Global Solidarity: Exploring the Roots of Today’s Women’s Strike

When 16-year-old Lucía Pérez was killed in Argentina last October, media reported that she was drugged with cocaine and suffered cardiac arrest as a result of “inhumane sexual aggression.” Her death, which occurred the day after a women’s summit in the country, sparked a movement in Argentina that stretched to Spain, Mexico and within days Poland, where women were simultaneously holding mass demonstrations demanding safe, legal abortion access.

By November 25, an international coalition of women held a second wave of mass demonstrations. Today women from 49 countries are part of an International Women’s Strike displaying global solidarity in the fight against violence towards women physically, structurally, economically, verbally and morally. International organizers, who have outlined their call to strike on their official site, are asking women across the world to participate in a strike by not working, avoiding daily tasks, wearing red or black, attending rallies and making noise at 6 p.m. They also ask that women avoid any economic exchanges except with small minority and women-owned businesses.

Before today’s strike, women in Argentina have lead numerous movements against violence (last June women there took to the streets protesting the public murders of 3 women and the organization Ni Una Menos has fought against violence for years) but Pérez’s indescribable death ignited the international movement and the series of demonstrations that continue to expand.

Polish organizers of the March 8 strike are circulating a petition that declares:

To support our demands, we claim joint strike and protest action on March 8th, 2017, in Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Ecuador, Honduras, Germany, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland, Russia, Salvador, Scotland, South Korea, Sweden, Turkey, Urugway – and more to come. We are non-partisan, grassroots movement, supported by women’s rights’ organizations and women themselves, operating jointly as International Women’s Strike group.

Numerous groups in the U.S. have organized involvement and the Women’s March on Washington called for “A Day Without A Woman.” In early February, Angela Davis and a group of feminists explained the importance of connecting women in the U.S. to the international feminist movement. “The kind of feminism we seek is already emerging internationally,” Davis said, “in struggles across the globe.”

Understanding the history and global narrative behind the women’s strike is important, says Margaret Prescod, host of Pacifica Radio’s Sojourner Truth, as well as the U.S.’s place in that history. In Los Angeles, where Prescod helped organize Southern California’s participation by coordinating with women from dozens of countries, Ms. plans to attend two rallies.

Organizing activists say people who cannot strike are not forgotten in the movement. Women who can’t leave work or attend a rally are encouraged to wear red, host their own one minute strike at work and join in noise making at 6 p.m. Organizers also expect a massive social media presence (#M8, #8M, #WomensStrike, #ADayWithoutAWoman).




Michele Sleighel is a former Research Assistant at the Feminist Majority Foundation. She has an MA in Communication at the University of Texas in San Antonio and a BS in PR from the University of Texas in Austin and is very proud of her El Paso roots. Find her on Twitter @MicheleSleighel