Women across Europe have not been passive victims of austerity policies. From Paris, France to Nicosia, Cyprus, they have protested and organised for alternatives.
Woman protesting cuts in the UK, 2016. Photo: Ik Aldama/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved.It’s harder to ignore women’s mobilisations today, when smartphone cameras are ubiquitous and anyone can post images online. Even so, stories of women’s resistance remain underreported, and while impacts of austerity on women may sometimes make headlines, those affected are often portrayed as helpless.
They’re not; across Europe, women have mobilised against harmful austerity policies enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Here are 10 images that capture 10 years of women’s resistance.
Nicosia, 23 March 2013 – Confronted by mass bank closures, falling salaries and rising unemployment, women in Cyprus demonstrated in the country’s capital. The former offshore banking haven’s large financial sector and close financial ties with Athens left the country particularly vulnerable to economic collapse in the wake of the 2008 crash. The fallout included policies slashing social benefits, with tremendous impacts on women, particularly single mothers and domestic violence survivors. (Photo: Florian Schuh/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved).
Stefan Löfven’s party received 28.4% of the votes, a strong result for a Social Democratic party in government in today’s Europe.
The inconclusive results of Sunday’s Swedish elections could be interpreted to support almost any narrative about the prevailing trends in European politics. Before the vote, most of the international attention on the race was focused on the rise of the Sweden Democrats, a far-right party with neo-Nazi roots that opposes immigration and wants to pull the country out of the European Union. Sweden has taken in more asylum seekers per capita than any other European country since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015. While there aren’t actually immigrant “no-go zones” in Swedish cities, as some foreign politicians and media outlets have claimed, it is true that concerns about crime and immigration have driven support for the far right.
On a cold, wet afternoon in February 2014, Andrew Mathews stood on a mountain in Tuscany and looked out over the valley below. An environmental anthropologist and a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Mathews had gone there to see chestnut forests that were growing in the Monti Pisani, a mountainous region west of Florence, Italy. The air smelled of rotting leaves, and many of the trees were hundreds of years old.
“It wanted to be spring, but it wasn’t quite there,” Mathews recalled when we spoke, “and the leaves hadn’t really come in on the trees yet. Everything was still pretty bare.”