On March 8, Women’s Day is celebrated internationally. But do you know why the United Nations institutionalized this day in 1975? Gender differences have led to historical inequalities between men and women. Although this gap is getting smaller little by little, it is true that life in society can be harder for a woman than for a man. That is why during this day the need for equity of opportunities for all people, regardless of their gender, is brought to light.
It can be considered that the Women’s Day had its origin in 1909 in New York. In this city there was a protest organized by women of a socialist party that gathered more than 15,000 ladies. They demanded better wages, reduced working hours and the right to vote. Two years later the tragedy that triggered the struggle happened. On March 25, 1911, the shirt factory Triangle Shirtwaist burned at dawn when hundreds of workers were inside the building and could not escape, as the owners had blocked all access to prevent theft. Many employees jumped through the windows to escape the flames and living in terrible panic.
As a result, 123 women and 23 men died that night. The majority of the victims were young immigrants of Jewish and Italian origin, between 14 and 23 years old. This terrible event had great repercussions in the labor legislation of the United States of America and in the subsequent celebrations of International Women’s Day.
The First International Women’s Strike
Although this day has been celebrated since then over the years, on March 8, 2017, the First International Women’s Strike was held. That day millions of women from more than 50 countries took to the streets to make visible the problem of sexist violence in its many forms. Women have suffered oppression by patriarchy in the sexual, social, cultural, political and economic spheres over the years. Determined to put an end to oppression, on March 8, 2018, a legal strike was organized for the first time in history. A real equality between men and women was demanded. This protest was held in more than 170 countries with strikes by women that had their origin in the Argentine movement against gender violence “Vivas nos queremos” (We want us alive).
This peaceful strike had an unprecedented follow-up in Spain. It was a historic day. It is estimated that some six million people supported the strike, either with partial or 24-hour work stoppages. The effort to broadcasting of the women journalists was one of the keys to the success of this strike, dyeing the Spanish streets purple. The Spanish political leaders were quick to hang medals to themselves and claim the success of the feminist movement for their parties, partly tarnishing the achievements of a struggle that should be apolitical.
The strike of March 8, 2019
But what is expected for today, March 8, 2019? Obviously, the fight continues. For this day protests have been organized throughout Spain. “Caceroladas” (protests with pots and pans), diverse concentrations, information pickets and gatherings. Furthermore, in the afternoon there will be protests in the main cities of the country and it is expected that they will have a massive follow-up even greater than in previous years.
In Madrid the march will start at 7:00 p.m. and will go from Atocha to Cibeles. In Barcelona the protest will start at 6:30 pm and will go from Plaza de España to Plaza Cataluña. On the other hand, in Valencia the protest will take place at 18:00 from the Xàtiva subway station to Pont de Fusta. There will also be marches in Toledo, Murcia, Seville, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Valladolid, Santander, Santiago de Compostela, Vigo, Bilbao, Logroño, Vitoria, Santander, Gijón, Pamplona, Zaragoza, Badajoz, Mérida, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Palma de Mallorca.
Now is the time to fight for equality. For equal rights, for equal opportunities, for equal respect. For streets where women can walk at any time of the day without fear. For a society without violence at home. And for a better world in which no one has to fight to claim rights that are inherent to the human being.