Women’s strike gets Catholic archbishop’s ‘imprimatur’

Cardinal Carlos Osoro Sierra, Archbishop of Madrid. Photo: Francisco Seco/AP via El País

► Work stoppages, rallies, marches set for national Women’s Strike Thursday ►

The national 8-M Huelga Feminina women’s strike scheduled for International Women’s Day on Thursday has received an apparently unexpected endorsement from none other than Cardinal Carlos Osorno, the Catholic archbishop of Madrid.

Speaking to reporters following the presentation of a book about the Spanish founder of lay religious order Opus Dei, Cardinal Osoro reportedly said he “clearly understands” the support from women for the nationwide feminist strike on 8th March, which has ben called by feminist organizations and backed by Spanish trade-union federations and some political parties to denounce the wage gap between men and women and job insecurity for women in Spain.

“They have to defend their rights”, the Cardinal said, adding that he thought that in similar circumstances the Virgin Mary “would do the same”.

Osorno also told reporters that the Catholic church expressly supports the dignity of women and that in its view “the maximum expression of the dignity of women resides in the Virgin Mary,” both because she was a mother and because she always makes her presence felt when human beings are most in need. The archbishop also mentioned the instruction given by Pope Francis to Catholic bishops worldwide to defend the dignity of women, saying that in his opinion there is on earth “no value greater than that which the Lord has bestowed upon women”.

The 8th March Huelga Feminina was convened last month by feminist collectives, calling for an end to machista violence against women, for gender equality in the workplace, childcare responsibility and corresponding benefits, and for women to reclaim the right to decide on reproductive issues affecting their own bodies.

Spanish political parties to the left of center have joined the CCOO and UGT trade union federations and others in endorsing the strike, which will include partial work stoppages, rallies and marches across Spain to demand equality for women in the workplace and in all aspects of Spanish society.

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