NEITHER the coronavirus nor the rain that fell on most of the Valencian Community yesterday (March 8) could put a damper on this year’s International Women’s Day.
Mass demonstrations in capital cities throughout Spain were off the cards this year due to the pandemic, but alternative events were scheduled in most areas with the aim of keeping the spirit of the day alive while abiding by the anti-COVID guidelines.
In fact, the main message this year referred directly to women’s vital role during the coronavirus pandemic: “Faced with a social emergency, feminism is essential.”
The aim was to highlight the rights of women workers whose jobs are ‘invisible and precarious’ but who have kept everything ticking over during the worst months, including nurses, carers, cleaners and supermarket cashiers, among many others.
More specifically, participants highlighted the role played by migrant women, with calls to abolish the national Foreigners’ Law and for the ‘urgent, permanent and unconditional’ legalisation of their residence status.
“No woman is illegal” and “Feminism will be antiracist or won’t be at all”, were two of the messages that were chanted and written on placards.
Instead of one big march, Valencia Feminist Assembly organised several de-centralised acts in the morning outside various institutions such as the city hall and the central government delegation headquarters.
A performance honouring key figures in history’s four ‘feminist waves’ since the 19th century until today took place in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, without an audience but streamed live over online social network platforms.
All gatherings went ahead in a festive mood, with no incidents reported and observing all the COVID prevention protocols.
The Valencian feminist movement as a whole also sent out a message of support for the March 8 committee in Madrid, where regional president Isabel Díaz Ayuso had banned all Women’s Day events this year due to the virus, despite authorising crowds outside football stadiums at the weekend and a neo-Nazi march several weeks ago.