Countless women skipped school, work, and other social functions yesterday as part of a 24-hour strike to protest the unprecedented levels of violence against women. This left offices and classrooms half full, trains and buses empty and fewer cars on the streets.
To the women participating, this strike was about “showing, socially … how valuable we women are, our contribution, and what would happen if one day we were not around. In all aspects: as homemakers, as workers, as consumers,” Lluvia Flores Gómez told The Associated Press.
Femicide, or the murder of women on account of their gender, has increased 137% in the last five years in Mexico. About 10 women every day are killed.
Women make up around 40% of Mexico’s workforce, and their absence for the day could cost the country millions. However, many big companies like Sears, L’Oréal, and Walmart gave female employees a paid day of leave – so did the Mexican government.
“This is a very important cause, it’s not a game, not a vacation day,” said Ileana Lopez, one of the women who participated in the strike yesterday, “Women have to fight for their rights every day.”
The strike follows International Women’s Day which was on Sunday. Around 80,000 women marched in Mexico City to protest violence against women on Sunday and continued the protest with the strike the following day.
The impact that “A Day Without Women” had was noticeable. One school tweeted photos of half empty classrooms, noting that “This is how our classrooms would be every day” if the rate of femicide continues. Another man tweeted a photo of an empty bus, saying “The city without women looks very sad”.
NPR 3/9/20; LaJornada 2/11/20; The Associated Press 3/10/20; Twitter 3/9/20, 3/9/20.