By Corriente Roja – Spanish State
In the Spanish State, 75.3% of the approximately three million people who work part-time are women. According to a recent report by the trade union Comisiones Obreras, 54% of single-parent families are at risk of poverty, 63.8% of pensioners receive a pension of less than 1,000 euros, and the gender pay gap is 20.9%.
If we regressed in labor rights with the 2007 crisis, the pandemic and inflation have only deepened our inequality. By the end of 2022 inflation rose to 8.4%, but the prices of food, rents, electricity, and gas, continue to soar. In addition, we have seen a spectacular rise in variable interest mortgages, drowning millions of families.
This is a very harsh situation, in which millions of women, especially the youngest ones, are unable to become independent or find decent living conditions. It is a breeding ground for the increase of oppression and violence against women.
The LGBTQIA+ community is deeply affected by unemployment and precarity, especially undocumented transmigrant women who are forced into prostitution. There is a lack of resources in Education while the sexist and LGBTQIA-phobic Catholic Church continues to be financed to the hilt. Hate crimes have increased and the advance of the ultra-right threatens the rights that have been won. Transphobic feminism tries to link trans people with surrogacy, when the reality is that the main clients of surrogacy are cis-heterosexual couples.
The immigration law our government maintains forces immigrant women into a mode of clandestine survival until they obtain “papers.” Many of them work in the hotel industry, in the fields and, above all, in the domestic sector. Although they are hired as domestic workers, they often also care for the elderly and dependents, in conditions of semi-slavery. Domestic workers won a decree that recognizes their right to unemployment, among other labor rights. But such rights are not recognized for about 40%, who work in an irregular administrative situation.
A “feminist” government, in the service of employers
This government, run by the PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Español, “Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party”)-UP (Unidos Podemos, “United We Can”) coalition, approved measures that reflect, in a limited and partial manner, some of the demands from the streets, such as the Organic Law of Integrated Guarantee of Sexual Freedom, much attacked by the right wing, which the PSOE now intends to reform without reaching agreements with its partner in government.
Recently, the new Abortion Law has restored the right to abortion for minors aged 16-17 without parental consent and eliminated the mandatory three days of prior reflection. In addition, the Transgender Law has eliminated the need for a psychiatric diagnosis and two years of hormone treatment as a requirement to legally modify registered sex.
All these laws are the result of struggle, but we must continue to fight to improve them. Moreover, they will not put an end to inequality, discrimination, and violence against us, because they do not address their structural causes, which come from the capitalist system of oppression and exploitation.
Under a minister who claims to be a feminist, in December 2021, the government approved a labor reform that has generated a general lowering of wages through “part-time” and “permanent seasonal” contracts. This model of flexibility, outsourcing and partiality aggravates our precarity. Although it has led to the creation of jobs with miserable salaries, in January, unemployment rose by 70,000 people, and seven out of ten of the new unemployed were women.
Meanwhile, under this government, corporate profits are record-breaking and the fortune of the ‘thousand millionaires’ grew at a rate of three million a day. Poverty climbed by 27.8%, almost one point more than in 2020, and the deterioration, privatization and dismantling of public services means that these burdens fall mostly on us.
Despite everything, we women come out to fight!
Confronted by the leadership of majority trade unions which spreads messages of fear and resignation and maneuvers to isolate all struggles, more and more workers in different sectors are taking to the streets to fight for their rights and a living wage.
Such is the case of the salesclerk women of Inditex, Amancio Ortega’s multinational corporation and flagship of Spanish capitalism, which obtains millionaire profits year after year. After several months of mobilizations and a strike, first in Galicia and then throughout Spain, they achieved several labor benefits and a minimum wage of 18,000 euros per year, which increases depending on the positions held, seniority, sales commissions, etc.
It’s also the case of the women workers of the Home Help Service, who struggle for an agreement and dignified care work, which allows them to give good care and reconcile their work and family life. For years, they have been demanding recognition of the work-related illnesses and the deprivatization of the sector, which is managed by multinationals it does business with, at the cost of labor precarity and low wages.
We women are also at the forefront of the fight for a 100% public and universal healthcare system. This struggle has been spreading in recent months throughout the State. Several professions in the health sector (cleaners, orderlies, nurses, etc.) are predominantly women, who have for years endured a huge work overload, impossible schedules, and difficulties of reconciliation.
Equality cannot be an electoral slogan: let’s take to the streets to defend it!
The 8M, International Working Women’s Day, is a day of struggle of the entire working class-which has never been so large, so feminine, so black and LGBTQIA+ – with women workers at the forefront. It’s a day on which there are plenty of women bankers, businesswomen or queens in office and emeritus, as well as councilwomen, women deputies, or government ministers, who approve measures that aggravate our precarity and leave us unprotected against sexist violence.
In this system, the bourgeoisie uses oppressions to divide us and further exploit a sector of the working class. We need to achieve measures that put us in better conditions to continue fighting for a socialist society, which is the only one that will lay the material foundations for true women’s emancipation. To this end, it is necessary to recover the unity of the entire working class, fighting machismo in workers’, popular and student organizations. We call for discussions in the neighborhoods, workplaces, and study centers on the importance of fighting for women’s demands and for mass attendance at the day’s mobilizations.