What International Women’s Day looked like around the world in 2021
Despite COVID-19, many people protested outdoors
Written by Melissa Vida, Belen Febres-Cordero, Juliana Harsianti, Carlos E. Flores, Romina Navarro, Ardita Osmani, Kpénahi Traoré, Andrea Mendez, Samea Shanori, Dahlia Kholaif, Sevgi Yagmur Bulut, Luis Carlos Diaz, Anette Eklund, Qurratulain (Annie) Zaman, Elisa Marvena, Janine Mendes-Franco
International Women’s Day celebrated on March 8 has become a day of marches for women’s rights and equality throughout the world. Although COVID-19 dampened participation in many countries, women still raised their voices on the streets on different continents, especially as the pandemic has worsened inequalities faced by women in terms of labour, household chores, and gender violence. In 2021, women and LGBTQ+ people marched against political and gender violence and for reproductive and sexual health. Here is a wrap-up from Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe on March 8, 2021, based on tweets and contributors’ photos.
Latin America and the Caribbean
In Trinidad and Tobago, 15 local civil society groups, which included feminist, human rights, LGBTQ+, and social justice organisations, conducted a “Walk-Out for Women” on March 8. Protestors demanded immediate actions against gender-based violence and commemorated recent femicide victims.
In Buenos Aires, as well as other cities in Argentina, women and transpeople gathered to protest against gender violence and the state’s failure to prevent femicides, despite reports previously made by the victims.
In El Salvador, women marched on March 7 for women’s rights and abortion rights. They performed the song and dance of the Chilean feminist song “The Rapist is You.” (extract below)
And the fault was not mine,
Nor where I was
Nor how I was dressed
In Ecuador, Blanca Chancosa, a leader of the indigenous movement of Ecuador, performed an ancestral ceremony before the National Electoral Council of Ecuador in Quito. Amazonian women issued a collective statement and various communities and organizations marched in several cities of the country.
In Mexico, women turned the fences around the National Palace, placed days before International Women’s Day, into a monument to the victims of femicide throughout the country.
Young feminists, unable to take to the streets on International Women’s Day, protested and staged a sit-in at the Central American University (UCA) in Nicaragua. They protested against gender violence and for the liberation of political prisoners.
In Venezuela, women’s rights are deemed [by some] to have been left behind in the Bolivarian revolution, so several feminist groups have come together to demand action. Femicides and impunity around them have increased in the past year, along with poverty.
Middle East and Northern Africa
In Palestine, expressions of support, appreciation, and solidarity with women’s fight for liberation and their rights flooded social media platforms. Meanwhile, Israeli occupation forces raided an event organised by Palestinian women to celebrate identity and heritage on March 8, arresting two participants.
In North and East Syria, precisely in the Hassakah province, Syrian Kurdish female fighters from the Women’s Protection Units (YPG) celebrated March 8 with song, traditional attire, and displays of physical strength and military training.
In Algeria, a rally of women protested the country’s Family Code, which is seen to treat women as second-class citizens, took place in Algiers to mark International Women’s Day.
Central and South Asia
In Pakistan, the Aurat March (Women’s March) took place in various cities of the country as the third wave of COVID-19 hit the country. The Aurat March also presented a feminist health manifesto this year to raise awareness about women’s health.
In Kabul, Afghanistan, Rada Akbar, an Afghan artist and activist, began her 2021 “Abarzanan” exhibition to celebrate the achievements of Afghan women by giving a tribute to those lost to violence in Afghanistan. Also, Afghans gathered for a street art exhibition at Rebel Art Cafe on March 8.
In Kyrgyzstan, the gathering paid tribute to women who have fought for gender equality.
As Myanmar goes through a military coup, women used variations of the hashtag #htamineResistance (SarongResistance), alluding to the fact that the civil disobedience movement protestors hang women’s sarongs to block the military, as it is believed that men would lose their spirituality if they touch the sarong. Women have also been on the frontlines of the protests.
In Jakarta, Indonesia, women and non-binary people gathered under the rain to head towards the Presidential Palace. Yet, they could not reach their destination as the police blocked the main road and people got arrested.
Meanwhile, in Jayapura, West Papua, indigenous women initiated a rally. This march was also stopped by the police.
In Istanbul, Turkey, thousands of women came together for the traditional March 8 Feminist Night Walk. They chanted, “We are not silent, we are not afraid, we do not obey,” and demanded the implementation of the Istanbul Convention. The next day, 18 women were taken from their homes at night by the police and detained for participating in the march along with anti-presidential slogans; they have later been released on bail.
In Italy, feminists and transfeminists organised strikes in the main cities’ squares. They organised pickets, read poems, sang songs, danced flash mobs, and put up banners.
In Zaragoza, Spain, the demonstration was made under strict social distancing rules. In 2020, March 8 demonstrations were severely criticized for transmitting COVID-19, and demonstrations were banned in Madrid in 2021.
In Paris, France, there were no physical demonstrations. However, a giant artwork portraying a clitoris was put in front of the Eiffel tower by feminist activists, entitled “Gang du Clito” (clitoris gang).
This article was originally published on www.GlobalVoices.org on 12 March 2021. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors, original source of publication, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article: https://globalvoices.org/2021/03/12/what-international-womens-day-looked-like-around-the-world-in-2021/