The rallying cry — “if we stop, the world stops” — is crystal clear.
And for the second year running, women in Spain appear to be living up to its promise, bringing life to a virtual halt via a nationwide strike to mark International Women’s Day.
The ultimate goal of organizers — “subverting the world order and the pervading hetero-patriarchal, racist and neoliberal rhetoric” — is unlikely to be achieved in a single day. But the movement, which claims 5.3 million Spaniards participated in last year’s work stoppage, is spreading to other European nations.
In Italy, solidarity strikes have shut down public transit in Rome, and much of the country’s rail system, while flights and ferries were stopped for two hours in the afternoon. Tens of thousands of women in France left their jobs at 3:40 p.m. — the point at which an average 26 per cent pay gap (compared to their male colleagues) sees them working for free. A feminist strike in Greece drew protesting crowds across the country.
Further afield, International Women’s Day was marked by marches in India and Pakistan, while 4,000 people gathered outside the presidential palace in Manila, Philippines, to decry Rodrigo Duterte’s past jokes about rape and abusing his family’s maid.
Other places failed to rise to the challenge.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison sparked a backlash after his International Women’s Day address in Perth seemed to focus more on the feelings of men.
But nothing really compares to Russia, which has marked the day as a national holiday since the 1960s, but seems to have transformed it into a quasi-Valentine’s celebration, filled with flowers and compliments, as evidenced in this bizarre video posted by the country’s ministry of emergency services.