Feminism in Spain

With the celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8th, I had the opportunity to witness what this day, dedicated to women’s rights, means here in Granada, Spain. Studying abroad in this country and involving myself in the culture has been the most rewarding thing about this experience. Attending and participating in the Spanish International Women’s Day did not fall short of that description. It taught me more about the culture of feminism here.

Days leading up to March 8th were filled with talks about “El Dia de Las Mujeres.” It was on the news, television talk shows, in discussion in the classroom, and amongst my host family as well.  The broadcasting of this event was everywhere during the days leading up to it. Many professors cancelled their classes for March 8th because they would be striking (all of my classes were cancelled). It was also optional to be able to take the day off of work to participate in the demonstration.

There were more than 500 planned strikes throughout Spain. They consisted of demonstrations, student walkouts, and marches. Madrid and Barcelona anticipated surpassing their record breaking participation rates from last year. New participation in organized marches was also being planned in other cities.

The day of March 8th, I understood that there would be marches throughout Spain with specified meeting times and locations. However, I did not know that women and men alike would be filling the streets all day striking. The streets in Granada, Spain were filled with purple (International Women’s Day color) all day, from morning to night. On street corners, plazas, and busy intersections, posters with vibrant colors and meaningful messages were held by those with fierce and passionate eyes. These signs not only revealed powerful messages but the blazing desire for equal opportunities and to bring attention to women’s rights socially, economically, culturally, and politically.

The march that took place in Granada showed the seriousness that women and men have toward achieving fairness for both sexes. As the march commenced at 6pm in Granada, the streets were no longer streets but a path paved by the crowd. The participants marched through the trail in hopes that the path they were paving would end at a resolution of equal opportunity for all. It was a very symbolic and utterly passionate event. Observing the march gave me goosebumps and a fiery desire in my heart. I witnessed men and women of all ages come together and express all in their own unique ways, by the way they dressed, music they played, and signs that they held, a common belief for equality for all.

Experiencing this year's International Women’s Day abroad gave me another perspective into women’s rights globally. It made me realize that not only is this celebrated in the U.S. but around the world. Women are raising their voices and approaching systematic and cultural issues head on. Women from very distinct backgrounds, nationalities, and religions came together for this day. Women from all over the world celebrated International Women’s Day for the same reason, to try to gain the rights they deserve.

All photos courtesy of Alexis Rizo