Statement: International Women’s Day 2021

Global Women’s Strike & Women of Colour GWS – International Women’s Day 2021


Women (and men) in a number of countries are calling for a Care Income Now!, an income for all those – beginning with women, the first carers everywhere, and extending to all genders – doing the work of caring for people, the urban and rural environment, and the natural world.  See eBook in Spanish Renta de los cuidados ¡Ya! and Selma James’s forthcoming Our Time Is Now: Sex, Race, Class, and Caring for People and Planet.  The refusal to poison the soil and therefore the food is integral to many struggles in many countries.  See 8M webinar Remembering Berta Caceres: Lenca Woman and Environmental Defender.

On 8 March, we highlight some struggles for justice and survival we are connected to where women are prominent.  

HAITI: like in Burma and Thailand,the people of Haiti are refusing to accept another dictatorship.  Women are on the front line of survival and resistance.  For months hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets against government-backed death squads, rapes and massacres, as happened in the Port-au-Prince neighborhoods of Lasalin, Tokyo, Site Vensan, Bele among others.  They are demanding the resignation of the president, a people’s government of “Sali Piblik” (public safety),and an end to US funding and other support for dictatorship and state terror.

INDIA: New Delhi: Thousands of women farmers are marching to the three protest sites of the farmers’ strike.  A World Free of Inequities – historic Women’s Conference at Pakora Chowk, Tikri Border, to celebrate the stellar role played by women in the farmers’ movement to repeal the Farm Laws which will hand the land to corporations, including Monsanto, and discuss how women’s participation can be further enhanced and strengthened.  (The GWS network has been spreading the word about this momentous strike of millions of farmers and farm workers.  Women and children do 70% of all agricultural work and own only 12.8% of the land.  See facts sheet.)  

Chhattisgarh: Repeal the Farm laws, end violence against women, ban child labour in the brick industry. 

On 4-6 March, avirtual Symposium on Wages for Housework was held in India and UK.

IRELAND: GWS has been campaigning to amend article 41.2 of the Constitution to get financial recognition for caring work in the family. ♦ In 2014, an equality tribunal ruling noted that women in academia who applied for promotion at the university in Galway were disadvantaged when they declared their caring responsibilities.  This ruling triggered a movement for pay equity which has extended to all grades – from cleaners and administrative staff to lecturers and professors.

PERU: the GWS and domestic workers union FENTTRAHOP are pressing for just implementation of the domestic workers rights law won in September 2020 after decades of struggle.

THAILAND: The Women Human Rights Defenders Collective states (excerpts):

Over 100 years ago when women . . . took to the streets, giving birth to International Women’s Day, it was not a celebration.  The women were marching to end the violence of the State that had made life for them and their families impossible.  IWD 2021 is not a day of celebration either.  We hear our sisters next door in BURMA.  With enormous courage they push back against the deadly violence of the military junta.  We raise our voices and our fists with theirs.  Doh A Yay!  Doh A Yay!  Our cause!  Our cause!

. . . It is women, especially mothers, who are doing the work of protecting children, grandchildren, parents, communities, and the natural world.  Across the country, women are the first to wake up, and the last to go to sleep.  We do the work of caring for the family, we work to earn the cash to care for the family, and many of us also do the work of defending rights and seeking justice. . . . Women are defending life, livelihood, and the land.  We live under a cloud of State violence . . .

We demand change. . . . a new Constitution that can produce the kind of government we want and deserve: ● that takes away our poverty, not our homes, and livelihoods ● that serves us, not capitalism and greed. . . .

UK: Support Not Separation and Women Against Rape (WAR) are pressing the UK parliament to amend the Domestic Abuse Bill so it protects mothers and children not violent and even murderous men. ♦ WAR and others are also speaking out against the Spy Cops Bill which gives licence to rape and murder to agents of the state and corporations. ♦ Together with Payday men’s network, GWS, WOC and others are lobbying against the Overseas Operations Bill (in parliament on 9 March) which would make it almost impossible to prosecute UK Armed Forces for war crimes, including murder, torture and genocide committed overseas. ♦ The English Collective of Prostitutes, US PROS and Empower (Thailand) are campaigning to decriminalize sex work (as in New Zealand), beginning with ‘survival sex’ – poverty is the crime. ♦ The All African Women’s Group and Global Women Against Deportation are calling for an end to destitution, detention and deportation. ♦ Cambridge Uni webinar: Care Income and Degrowth. ♦ SCOTLAND: the Scottish Kinship Care Alliance, mostly grannies, is tweeting about their campaign for recognition and financial support for the kindship kids in their care. ♦ WALES: the People’s Assembly is holding an online rally on 8M at 6pm, hosted by Leanne Wood, which Selma James from GWS and others are speaking at: Food Poverty Is a Feminist Issue.

US: The GWS network in a number of cities is mobilising for: ● Child Tax Credit, one of the measures in Biden’s Rescue Plan, which would pay millions of families $3600 a year ($300/mo.) per child under six and $3000 a year ($250/mo.) per child six to 17,to be a permanent child benefit paid to the mother or other primary caregiver thus guaranteeing children eat – the children need it, the mothers have earned it ● the Worker Relief and Credit Reform Act which redefines work to include unwaged family caregiving and studying ● the $15/hr minimum wage Biden promised during his campaign to be honoured (59% of workers earning less than $15 are women, disproportionately women of colour).