Growing up, 8 March also known as International Women’s Day, was always a day of marches. Women will go on marches or parades wearing uniforms, celebrating women. But I never felt like there was a real follow-up to that day. It felt like just another day, or rather a day invented to act as if for once women’s issues were important. I don’t remember much, but it was always a colorful, happy day, with women parading, singing, even sometimes allowed a day off from work or house chores. I don’t remember men doing much except helping women celebrate that day with flows of alcohol in the evenings in bars, or some quick news flash about it, etc. So I was quite surprised and happy to see what the Spanish women did on 8 March this year: protesting and stopping work for the entire day throughout the entire country of Spain, protesting for equal pay: International Women’s Day: ‘Millions’ join Spain strike, More than 5m join Spain’s ‘feminist strike’, unions say, Spain grinds to a halt as millions of women join unprecedented strike. To me, it was beautiful! The entire country was crippled, with public transportation being affected, and even air flights delayed. In South Korea, I saw a picture of men marching alongside women demanding equal pay, and I was moved.
The question of equal pay is a global or rather a human question. It does not just affect women, but men as well, and the entire society. Imagine a working couple with a family; imagine what that equal pay to the woman in that couple would do to that couple’s entire income? If women are paid 20% less than men, imagine what 20% more will do to the bills in a family, to the college funds for the kids, to the healthcare, and even to those long overdue family vacations? Now think about single household which are mostly held by women… 20% more is like a lifeline! It is everything! So we should all, men and women, fight for equal pay, instead of acting as if it was a female ‘thing’, because equal pay is a basic human need, and not doing it is an infringement on everybody’s rights out there! My salute to all those Spanish women, this is what International Women’s Day should be all about!