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'If women stop, the world stops': Five questions on feminism in Catalonia

Catalan News asked an activist from one of the groups behind the International Women’s Day strike in Barcelona about her thoughts on feminism in the territory

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08 March 2019 11:13 AM

by

Daniel Wittenberg | Barcelona

The feminist movement in Catalonia has evolved considerably over the last 12 months.

Encouraged by the success of the inaugural general strike in 2018, which saw hundreds of thousands of women take part in Barcelona alone, and motivated by the openly anti-feminist policies promoted by far-right political parties and campaigns attempting to publicly shame the movement, feminist groups are stepping up the fight against contemporary injustices.

Erendira Leon, a campaigner from Barcelona Women’s March, one of the associations involved in organising the International Women’s Day demonstrations, shares her thoughts.

What is happening in Catalonia today?

Today is the general strike, so women are not attending work, students are not attending class. We have the idea -- and we want to accomplish that idea even more than what we saw last year – that if women stop, actually the world stops.

What was the impact of last year’s strike?

I think it encouraged people to go out and stand up more. I think it encouraged people to take an even stronger stand, politically against capitalism and light feminism, or parties who pretend to sell feminism but are actually encouraging a more liberal view of it.

What characterises feminism in Catalonia?

It's really affected by migrant communities, which is actually something that I admire. It's a really multicultural context, so it's not that anyone is fighting for their own benefit. I think we are fighting now for something that is affecting everyone on different levels... 

  • "[Feminism in Catalonia] is affected by migrant communities"

    Eréndira León · Feminist activist

We are not fighting from a position that, if you were born in Catalonia, you are different from somebody who was born in South America and came here as a migrant.

What did you think about the recent campaign comparing feminists to 'Nazis'?

I think it makes me have quite confused emotions because it's really surreal that we are living in 2019 and someone can go out and even use an image of Hitler, painted with feminist symbols, and dare to say so many lies about the nature of the feminist movement.

How do you respond to anti-feminist sentiment in Spain?

Somebody who already has economic and political power does not want to see those privileges frightened by the rise of feminism and they will act against it and many other people will follow. But I think the people who follow do not know that they are actually voting and helping people to maintain those interests rather than their own interests.

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  • Erendira Leon is a senior campaigner for Barcelona Women's March

  • Erendira Leon is a senior campaigner for Barcelona Women's March

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