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A Women's Day demonstration last year.
A Women's Day demonstration last year. / SUR

Covid-friendly plans for Women's Day go ahead as pandemic highlights ongoing inequalities

  • Women's associations on the Costa del Sol are organising socially distanced or online events

Monday 8 March is International Women's Day and while there will be no big demonstrations to mark the occasion in Malaga province, there are a number of events, both virtual and in person, that are taking place.

While the world's attention has been focused on the coronavirus pandemic, women continue the fight for equality.

Working from home and home schooling have brought to light, once again, that it is still women who carry most of the burden when it comes to domestic chores and looking after the children.

According to a survey carried out by the Spanish women's association Yo No Renuncio (I won't give up), 22 per cent of mothers have either reduced their hours or given up work altogether to look after their children during the various lockdowns in Spain.

More women carers

"The pandemic has shown that the percentage of care work carried out by women is excessively high," explained Isabel Jiménez Lucena, the vice dean of equality, diversity and social action at the University of Malaga, to SUR ahead of Women's Day.

The university has recently published a guide to homeworking and work-life balance and a number of women shared their experiences of juggling work and family life.

Ana Chapman, who is a teacher at the university's Faculty of Philosophy and Arts, described her experiences of looking after two young children while teaching online and trying to do 'mini sessions' of work.

Ana Chapman, university lecturer and mother of two small children.

Ana Chapman, university lecturer and mother of two small children. / CRÓNICA

"Switching off is imposible from my point of view. These 'mini sessions' mean that I never switch off because I do little bits of work throughout the day and then I work into the evening because that's when [her two daughters] are asleep," she said.

Women continue to struggle to get to the top of their chosen professions and the assembly of women journalists in Malaga has organised a series of online events (in Spanish) to draw attention to the problem.

Coordinator Teresa Santos Garrote said, "It is socially unacceptable that women are still unable to get the decision-making roles in journalism."

Controversial celebrations

The large demonstrations of 8 March 2020 were blamed by many for a rapid spread in the number of coronavirus cases and critics condemned the government for allowing such events to take place up and down the country. Just one week later, on 15 March, the country went in to lockdown.

Marking the day this year has also been polemic, with outdoor events of up to 500 people being allowed to go ahead, as long as those taking part wear masks and respect social distancing rules.

In Madrid meanwhile a decision has been taken to prohibit any form of demonstration to mark the day. The government had previously said that gatherings up to 500 people would be allowed, but this has now been reversed. Director of Emergencies, Fernando Simón, who was criticised last year for saying he would encourage his son to take part in demonstrations, had already advised against participation in any gatherings, saying it is important to "avoid all situations where safety isn't guaranteed".

Despite the messages, women's groups in this area have found ways celebrate the day.

Making it happen

Costa Women will be hosting three one-day virtual sessions for the ninth annual Make it Happen summit. On 11, 25 and 30 March, from 3pm until 5.30pm, keynote speakers will be talking about different aspects of women in business, including contracts, charging the right price for services, technology and dealing with change in business. There is also the opportunity for individual networking. Each day costs 29 euros.

Costa Women founder and event organiser Ali Meehan told SUR in English, "We are putting this year's event online so we can reach and support more women in business, not just in Spain but internationally. The event again aims to support women through the challenges of running a business while keeping a positive mindset in the process." For further information visit www.costawomen.com/events.

Meanwhile the Costa Tropical branch of Costa Women is marking Women's Day with a series of languages exchanges throughout March in La Herradura and Almuñécar.

Feminist dance

The Malaga 8 March platform (Plataforma 8 de Marzo Málaga) is holding a feminist flashmob-style dance on Paseo del Parque in the city centre at 6pm.

While the outdoor, socially distanced event can hold no more than 500 people according to government restrictions, those who wish to attend are asked to wear something purple; the colour that represents International Women's Day, as well as wear a face mask and keep to social distancing rules. The dancing will be followed by a reading of the International Women's Day manifesto in Spanish.

The platform is also encouraging people to hang a purple scarf or banner from their balconies at 8pm in support of the day.

Marbella

Marbella town hall is organising a series of virtual conferences, workshops and concerts, which will run from 8 to 31 March and will be held in Spanish. All sessions will start at 10am.

The town hall will hold a physical event in the building's Salón de Actos, where the council's equality manifesto will be read. There will also be stalls on Plaza de los Naranjos and San Pedro church square with information about the town hall's women's and equality services.