The Spanish Feminist Protest About Women’s Rights The Media Ignored


Here in the US abortion and reproductive rights are an important issue. We’ve seen how the female population has largely reacted to the Hobby Lobby case where a for-profit corporation owned by Christians fought in the Supreme Court for the right not to provide certain birth controls for female employees, pleasing that it infringed on their constitutional rights to religious freedom. Sadly, they won, meaning that now a for-profit corporation is now considered an individual. Shocking.

Five out of the 9 Supreme Court Justices voted in favor of Hobby Lobby’s case, but Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, aka “Notorious RBG” as she is commonly referred to on tumblr pages dedicated to her badassery in court, wrote a scathing dissent on the attack on a woman’s right to decide what she does with her body.

In 2013 over 700 bills were proposed to regulate a woman’s body. On the same token, zero were proposed for men, yet there are many discussions around men having reproductive rights and birth control made for them. Hey men, don’t bother, because fighting for those types of rights and access is akin to walking into a brick wall expecting it to move.

Issues like this are yet another great reason for women needing to vote in the US. It is not enough to sit by and complain about these issues, because women’s votes can literally swing an election. It has often been said that it was the women and minority vote that got President Obama elected, and the upcoming midterms and the 2016 Presidential vote can be determined in an even more powerful way if women turn out in big numbers.

But while women thankfully still have access to birth control, abortion clinics and other reproductive clinics across the US, there are other countries which don’t have the same freedoms. A large group of feminist organizations recently banded together and protested in the Spanish capital Barcelona to raise their voices about this very issue.


It didn’t make headline news, in fact it hardly made news at all, which is both sad and shocking because it literally affects half the Spanish population, and not many news sources thought it was “newsworthy”. We first saw the story on Mic and then on the Demotix. But we were hard pressed to find it elsewhere on the web.

These groups were protesting for women’s rights such as maternity leave and abortion clinics, violence against women, labor reforms that deepen inequality already faced by women, and the cuts to social welfare and utilities that increase the hours women devote to the care and attention of people. The protesters were made up of over 600 feminist organizations, which took place after a recent 3-day student strike.

The protest was largely in honor of the working class women who feel as if they are “holding up society” with the work they do, but are being left out when it comes to government decisions. There is an ongoing economic crisis in Spain where they are seeing huge number of youth unemployment. If governments don’t allow for tax breaks for the working class and create incentives for younger generations to study and work, how is a country going to survive? Along with this, if half the population, who are traditionally known for raising the children and taking care of a household aren’t being looked after by employers, healthcare systems and the economy, then we are sadly regressing as a society.

We’ve seen how in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has taken stock of the aging population and recognized the need to empower women at every level. He has vowed to implement better family care incentives in the work place such as maternity leave, so that mothers don’t feel they have to choose between having a career or a family.

He calls it “womenomics” and plans to reward any corporation that offers its female employees child-rearing support and who promote women to positions of leadership. It is a plan that is a huge step in the right direction. Sure there may be flaws and some teething problems, but at the heart of it, putting women on an equal plane of importance as men and other issues is what’s needed in a country like Spain, and heck even here in the states!


For far too long women’s issues haven’t been seen as important as that of the economy, education, or healthcare for example. But when women are empowered financially, and when laws are made that tailor to women’s specific natural needs (child-rearing, maternity leave) then we start to see a more diverse, thriving economy.

In Spain, the women are rising up against the systemic injustice, and are planning an even bigger march in 2015, one they hope WILL get the attention of the international media. The group of caretakers and working women blocked city streets and subways and aren’t stopping until they are heard. They spray painted feminist slogans around the city on buildings as permanent reminders of what needs to change.

“We are the ones who suffer the effects of the crisis,” feminist activist Laura Lozano told Spain’s El Diario. “Cuts in health and education harm us much more, because women are the ones used to taking care of dependents, be they small or large.”

In 2013 feminist activist group Femen protested a Spanish Parliamentary session over abortion reform. Spain’s ruling Popular Party (which is said to consistently side with the Roman Catholic church’s conservative view on abortion) announced legislation that will eliminate abortion on demand until week 14 of pregnancy. The change, which sparked several protests, reverses earlier abortion reforms in Spain. And another protest was once again held in Madrid in Feb 2014.

The law, which was passed by Spain’s cabinet in December 2013, would allow abortion only in cases of rape or if the physical or psychological health of the mother is threatened, effectively banning it in all other circumstances. It would toughen conditions for aborting a deformed fetus, and it would require girls under 18 to obtain parental consent to have the procedure.


So this is an ongoing issue, one which is only making the women angry. And when people in the west describe feminists or women as angry, this is exactly why! Sure, we have many freedoms, but when our fundamental rights to controlling our own bodies is taken away and ruled on by a bunch of white men who have nothing to do with a female’s reproductive rights, it is enough to make any woman furious.

Yes, Femen use the slogan “death to the patriarchy” which is what some of the groups in this current round of protests were using in Barcelona, but that doesn’t mean death to men, let’s not get that confused. What needs to die is the attitude that women’s voices aren’t as important, that women’s issues can’t be decided on by women, and that women are not equal because they are different.

When we start doing away with antiquated attitudes carried over from yester-year, we will start seeing a huge change in the way our economies and governments are run. This is why voting has never been more important, and women rising to positions of leadership has never been more crucial.

The early suffragettes picketed and risked their lives so that we had the right to vote, let’s do them the honor of reclaiming our rights, and making a difference with that freedom we are lucky to have.

Below is the video Mic found and shared on their website from Vaga De Totes, a Spanish journalism blogsite dedicated to sharing women’s news stories. It shows some of the Spanish protesters talking about reproductive rights, careworkers and the next protest they are planning in Spring 2015.


  1. Some points are valid, but not all of them. First off all, there is a difference between letting a woman do what she wants with her body (which is obvious, and should be granted by the most basic laws) and letting a woman have an abortion for any reason. The child she is carrying is not part of her body, it is another human being. Killing is unethical, mind you.

    Also, this caught my attention:

    Why reward a company that promotes women to positions of leadership? Men and women alike should be awarded positions of leadership based on their merits. That is equality. Rewarding companies that put women is positions of power is silly – I don’t care if my boss is a man or a woman, I want him or her to be competent, not to be promoted to that position based on gender.

    And another gem:

    No. How can you say women’s issues are more important than the economy and then claim that empowering them helps the economy? The argument is flawed. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated by Scandinavian countries that education is the most important. Their economy is thriving and their women are mostly (even they still have problems) on the same footing as men. Education will destroy the stereotypes and gender inequality, mind you.

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