El Día Internacional de la Mujer
This Thursday, I had the opportunity to stand in solidarity with Spanish women and women around the world on El Día Internacional de la Mujer, or International Day of the Woman, in Oviedo’s neighboring costal city, Gijón. Gijón, the second largest city in Asturias, hosted a women’s march and strike to not only highlight inequalities between men and women, but also the importance of women in the workplace. As someone that identifies with the cause, I felt compelled to attend the march and show my support. My host mom had encouraged me to go throughout the week prior to the march since she would not be able to attend, so I was further motivated to be there and represent her voice and the voice of many that are not in a position to strike/protest.
There was a large turn out and everyone, men and women, were draped in purple—the symbolic color for the movement. As we slowly processed throughout the city center toward the beach, march-goers flaunted their creative signs calling for the end of femicide, unequal pay for equal work, machismo, sexism, and demanding the most basic rights afforded to their men counterparts. One of my friends sported a sign that said, “Soy capaz. Soy inteligente. Soy fuerte. Soy mujer.” This translates to “I am capable. I am smart. I am strong, I am a woman.” The jubilant but fierce tone of the event became quickly evident in the midst of fireworks, drums, and chants and songs about feminists and empowering women.
Walking through the crowds, clapping, cheering, and happily passing the time with my friends made me nostalgic of the Women’s March in Philadelphia that I attended in 2017 the day after Trump’s inauguration. My experience at the Women’s March strongly reminded me of the manifestation on the International Day of the Woman, which not only proves how systemic problems with sex, gender, race, and class go beyond country borders and occur all over the world, but also proves how women—regardless of race or origin—continue to stand together as one unit in the fight for equality.
The intersectional nature of the march in Gijón was one component of the event that stood out to me in an extremely positive. There were supporters there from all walks of life, waiving the gay and bisexual flags, and the keynote speaker addressed the issues that both Spanish women and women of color that live in Spain face on a daily basis. I found the keynote speakers address awe-inspiring, as she profoundly discussed the issues of immigrant women, women of color, LGBT women, and women from various socio-economic positions. The diversity in thought was present in this speech, which says a lot about the root of this march’s mission because Spain is a rather homogenous country. Future leaders of political movements in United States–one of the most diverse country’s in the entire world—could really take a few notes on inclusivity and intersectionality from the leaders of the march in Gijón.
The event ended on a high note, as thousands of march-goers gleefully headed back to the bus station to pile on to the buses that took them back to their neighboring cities and towns. I am happy to say that I was a part of that day and remain a part of the movement.