March 8 symbolizes the struggle politically organized women have undertaken for more than 100 years. Since the early 20th century, women have made efforts to build a date to express the meaning of the life and struggle of working women of the world. Marching against hunger and war, women have denounced inequality and poor working conditions, they have demanded social protection for mothers and children, and have stood up for women’s suffrage and socialism.
Women’s struggles are the struggle to change the world we live in. Our feminism is anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-patriarchal. We build our struggle following the steps of those who have fought against slavery, against the exploitation of our labor, our bodies, our territories, against capitalism that turns our lives into commodities, against colonization processes in different territories.
We fight for a dignified life: against the destruction of ecosystems, against neoliberalism and all forms of violence, against the persecution of grassroots leaders, against the criminalization and murder of Black and Indigenous people. We fight against privatization and for the public accountability of States to enforce the right to quality healthcare. The conflict of capital against life is escalating, and the coronavirus pandemic is where it reaches its peak, because it lays bare the inherent inequalities of a system that puts profit before life. Around the world, women sustain life, tackle the disease on the frontline, and are in charge of food, care, and the organization of solidarity in their communities.
On this March 8, 2021, women brought together their practices and knowledge to create new experiences of struggle and to denounce the global crisis and the increasing inequalities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The women of the World March of Women conducted decentralized actions, observing the necessary precautions amid the pandemic, in at least 22 territories around the world. Check it out:
In the Middle East and North Africa, WMW women organized to send a message of struggle and resistance, against arbitrary detentions, sanctions, and the occupation. In the region, the feminist struggle is not separated from the struggle for self-determination of peoples. On March 8, they published a series of articles offering political and feminist analysis of the region (available in Arabic at: LINK).
Ruba Odeh, of the WMW Palestine and a MENA representative in the WMW International Committee, recorded a video statement expressing the common struggle of women in the region.
The video addresses the meaning of March 8 struggles and the problems faced by women during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Tunisia, the women of the World March of Women and other partner organizations mobilized to celebrate and pay tribute to healthcare workers for the services they have been providing during the pandemic. They rallied against the privatization of healthcare services and demanded that 5 percent of the country’s GDP goes to providing free, decent, high-quality health services to everyone.
In Lebanon, women decided that all their activities would be conducted online. The activities included the organization of a webinar with Silvia Federici, a webinar on intersectionality, the production of videos and posters titled “a day we terrify capitalism,” and a discussion on the right to housing. Also, women students are putting together a work about how virginity is a social construct.
The World March of Women coordinating board in Iraq produced a video piece to salute all women from around the world, the Arab region, and the Maghreb. “On this day, we renew our commitment to struggle, to keep on moving, to achieve our rights, and to stand in solidarity with all women’s matters in the world. Our problems are multiple, our struggle is one.”
Marking this day of struggle with the motto “Women and Emergency Health Laws: One Year of Oppression, One Year of Resistance,” the WMW coordinating board in Morocco produced videos in solidarity with rural and urban working women from across the world, with the political prisoners of Palestine and elsewhere. “Today we renew our determination and promise all women to continue to struggle for a world with no discrimination, no violence, no persecution. A world of human dignity for everyone.”
In Kenya, women read the World March of Women International Declaration for March 8, 2021 at a press conference in the morning of March 7. Throughout the week, they organized the Nyandarua feminist political training school. FOTOS NO DRIVE
In the Americas, demonstrations in different places put the sustainability of life on center stage, as well as the fight against neoliberalism, corporate power, and authoritarianism. Women affirmed the struggle for a life with no violence and no racism, and showed strength, organization, and solidarity in building people’s power.
The women of the World March of Women in Cuba dedicated March 8 to food sovereignty and feminist and solidarity economy, through an online meeting via WhatsApp with sisters from across the country.
The World March of Women organized and took part in more than 30 actions across 20 different places in the country. Hundreds of feminist collectives and organizations came together on Sunday (7) for a unified virtual demonstration in which women demanded vaccines for all, emergency income during the pandemic, and #MulheresPeloForaBolsonaro (Women for ‘Out With Bolsonaro’). These demands were summarized in the Women in the Struggle for Life manifesto.
In Mexico City, the women of the World March of Women and other feminist movements took part in a demonstration at the Monument to the Revolution, Zócalo Square, called “We Stop, We March, We Organize.” With interventions on walls and buildings, they put up their messages against sexist violence, for the right to decide, against vulnerable employment, and against the criminalization of feminist protests.
In Chile, on March 8, once again there was a call for a feminist general strike, with demonstrations starting in the morning. There were rallies and marches across the country, and although they were expecting a smaller turnout compared to previous years due to the pandemic, in the capital city alone nearly half a million women took to the streets. There were around 100 demonstrations throughout the country, and the WMW mobilized rallies in Santiago, Concepción, and Chiloé. While the demonstrations were peaceful, they were repressed by the police. Some cases are being investigated and the movements are calling for the immediate end of the Carabineros.
On March 6, in Caracas, the World March of Women’s action was held during the 69th Conuquera Agroecology Fair. They hung banners with the slogans of the fair and the women presented their demands. “Patriarchy gave men the power to perpetrate violence, and to perpetrate violence toward death. But we hope to overcome this with feminist socialism. By coming upon this realization—both men and women—that we have a problem as a society and that founding or re-founding a country with equity and justice where we are all happy and able to live in peace is impossible if we don’t overcome patriarchy,” said Alejandra Laprea of the WMW.
On the eve of March 8, the country learned that the new Brazil variant of the virus had arrived and that harsher quarantine measures would be employed that weekend. Nevertheless, women took the so-called feminist route, starting at the National Assembly and ending with the cultural-political occupation “Amiga, date cuenta” (“Sister, Take Notice”). “The process of change toward feminism is slow, but it’s happening. We will continue to shout, struggle, and stand up for it. Feminism is a grassroots strategy,” said a fellow member of the collective Tinta Violeta.
In Lima, Peru, the militants created a banner where they recalled the history of the building of the World March of Women and took part in the #8M Cultural Festival, organized by unions, collectives, feminist movements, and rural and urban workers’ movements. They showed the struggle of women workers, the history of struggles of March 8, and featured the cultural work produced by the country’s women singers, dancers, and artists.
Peru North Macroregion
An online discussion was held with sisters from different countries around the Feminist Conversations from Territories in Resistance to share women’s experiences and proposals in the constituent process and in building people’s power.
To put forward feminist demands on March 8, 2021, the World March of Women Regional Coordination in Quebec organized a march that started at noon outside the Saint-Roch Church with the motto “Let’s Listen to Women and Take Action.”
Honduran feminists took to the streets on March 8 to make their denunciation and demand justice for women, demanding that the law is enforced against perpetrators and killers. The demonstration gathered women from several organizations outside the Directorate of Criminal Investigation, making their denunciation and calling for justice in the case of the political assassination of the environmental leader Berta Cáceres, killed in 2016, and in memory of the nearly 300 sisters killed in 2020.
The WMW took part in coordinated actions with other feminist organizations in at least six territories. Check it out:
In the Basque Country, on this year’s March 8 the feminist movement presented the following major feminist demands and policies: they denounced the corporate power of transnationals and the racist migration policies, and defended a Basque public, community-based care system.
The governments once again are putting capital before health. Borders and streets are militarized, attacks from racist police officers and institutional abuse abound, hundreds of people are at risk of being fired, thousands of women had to leave the job market to attend to caregiving responsibilities. The lack of power to make decisions became clear, people have been evicted from occupied places, sexist violence didn’t stop, and the crisis has directly affected feminized industries, especially working women in irregular employment. Therefore, by acting with the responsibility that we assume, feminists once again took to the streets and squares to continue to build a feminist, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist Basque Country. “Gora borroka feminista!”
Also, on March 6, our sisters held the closing of the 5th International Action of the World March of Women in the Basque Country with the slogan “Zubi guztien gainetik mugarik ez, transnazionalik ez” (“No Borderlines Over Bridges, No Transnationals”). The meeting took place on the Irun-Hendaya border, which represents a political frontier imposed by nation-states that reinforce the patriarchal and racist management of territories. More than 60 handkerchiefs displaying feminist commitments were collected from 27 regions in the Basque Country, a result of collective reflections conducted in different cities, neighborhoods, regions, and villages of the territory to break the system from anti-racist, anti-colonial feminism.
The WMW is part of the Galegas 8M platform (http://galegas8m.gal/), which has been active in Galicia for four years and gathers all the possible groups and women around organizing March 8. Due to COVID-19, they could not hold a nationwide mobilization this year, like they did in previous years. Instead, there were 34 demonstrations across the country and a 24-hour feminist strike. The Galegas 8M joint action has appealed to the need to put life on center stage and show that “sen coidados non hai vida” (“there is no life without care”).
The WMW also held its own campaign, demanding that the management of the economic and health crisis does not impoverish women. “We put up posters and posted infographics on our social media about the work reality of women in Galicia,” they said. With this action, Galician feminism was able to care for their sisters without giving up feminism on the street.
In Belgium, the World March of Women organized a symbolic nationwide mobilization to demand change from political leaders toward a sustainable economy in which life, collective wellbeing, effectively equal rights, and respect to the environment take priority over market mechanisms, punitivism, and profit. The events could accommodate no more than 100 people, so they spread across three iconic areas of Brussels: the Central Station, Schuman, and Place de la Monnaie. To reach an even greater audience, two webinars were organized, one in French and one in Dutch, with the presentation of and discussions about their demands.
The World March of Women took part, along with other collectives, in the online campaign #SeEuParar (“If I Stop”), with the feminist strike slogan “Se as mulheres param, o mundo para” (“If Women Stop, The World Stops”). The goal of the campaign is to bring together different feminist activists, collectives, and organizations to publicize the strength of feminist struggle and women’s work.
In Coimbra, women carried out a symbolic action with slogans and screened a reading of the unified manifesto at the square.
In Saint-Brieuc, Brittany, the World March of Women and other organizations took part in an action at a public square. “Who does the dishes? We make the revolution!” and “Until all women are free, we will keep marching!” the posters read. In Paris, women held a feminist demonstration for equal rights, education, and justice.
In Neuchâtel, Switzerland, women prepared activities for March 6 through 8. They distributed brochures with women’s mottos, tributes, and demands. They colored the streets with chalk writing words of struggle. They held a meeting to mark women’s feminist presence and, on the 8th, the activities included launching an exhibition on equality, holding a march, and reading the political statement.
Women’s response to the mismanagement of president Duterte in the Philippines took place in the morning of March 7, at the Miranda square, in Manila. At the Kapangyarihan ng Kababaihan (Women’s Power) demonstration, more than 150 women played drums, singing “Kami ay Peminista, Hindi Terorista” (see below). The demonstration was peaceful, but it was stopped by the police. Two people from the Partido Manggagawa (Labor Party) were slightly injured when the police aggressively took their posters from them.
Alab ng kababaihan.
Liyab ng kapangyarihan.
Kami ay humihiyaw.
Kami ay peminista.
H’wag ipundar, sa militar.
Ang kaban ng bayan para sa mamamayan.
Kaming mga babae.
Hamon ng panahon.
Kailangan ng tugon.
Ngayon na may pandemya.
Nasaan na ang bakuna?
Sapat na ayuda para sa lahat.
Bigas at rosas.
Hinding-hindi lunas ang dahas.
(Words by Frances Fuga, supported by Janica Rosales and Jea Robelo, for the World March of Women Philippines, March 8, 2021)
In Pakistan, the WMW women who are part of the WISE (Women in Struggle for Empowerment) held activities focused on women’s health in different communities. On Thursday (4), the action took place in Badami Bagh, Lahore, in Shahdara, Sheikhupura district, and Nankana Sahib, with seminars and debates to create solidarity between women in times of COVID-19. A ceremony was also conducted to honor women healthcare workers in times of pandemic.