What happens when women down tools and walk out…

What happens when women down tools and walk out…

Hardly a day passes without some new, heinous account of women’s rights being undermined. Today, hundreds of Google employees walked away from their to-do lists and laptops, leaving their offices behind to take a stand against the company’s poor handling of sexual harassment.

The planned protests, taking place in Singapore; Hyderabad, India; Berlin; Zurich; Dublin; London; and New York, shows us that boots-on-the-ground activism alive and quite literally kicking. A quick search into the echelons of history throws up a whole raft of inspiring, female-led action - here is what happened next..

On the march - when women go on strike:

Spanish women fight macho sexism

5.3 million female workers walked out in protest on International Women’s Day this year, speaking out against Spain’s pervading machista culture. Marchers turned up in force across Barcelona, Bilbao, Seville, Pamplona and Madrid, where they campaigned loudly with pot banging and road blockades calling time on sexual discrimination, domestic violence and the gender pay gap.

Celebrities, too, were galvanised to act, with Penelope Cruz going on domestic strike, leaving Javier Bardem to look after their two kids. The fiery protest message was crystal clear: “Without us the world stops.”

Icelandic women's strike

The Spanish women may have taken note from their Icelandic sisters who came up with the idea for a national strike of women in the Seventies. On 24 October 1975 90% of the country’s women left work early and took a ‘day off’—that meant no cooking, cleaning or childcare—to raise awareness of inequality in pay. The Long Friday, as it was known, saw ill equipped men rushing out to buy emergency supplies, sausages even sold out from supermarkets, in a mad dash to satiate their hungry kids at home.

For many the walkout was a wakeup call, now helping to put Iceland on the map as a country striving ahead in the fight for equality. Even today, Icelandic women still leave the desks at 2:38 PM on that same day to show the country’s men, and the world, that it’s a battle they;re all still rallying behind.

Poland protests abortion bans

Polish women, decked out in all-black garb, fearlessly campaigned against the tightening of the country’s already restrictive abortion laws back in October 2016. Thousands took to the streets on ‘Black Monday’ in the country’s capital Warsaw chanting “We want doctors, not missionaries!” in a stand for better reproductive rights.

Protests erupted in Gdansk, Krakow and other European cities in solidarity against new legislation which would have seen an almost blanket ban on abortion. And although the energy and fervour of the campaigners got the government to back down, “scared by all the women who hit the streets” explained Liberal MP and former prime minister Ewa Kopacz, Poland’s conservative government regularly still tries to impose new, stricter constraints.

Argentinian women against femicide

When demonstrators in Argentina huddled together in grey drizzle at Buenos Aires' Plaza de Mayo on 19th October 2016, one name was on everyone’s lips: Lucía Pérez. A week earlier, the 16-year-old was brutally raped, tortured and murdered. The harrowing case shocked the nation and acted as a stark reminder of the violence many of Argentina’s women were facing.

So prevalent is it that a law defining such cases as ‘femicide’ had to be brought in. But on this one day, Black Wednesday, Argentinian women stood up and united together and spiritedly chanting "not one woman less" in the ongoing crusade against gender-based violence.


www.prensa.cancilleria.gob.ar es un sitio web oficial del Gobierno Argentino