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Women strike for equality

Six million women join Spanish protests

Two major flashpoints on International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March came in Turkey and in Spain.

In contrast to previous years, the Turkish government announced beforehand that no IWD demonstration would be allowed on Istanbul’s central shopping street, Istiklal Avenue.

Thousands of women gathered in Taksim Square anyway and faced riot police firing tear gas and using dogs to break up the protest.

In Spain, the two largest unions, the CCOO and the UGT, organised two-hour stoppages on 8 March, while other unions held 24-hour strikes. The UGT estimated that over six million women joined the protest.

Over 80 percent of women teaching at Spanish universities observed the two-hour strike, according to the CCOO, joined by over 60 percent of women teachers in secondary schools.

There were major IWD demonstrations in Madrid (350,000 women), Valencia (220,000) and Barcelona (200,000), with smaller events throughout the country.

The day before IWD, women in Delhi, India, released a working women’s manifesto which called for an end to gender discrimination and sexual violence, and a guaranteed monthly salary for ASHA community healthcare workers.

In the Philippines, thousands of women marched in Manila against president Rodrigo Duterte’s misogynistic statements. For example, last year, Duterte ordered soldiers to shoot female communist guerrillas in the vagina.

‘If we stop...’

In Germany, Berlin declared 8 March an official holiday, the first authority in the EU to do so. (IWD is a public holiday in 27 countries including North Korea.)

The German women’s group Frauen*Streik called for protest against unpaid labour: ‘all women and queers nationwide to sit in public areas with chairs between 5pm and midnight and to put off any work’.

There were hundreds of IWD events in the UK, including action organised by the Women’s Strike Assembly UK.

Radical publisher Pluto Press and radical bookshop Housmans, both in London, closed completely for the day, while women in other radical workplaces joined the strike.

Topics: Feminism