International Women’s Day: Government and feminists split

by Deborah Cater
International Women's Day rally

Whether or not rallies take place during International Women’s Day on March 8 causes division among feminists in Spain, and puts the government on edge. Should Spain choose again between feminism and health?

About ten days before International Women’s Day, aka 8-M, discussions flare up again about whether or not the rallies will go ahead. In February 2020, the corona virus first registered in Spain. Spanish politicians did not agree then whether Spaniards could safely take to the streets. While no all-out feminist strike was declared at the time, many women took part in demonstrations across the country. Less than a week later, Spain went into complete lockdown.

Part of the Spanish government wants to limit demonstrations

Now, a year later and surfing the third corona wave, Spain is in the same boat. Whether the demonstrations will go ahead on March 8, and how, is the question feminists and political parties in Spain are discussing. On Wednesday, various parties expressed their intention to continue the rallies, as long as fewer than five hundred people participate. This resolution alone sparked controversy inside and outside the government.

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Government divided over importance of rallies on International Women’s Day

Ciudadanos reports that in much of Spain, no more than six people can gather at home. Yet the government will allow 500 people outside to shout together and be close to each other. The Partido Popular doesn’t think it’s a good idea either.

The opinions of other politicians remain divided. The PSOE government representative from Madrid is strongly in favour of demonstrations during International Women’s Day. Equality Minister Montero also believes that rallies for women’s rights on 8-M are needed more than ever before. However, the current Minister of Health does not consider this justification to allow rallies during the current pandemic.

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