The metaphor is eloquent. Sabrina Cartabia, Argentine lawyer and feminist, compares the growth of the women's movement with that of Japanese bamboo. The seed requires a long period of care before growing. "An inexperienced gardener could believe that he will not give buds because it takes seven years to take root. But afterwards, in just six months the plant grows up more than 30 meters, "he says. The comparison, which she uses to explain the explosion of feminism in Argentina, also serves as the mainstay of the feminist struggle on this side of the Atlantic: Spain.
For second consecutive Year, the streets were filled this March 8 of hundreds of thousands of women. The official figures attribute up to 375,000 demonstrators in Madrid – according to the Government Delegation, twice the number of the previous year -, more than 200,000 people in Barcelona (where only the independence movement managed to gather more people at the beginning of this decade) or 50,000 in capitals like Bilbao or Seville, among other cities.
Is Spain the most feminist country in the world? ¿Where does all this come from?? ¿What has happened so that in 2019 the protest repeats even more strongly?
Those strong roots that the grandmothers paid and now care for the granddaughters, have also subscribed as a reaction to the irruption in the political board of the right-wing Vox party, which calls for the repeal of laws that protect and promote women, such as those of Gender Violence or Equality. In this last year, after a motion of censure, the Executive came with more women from Europe. And her ministers placed the feminist agenda at the center of the debate, putting in motion some changes in eight months of government, although not all those who wanted or those who announced.
Feminism has been in conversations. "We managed to take it to the houses, to be talked about at Christmas dinners," says Justa Montero, 63-year-old feminist and member of the Commission. March 8. "Some people think it's an outbreak for a day, that people are called and people go. It is not like this. For a whole year, we have organized ourselves in all areas: universities, companies, neighborhoods, towns … Feminists are everywhere with a capillary feminism that permeates all spaces. "
Now not a single party with representation in Congress is against feminism. All try to join the mobilization that, one more year, pushed especially the youngest, great protagonists of the demonstrations. There were also more men. These are some keys that explain why Spain is still at the center of the feminist hurricane.
The evolution of the case of La Manada
The Prosecutor of the Supreme Court requested on March 7 a sentence of 18 years in prison for the five men who abused a girl 18 years in a portal of Pamplona during the sanfermines of 2016. It is double of those who have been imposed for sexual abuse with a prevalimiento to the five Sevillians, who are at liberty pending a final judgment. The case was an incentive for the first major feminist strike and it regretted this year, after the private vote of a magistrate, Ricardo González, who described the videos contributed to the cause as sex scenes "in an atmosphere of merriment". "These events have not stopped dragging society," according to Lucía Avilés, magistrate and spokesperson for the Association of Women Judges of Spain (AMJE). "She focused the feminist agenda on making visible the normalization of the culture of rape based on masculine hegemony, a deficient or null affective-sexual education and an open pornography, and patriarchal justice."
Y generated a "violet revolution" in justice: "Not only in how it is practiced but in the necessary specialized education or the structure itself", according to Avilés. In the last year, the group of experts in charge of reviewing sexual crimes was transformed into the Criminal Code, initially formed only by men and now with a majority of women. The cry of "Easy, sister, here is your pack" was felt again this March 8. In part, says Gloria Poyatos, magistra del Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands and president of AMJE, because the Spanish legal system has gender, and is not feminine: "The concept of social values integrated into our laws to justify the reproach or legal protection in each case, has been sculpted without integrating the needs, concerns or aspirations of women, at least to the same extent that they satisfy those of men. "
Sexual violence and gender violence
"Alone, drunk, I want to get home", they shouted again the youngest girls on Friday. For them, feminism comes "for a question of identification", explains Sara Naila, a 21-year-old student and member of the Commission of the March 8. The media has followed closely other aggressions in group. And they have accounted for the data. The complaints of sexual assault with penetration in Spain increased by 22.7% during 2018: 1,702 rape crimes that year, compared to 1,387 in 2017.
"Adolescents of 14 or 15 years do not understand that they are complimented, that they play them at the first parties they go alone," says Naila. And remember an anecdote. In one of the demonstrations in which he participated against the judicial decisions of The pack They crossed a mother and a daughter. The mother protested: "The feminists are again here." The daughter replied: "Mom, what happened to that girl could have happened to me yesterday, when I went out partying".
Growing concern about sexual violence and its effects are added to another violence, that of gender, in which Spain has become a benchmark with a law that is now 15 years old and a State pact for which the European Parliament has been interested. Since 2003, they are 985 women – the last this same March 8 – and 27 children since 2013, when the official accounting began. "We are the voices of those who are no longer", shouted the protesters on Friday.
The irruption of Vox
The political scientist Silvia Clavería is clear about the "breeding ground" of the feminist irruption: "Last year Me Too and the case of La Manada provoked a revolution in feminist consciousness". Now, a new factor is added, Vox: "There arises a far-right party that claims an anti-feminist program, much more than the PP"
Citizens and their positioning in favor of the hiring bellies, the popular Pablo Casado speaking a few days ago about abortion and the need for women to "know what they have inside" or the speeches of the party of Santiago Abascal and Judge Francisco Serrano -Convicted by prevarication when changing a child's vacation to stay with his father and go to a procession, without warning the mother, who had custody- against feminism, gender violence laws or people who work to fight against it are examples that, for Clavería, have been a further revulsive.
"Rivera, Married, I would have aborted you," the demonstrators chanted. "Suffragettes fighting for decades to get you out and vote for Vox," said a poster. Clavería believes that if the feminist movement felt some weariness, the possibility of a government of "this" right has ended with him.
At the center of the political agenda
It is difficult to think that in debates of the impending electoral campaigns, as happened in December 2016, the issues that have to do with women and feminism do not appear as a prominent issue. "It is the most transversal movement that exists in Spanish society, no party wants to remain on the sidelines", explains Belén Barreiro, director of 40dB, the research agency responsible for the latest (and scarce) surveys on feminism. "The PP fell off the demonstration for strategic reasons, to differentiate from the left. But they have not stopped making videos and speeches in support of real equality. "
Justa Montero adds that it is not enough for the parties to talk about feminism: "People will not fall into the trap of empty promises. One of the keys of March 8 is that it has landed a lot, putting the lives of women at the center of the political agenda. " There is talk of a wage gap and a glass ceiling, yes, but also of the distribution of care or of domestic employees or hotel maids (the Kellys) improving their working conditions with contracts that shield their rest or unemployment.
A gap in the classrooms
The achievements of women still do not appear in a majority in textbooks, but there are already competing collections to show their careers and there has been an explosion in the last year of manuals that explain feminism. The gender perspective, until now almost non-existent, materializes in masters and specialized courses of the universities and in the initiatives of the institute's teaching staff. In the infant and primary schools, the vast majority of those who teach minors are women and many have been educating for years. As Amparo del Valle, 37 years old teacher of Children in Chirivella (Valencia). More than five years ago they speak in their class of scientists, literatas or politics. And that dismantle stereotypes. This week, he asked his three-year-old boys if the girls could be truck drivers or soccer players. The majority response, reveals, was that no. "But right after I asked them what they would feel if they were girls and wanted to play football and not let them or if, as kids, they wanted to dance and someone wanted to stop them. And then I left them thinking, "says del Valle.
A transverse movement
Adolescents, shop assistants, grandmothers with granddaughters, employees, businesswomen, actresses or caregivers. Does not matter. "Feminist consciousness has reached everywhere and says it's sick." For Alicia Miyares, philosopher, feminist writer and spokesperson for No Somos Vasijas, that word that was not understood at all, empowerment, is already clear: "It says that we are not going to compromise anymore nor are we going to admit nonsense" For this, he says, "the media have been essential."
Last year the movement was the journalists we stopped, which had its strongest pull in faces known as Ana Rosa Quintana, who did not go on strike this year, or in voices such as Pepa Bueno and Àngels Barceló, who have returned to second it this year. This 2019, journalists and communicators have returned to join the claims of 8M. This, says Miyares, "is a brutal media impulse, and a responsibility. They changed the way in which gender violence was understood and now they can continue to tell reality, clarify feminism in the face of the messy messages. "
The passage of men
Men have advanced with a jump "not so much quantitative, but qualitative, "says Octavio Salazar, professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Córdoba and member of the Men's Network for Equality. He is convinced that the feminist demands since March 8, 2018 have entered into them. "They have begun to realize that this also concerns us. I saw several guys [él acudió a la manifestación en Córdoba] with posters that said 'The opposite of feminism is ignorance' and has a lot to do with that understanding of the issue, especially among the younger ones. " According to a survey published by EL PAÍS on the state of the feminist movement in Spain, among men, it is the youngest (18 to 24 years old) among whom this awareness grows the most: 27.6% considered themselves feminist five years ago, now it is 45.9%. And among those who least, those of middle ages (from 45 to 54 years): from 20.1% to 22%.
Salazar believes the figures that move in "a difficult edge to administer" are insufficient. "How do you incorporate actively without assuming the voice and without implying that women are (again) in the background? "he asks. And he responds: "It's complicated, but it's time to make public that commitment so that other men see that there are already equals that are in another story and create another imaginary in which, as Iñaki Gabilondo said the other day, there are men who say: 'I am also feminazi"