Gender & Sexuality

International Women’s Day

Highlights from International Women’s Strike Around the World

March 12, 2018

On March 8, women organized the second International Women’s Strike in more than 150 countries. In the Spanish State alone, five million people mobilized. In Argentina, this year’s march marked one of the largest in a year of mobilizations. One of the slogans at the march was: "If our lives are worthless, try to produce without us"!

In the U.S., mobilizations were held in New York, Los Angeles, and other cities across the country. Although much smaller than January’s Women’s March, these mobilizations provide a political direction for the fight against deeply ingrained sexism and sexual violence. This political direction is based on independence from the Democratic Party and the recognition of the need for a women’s movement that is anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, and against all forms of oppression.

Here we highlight some of the largest mobilizations around the world:

Spanish state

Millions of men and women flooded the main cities of the Spanish State. Under the slogan "Let’s stop everything," hundreds of thousands of people protested in each major Spanish city. It was a historic day with more than 200 rallies.

Major unions such as the CGT and CNT called for a 24-hour strike. Other large trade unions such as the UGT limited themselves to calling for partial stoppages from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Even factories with predominantly male workers such as Nissan engaged in work stoppages. Over 300 trains stopped running, and major cities came a halt. The unions estimate that over 5 million people participated in the work stoppages.


Photo credits: Reuters

Photo credits: Elmundo.es

Argentina

In Argentina, there has been a wave of workers’ struggles in the past months. In December, when the government passed a pension reform law, hundreds of thousands took to the streets, facing off against police repression. Since then, workers have mobilized against layoffs in localized struggles across the country.

Also due to the massive Ni Una Menos women’s mobilizations in the past year, the right-wing Argentine government is being forced to debate and vote on the legalization of abortion. In this context, the International Women’s Strike march has immense political importance.


Photo credits: Enfoque Rojo

In Buenos Aires, the Women’s Strike march put the working class women fighting austerity front and center. In the early morning, women workers blocked roads to protest layoffs and austerity. Later,women workers held the opening banner and spoke at a massive rally. Women wore green bandanas to express support for the legalization of abortion.

Over 200,000 people mobilized in the streets of Buenos Aires, including young women, families, and elderly women. Hundreds of thousands of men marched with the women, rallying for women’s rights. The teachers’ union also called a strike for the day.


Photo credits: Enfoque Rojo

Mexico

Thousands of people marched in Mexico against femicide and poor labor conditions. Various labor unions participated, including the telephone workers’ union as well as a union of domestic workers.


Photo credits: La Izquierda Diario

Turkey

Despite the persistent rain, thousands of women flooded the street of Istanbul demanding women’s rights. They chanted "We will not obey!" and "Woman, life, freedom!" in Kurdish. Despite the recent crackdown on dissenters by President Erdogan, hundreds of thousands mobilized for women’s rights.


Photo credits: Reuters

Brazil

In Brazil, thousands took to the streets in major cities across the country. Sao Paulo had a particularly big march, which included a municipal teachers’ contingent. These teachers are on strike against a state-wide pension reform and voted at a rank-and-file assembly to join the International Women’s Strike rally. Teachers hired by the state of Sao Paulo also organized a work stoppage on March 8 and went to the protest.


Photo credits: Esquerda Diario

France

In France, there were protests in various cities. The organizers called for all supporters, including men, to engage in a work stoppage at 15:40, in reference to the fact that women make 24% less than men.


Photo credits: Revolution Permanente

Chile

Over 100,000 people took to the streets in Santiago, Chile for International Women’s Day. One of the most important moments of the march was the intervention of 70 immigrants who demanded the end to racism and discrimination against migrants and for quality employment. They chanted, "Chilean or foreign, the same working class." The rights of Mapuche indigenous people were also highlighted.


Photo credits: La Izquierda Diario

Philippines

In the Philippines, hundreds of activists protested in Manila against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, and in particular against his violations of women’s rights. The protesters demanded justice for the mothers, sisters, and widows of the suspected drug offenders (users and dealers) murdered by the Duterte regime in its vicious war on drugs.


Photo credits: AP

Bolivia

Hundreds of people protested in La Paz, including women construction workers, airport workers, and trade unionists. Indigenous organizations as well as other feminist and left organization also attended.



Photo credits: La Izquierda Diario

Uruguay

In Montevideo, over 100,000 people mobilized in the streets for International Working Women’s Day. One of the largest labor unions, PIT-CNT, called a strike after 4 p.m. so that workers could attend the mobilizations. Other labor unions called for a full-day strike.


Photo credits: La Izquierda Diario

Italy

Italy had [important work stoppages_>https://www.thelocal.it/20180308/transport-strike-8-march-trains-bus-rome] on Interntional Women’s Day. There was a railway transport strike until 9 p.m., although train operators guaranteed "essential services" during rush hour, in compliance with Italian law. Air traffic controllers were also on strike from 1-5 p.m., and national airline Alitalia was forced to cancel flights. There were also large mobilizations in major Italian cities.


Photo credits: Thelocal.it