ZARAGOZA, 24 Nov.
CCOO and UGT Aragón staged a protest this Friday in front of the Constitution Monument in Zaragoza to demand "zero tolerance" against gender violence and criticize the "alarming" increase in victims.
From 2003 to November 2023, a total of 1,236 women have been murdered by men in Spain, which amounts to one death every six days.
Both unions have demanded an increase in resources and policies to prevent and assist victims of gender violence. Artists Magola Arias and Gisela Vargas from the association "Mujeres Dejando Huella" performed an emotional act to condemn abusers and raise awareness of the victims of gender violence.
This Saturday, November 25, marks the "International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women", a social scourge that is far from eradicated, as the number of victims continues to rise every year. In 2023 alone, 51 women have been killed by their partners or ex-partners--one of them in Villanueva de Gállego (Zaragoza)--, a child has also lost their life at the hands of their father, and 51 minors have been left orphaned.
According to the quarterly report from the Observatory against Domestic and Gender Violence, between April and June 2023, a total of 47,063 women became victims of gender violence, representing a 5.66% increase compared to the same period in 2022, when 44,543 lost their lives.
Both unions in Aragón have strongly criticized the "denialist" message from political parties and sectors of the "far right", who "premeditatedly sabotage the events planned for November 25 and aim to trivialize gender violence and eliminate the resources allocated to combat it."
CCOO Aragón's Secretary for Equality, Sonia García, stated that "we are witnessing a reactionary wave, in which patriarchy is arming itself and finding institutional support to strip women of their rights."
On the other hand, UGT Aragón's Women's Affairs Officer, Elena Espinosa, has called on institutions to provide all the means at their disposal and not turn a blind eye to the messages of "trivialization" of gender violence and the "denialist" and "anti-feminist" speeches because they "cause great harm" to the work being done, and more importantly, there is a lot of suffering behind it.
The study on "Sexual Violence against Women in Aragón", conducted by the Aragón Institute for Women and the University of Zaragoza in 2019, stated that 5.7% of women have experienced sexual harassment at work or in educational institutions.
Espionosa has demanded that companies in the workplace consider the protocols outlined in equality, sexual harassment, and harassment based on gender plans, which can help detect and prevent these cases of violence in the workplace. "It is important for companies to fulfill these commitments in order to eradicate these behaviors in the workplace."
"We need more tools to understand what is happening in the workplace and put a stop to this harassment," said Sonia, who recounted that a survey carried out by CCOO in Aragonese companies revealed that 60% of surveyed workers were unaware if a sexual harassment protocol existed in their company, and 75% believed that the protection system to address this type of abuse could be improved.
Faced with this reality, CCOO and UGT Aragón demand that workplaces be safe spaces and that the autonomy of women survivors of gender violence be promoted. To achieve this, both unions demand the extension of labor rights to protect victims, such as geographical and functional mobility or work suspension, all of which are included in Law 1/2004 and as stated in the Organic Law 10/2022 for Comprehensive Guarantee of Sexual Freedom.
In 2022, 1,048 women accessed subsidized contracts for victims of gender violence in Spain, according to data from the Government Delegation. In 2021, the number of women accessing these types of contracts was 944, a figure that CCOO and UGT deem still low, thus calling for reinforcement and review of active employment policies aimed at victims of gender violence.
To combat this social scourge, CCOO and UGT demand that education on gender equality be strengthened at all educational levels to identify and neutralize these forms of violence and eradicate gender stereotypes from childhood.
"CCOO says that we have reached a point where we will no longer tolerate macho attitudes. The Rubiales case helped shed light on the abuse perpetrated by some men and will enable other women to denounce these sexist attitudes," said Sonia.
Both unions urge the central and regional governments to allocate the necessary resources for the creation of prevention and comprehensive support services for victims of gender violence.
CCOO and UGT call on democratic forces to continue strengthening the content of the State Pact against Gender Violence and develop more ambitious and effective proposals to be included in the State Strategy to Combat Gender Violence 2022-2025.