International Women's Day marked by huge strike in Spain, global protests

Huge demonstration as part of the women's strike for IWD in Madrid, March 8.

About five million women went on strike and marched in Spain on March 8 in support of a call for an international women’s strike to mark International Women’s Day and demand a just and egalitarian society, TeleSUR English said that day.

Organised around the slogan “If we stop, the world stops”, the manifesto of the strike’s organisers, the March 8 Commission, declared: “It is not our aim to organize a ‘classic’ workers strike but to go beyond this format: our plan is to paralyse all the different invisible tasks and activities that women usually do, in all different levels and places.”

The strike was accompanied by demonstrations in more than 200 cities and towns across the Spanish state, Common Dreams said. Organisers also urged women to stop all paid and unpaid work including domestic chores and to avoid spending money.

Hundreds of trains were cancelled across Madrid’s subway service, which came to a grinding halt. Women carrying purple flags blocked roads in Madrid and Barcelona.

The strike aimed to call attention to Spain’s persistent gender wage gap, domestic violence and sex discrimination in the workplace. In Spain, women earn an average of 23% less than men, according to 2015 National Statistics Institute data.

The March 8 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.”

Women also joined marches and strikes across the world to mark the day and demand an end to violence against women and discrimination, Morning Star Online reported.

At rallies in Pakistan’s largest cities, women denounced male violence. Morning Star Online said nearly 1000 women in Pakistan are killed by close relatives each year in “honour killings”.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was the target of a protest in central Manila by hundreds of activists in pink and purple shirts. Protesters said the president was among the worst violators of women’s rights in Asia. They handed out  red and white roses to mothers, sisters and widows of people killed as part of Duterte’s violent crackdown on the poor in the name of the “war on drugs”.

In South Korea, hundreds of protesters rallied in central Seoul, many wearing black and holding “#MeToo” signs. South Korea’s anti-sexual violence movement has gained significant traction since January, when a female prosecutor began publicly raising workplace mistreatment and sexual misconduct.

In India, hundreds of women marched through the capital New Delhi to bring attention to domestic violence, sexual attacks and discrimination in jobs and wages. “Unite against violence against women,” one placard urged. “Man enough to say no to domestic abuse,” said another. “My body, My choice.”

For its part, French left-wing newspaper Liberation put up its price for the day by $0.50, but only for men, to make a point about the wage gap.

Hundreds of thousands of  woman across Latin America also marched on IWD, as can be seen in the huge demonstration from Uruguay below (via TeleSUR English's Facebook page)

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