Feminist protests flooded Catalonia yesterday. For a second year, women took to the streets en masse with the aim of “changing everything”. The participation in the general strike on International Women’s Day was irregular, said the authorities, but what was a success were the protests that took place all day against discrimination and gender abuse, and for the defence of rights, effective equality and recognition for women’s contribution in all spheres of society.
The main demonstrations took place in the evening, and in Barcelona alone 200,000 people took part, said local police.
In the morning, local police said some 13,000 people -mainly students- demonstrated in the Catalan capital, although the organizers claimed 50,000, with other similar protests around the country. In Girona there were 1,500 people, 2,500 in Tarragona and 5,000 in Sabadell.
As for the general strike, the authorities said the sector that participated the most were universities, with 72% participation, and 11% in public schools, 10% in semi-private schools and 7.8% in private schools. Among public servants the number was 8.2%, while in transport it was 18.5% on the Metro, 7.6% on Renfe’s Rodalies rail system, 9% on the Ferrocarrils rail service and 3.2% on the buses.
Catalonia’s main unions, UGT and CCOO, called the strike a success but demanded changes to the equality laws to produce more effective policies in the workplace.
As for business associations, La Cecot, after carrying out a random telephone poll, said participation had been low, with only 5.4% of women choosing to strike despite them making up 35% of the staff in the companies it represents. The Pimec association said 7.3% of employees in the firms it represents struck for two hours, with only 1% doing so for the whole day.