This year’s celebration of the International Women’s Day was especially strong in Latin America with millions marching in Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay.
In Mexico, it was the biggest March 8 protest in the country’s history. On March 9, many women walked off the job for “A Day Without a Woman.” The primary motor for the protest was the indignation with femicides, which are all too common in Mexico. In 2019 alone, about 10 women were killed every day and thousands more have gone missing.
In Argentina, where marchers demanded abortion rights, a new law to legalize abortion is in process.
Marking International Women’s Day across Europe and Asia, women shouted their demands for equality, respect and empowerment, with protesters in Spain launching a 24-hour strike and crowds of demonstrators filling the streets of Manila, Seoul and New Delhi.
In Australia, tens of thousands of women gathered outside the parliament and across the country calling for gender equality and justice for victims of sexual assault. The rallies were spurred by a recent wave of allegations of sexual abuse, discrimination and misconduct in some of Australia’s highest political offices.
The United Nations theme this year was “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world,” to celebrate the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and to highlight the gaps that remain. UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said “During the pandemic, we have seen increased violence against women and girls and lost learning for girls as school drop-out rates, care responsibilities and child marriages rise. We are seeing tens of millions more women plunge into extreme poverty,”
Mlambo-Ngcuka added, “There are breakthroughs to celebrate, where women have taken the helm of organizations such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank and we look forward to more such appointments that help to change the picture of what a leader looks like. Yet this is not the norm. In 2020, as a global average, women were 4.4 per cent of CEOs, occupied just 16.9 per cent of board seats, made up only 25 per cent of national parliamentarians, and just 13 per cent of peace negotiators. Only 22 countries currently have a woman as Head of State or Government.”
Women continue to take the lead in the struggle for peace and justice around the world.
In Belarus, women are at the forefront of the human rights struggle.
In Syria, women are seen as key to the struggle against violent extremism.
In Palestine, their leadership can be traced since the the first Arab Women’s Congress of Palestine in 1929.
The project “Weaving Alliances for Gender Equality” prepared by the Coordinator of NGOs in Castilla-La Mancha, Spain, highlights examples of women’s leadership for peace and justice in Guatemala, Haiti, Colombia, Bolivia and the Mahgreb.
In Africa, Adja Kadije is highlighted for her work as a peace mediator in the Central African Republic and Quitéria Guirengane for her work as an organizer of women. She is based in Mozambique but her work extends to all of Africa.
Participants from 45 African countries took part in the formulation of the Africa Young Women’s Manifesto, marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The manifesto is reprinted by CPNN with its extensive demands for Generation Equality Forums.
Although the marches and demonstrations remain vital for the movement, there is also an increasing role for virtual meetings. The Africa Young Women’s Manifesto was formulated in a series of virtual meetings in five regions on the continent that were followed by CPNN. To celebrate March 8, CPNN readers could take part in virtual meetings held by the Pan American Health Organization, the International Labor Organization, UNFOLD ZERO, Youth Fusion and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament. And in the weeks that followed there were four more virtual meetings for the 65th Commission on the Status of Women and six others about women’s equality and leadership.
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