicipiquetes,” a form of protest in which cyclists will slowly pedal through main streets, are also planned all over the country. Find your local one here.