Women begin first feminist general strike in Catalonia
Reduced public transport service and road disruptions due to early morning protests
Catalonia is experiencing its first major general strike to protest against gender inequality in the country coinciding with March 8, the International Women’s Day. The action was already evident in the early morning, with reduced public transport service and some road cuts in Barcelona’s city center because of feminist protests. The mobilization goes beyond giving up work for one day, because its organizers propose a strike in consumption, education and taking care of elderly people. Although the protest can also be followed by men, it is mainly focused on women, as its motto is clear: ‘If women stop, the world stops.’
Several demonstrations will be held during the day, including a major one in central Barcelona at 6.30pm. The strike, called by a number of trade unions across Spain, is organized in Catalonia by the March 8 Committee and more than 320 associations have signed its manifesto, including associations of students, unions of doctors, and the Third Sector Board. The two major trade unions in Catalonia called two-hour stoppages per shift, while some minor unions extended the strike for the whole day.
Most parties support the strike
Catalan political parties representing 70% of the seats in the Parliament support the action, that is, all of them except for unionist Ciutadans and the People’s Party. The pro-independence parties and in between pro-independence and unionist Catalunya en Comú announced that they are following the full-day strike, unionist Socialist party follows the two-hour stoppage. While the women in Barcelona’s local government are joining the strike, the female Spanish ministers will work as an ordinary day.
Gender gap in Catalonia
In Catalonia, women get paid 24% less than men on average, according to figures of the Observatory for Work and Productive Model. When they retire, their pension is 40% less than men’s, says trade union CCOO, and only 9% of working women are in a managerial position, according to Infojobs.