International Women’s Day recognition varies across Spain

by Deborah Cater
International Women's Day march in santiago de Compostela, 2021
del canto chambers 2

Celebration of International Women’s Day (IWD) was uneven across Spain. Due to the pandemic, the government prohibited demonstrations. Yet not all Spaniards obeyed the rules, resulting in police intervention.

Due to the still high infection rates, International Women’s Day marches on March 8 were cancelled. Several feminist organisations saw this as a sign that women’s rights are still of secondary importance. There was outrage after seeing large groups of Atlético fans who – without adhering to health measures – gathered around the football stadium for the match against Real Madrid.

Police intervene in Madrid and Barcelona

Despite the ban on feminist protests and marches, many women gathered in various places in Spain to demonstrate; in compliance with health measures. Because of the still high covid numbers in the Spanish capital, women in Madrid hung purple slogans and symbols from windows and balconies. Windows and shop windows were also painted purple to mark the day.

Cumbre Villas

Women applauded from their balconies to make themselves heard. At Puerta del Sol, however, students risked fines to protest against the non-feminist government. The Policía Nacional quickly intervened and the meeting ended.

Thousands of people gather in Barcelona

In Barcelona and other Catalan cities, predominantly students stood up for equal rights for women. A march took place with about 600 people gathering in front of the Generalitat building in Barcelona city. Turnout was even higher on Paseo de Gracia. According to the Guardia Urbana, some 4,500 people gathered there to protest for women’s rights. The police also ended that demonstration.

Peaceful marches in other Spanish cities 

Women took part in marches in other Spanish regions, such as Galicia and the Balearic Islands. Here, however, the turnout was a lot lower, with little police intervention. In Seville, feminist groups symbolically surrounded the Andalusian parliament building to demand attention for equal rights. Around 200 women read their manifesto citing that “Madrid had silenced them by forbidding them to demonstrate.”

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