14 Mar 2018

Spanish politicians change their minds about 8 March 

The resounding impact and scope of the general strike of Spanish women on March 8 prompted many politicians to alter their discourse and adopt a much warmer tone towards the struggle for gender equality.

Tonina Alomar
Tonina Alomar NewsMavens, Spain
Source: Publico
Spanish politicians change their minds about 8 March  - NewsMavens
Women's march in Ottawa. Wikicommons

Why this story matters:

After a day of massive demonstrations across Spain to celebrate Women’s Day, most participants agreed that this year was a watershed moment. Political parties that had criticized the demonstrations in the past suddenly retracted and stressed the importance of such events.

President Mariano Rajoy, who did not support Women's Day marches initially, ended up wearing a purple ribbon as a show of solidarity.

The rising star of the right-wing, Andrea Levy, who had stated that the strike was "elitist, unsupportive and irresponsible" changed her tune and said that the day had been a show of "consideration, solidarity, understanding and joint efforts for equality”.

Unfortunately, these sudden changes of heart did not lead to concrete policy proposals -- the Spanish government's plan to improve the condition of women is still as vague as it ever was. But at least Spanish politicians will no longer be able to pretend that their countrywomen are satisfied with the status quo.

women's issues, gender,protests

Details from the story:

  • According to the Davos Forum, Spain dropped 17 places in rankings of gender equality between 2006 and 2018. It now is 29th on the list.
  • Under the slogan "If we stop, the world stops," supporters of feminism flooded the streets of Madrid, Barcelona, Zaragoza and other cities and towns.
  • Spain was the only country to stage a general strike backed by the unions. Spanish unions said 5.3 million women went on strike during Women’s Day.
  • Politicians who called Women's Day an "elitist, unsupportive and irresponsible" event that promoted the "confrontation" between men and women called the event a "great triumph" this year.
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