Spanish women hold strike against inequality, macho culture

11 March 2018, 01:04 | Santos Harmon

Women shout slogans during a protest at the Sol square during the International Women's Day in Madrid Thursday March 8 Credit AP

Women shout slogans during a protest at the Sol square during the International Women's Day in Madrid Thursday March 8

Two leading unions, the CCOO and UGT, said that by lunchtime the strike had already been a "great success", with 5.3 million women across the country joining the first of three two-hour stoppages.

Spain marked International Women's Day on Thursday with an unprecedented strike in defense of their rights that saw hundreds of trains cancelled and massive protests held in Madrid and Barcelona.

The Spanish government has said it respects the decision to strike although it has refrained from supporting it openly.

Feminist groups also called on women not to spend money, particularly on items such as deodorant, whose versions created for women often cost more. Women on strike also set up road blocks in Spain.

"Today we call for a society free of sexist oppression, exploitation and violence", the commission said in its manifesto, according to The Guardian. "We call for rebellion and a struggle against the alliance of the patriarchy and capitalism that wants us to be obedient, submissive and quiet".

Women also joined marches and strikes across the world to mark the day and demand an end to violence against women and discrimination, Morning Star Online reported.

A poll of for El Pais found 82 per cent supported the strike while 76 per cent thought women living in Spain had more hard lives than their male counterparts. We do not accept worse working conditions, nor being paid less than men for the same work. Morning Star Online said almost 1000 women in Pakistan are killed by close relatives each year in "honour killings".

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In the Philippine capital of Manila, hundreds of women dressed in pink and purple took to the streets to protest the 4,000 people killed under President Rodrigo Duterte and his heavy-handed crackdown on illicit drugs.

Across Asia, women came out to mark the day.

Smaller protests were held in dozens of cities across the country as women hung aprons on their balconies in a pre-arranged sign they were ditching domestic chores for the day. South Korea's anti-sexual violence movement has gained significant traction since January, when a female prosecutor began publicly raising workplace mistreatment and sexual misconduct.

In Afghanistan, hundreds of women marched on Thursday to Kabul to bring attention to inequities in education, violence against women, and harassment.

In Myanmar, de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi urged women to build peaceful democracies using their strength in politics, economics and social issues.

The head of the the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, Sima Samar, reportedly said to women in Afghan security forces, "Your safety represents the safety of all Afghan women" and that they have an obligation to report abuse they witness.

For its part, French left-wing newspaper Liberation put up its price for the day by $0.50, but only for men, to make a point about the wage gap.

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