Five women and one man: that was my family’s reality. Seven women and one man: that was the reality of my mother’s family. The women in my family, in their absolute majority, were my “brilliant activists of everyday life,” to quote the verse of Guadi Galego’s masterpiece Matriarcas (a true ode to feminine reality). I suppose that because I grew up surrounded by resilient women, it took me a while to realize that this was my own particular universe. These women were completely invisible—more invisible even if they had any kind of disability.
If it took me so long to see the lack of visibility suffered by the women I knew, I could not even imagine what was happening to those women I did not know.
The journalist Montse Dopico wrote a few years ago a clarifying article about “the myth of the matriarchy” in the publication Praza Pública. The award-winning short film by Álvaro Gago titled Matria explores precisely this myth through the life of a woman named Ramona. In one of the videos made previous to filming, the director and Ramona speak about the reasons that a project such as the one in question was necessary: “so that people reflect about those women who work in the shadows.”
The idea of “a day without women” came about to make visible the invisible: the injustices, the neglect, the work overload. Last year, fifty countries joined this initiative, and I don’t know how many countries will join this year because I am writing this column on March 7 and don’t have this information yet.
My mother “forced” her daughters to put our best foot forward. She wanted us to have an independent life, to be able to make our own choices. With us, she made herself invisible, and this is why it hurts more to read in newspapers that the retirement pension for women of her generation is 40% less than men’s.