Stories of hope and resistance from the CIDSE network
Each year, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a moment to give extra visibility and support to the daily struggles of women to fight for their rights, to call for bold action to address gender injustices worldwide, to spotlight the work of women, women’s rights movements and gender justice organizations that inspire us, and to reflect on the sacrifices and achievements made by women all around the world.
In this blogpost, we spotlight some of the many stories of hope and resistance that our members and their partners shared on IWD 2022.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, CIDSE and the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) from Coventry University released the first episode of their podcast mini-series exploring feminist agroecology. Throughout the mini-series, we explore how the oppression of women forms part of systemic oppression against anyone who falls out of the white, heterosexual, cis-male box. We also look into what decolonial and indigenous feminisms offer to the agroecology movement, and how to strengthen that movement from a feminist perspective.
Broederlijk Delen, Belgium
Being a woman and defending the land is the double challenge faced by women environmental defenders all over the world. On 8 March, Broederlijk Delen organised a roundtable with testimonies of women environmental defenders from Peru, Colombia and Bolivia. They shared stories about climate activism, their experiences and struggles defending their territories and the vital role of women in activism.
👉 Watch the video here: https://fb.watch/bEK_V7l1RQ/
CAFOD, England and Wales
When the conflict in Ukraine began, volunteers in the Caritas station kitchen in Przemyśl, Poland, switched to feeding refugees and aid workers. 50,000 units of soup have been distributed since the beginning of the conflict, that is over 1,800 litres of soup cooked daily. On IWD, CAFOD highlighted the amazing work of women around the world, from Ukraine to Sierra Leone.
CCFD-Terre Solidaire, France
CCFD-Terre Solidaire paid tribute to women who work tirelessly for a more united world by sharing the portraits of four inspiring and determined women who are defending their lands, advocating for peace and more.
👉 Les femmes qui nous inspirent – Terre Solidaire (ccfd-terresolidaire.org)
Cordaid, the Netherlands
The struggles of women fighting for their rights became particularly poignant in Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power in August 2021. Cordaid shared the thoughts of their colleague Amina who fled Afghanistan: “Afghan women set an example for courage and endurance.”
👉 International Women’s Day: let us honour the resistance of women in Afghanistan – Cordaid International
Development and Peace, Canada
Development and Peace spotlighted their new project to improve food and nutritional security in the Central Sahel region of Africa. In Central Sahel, political instability, conflict, climate change, COVID-19 and governance issues intersect in complex ways to cause and aggravate poverty and food insecurity, forcing millions to flee. Their project aims to boost the food security of vulnerable workers―especially women and youths―in the agriculture, forestry, livestock and fisheries sectors.
👉 Major new project to improve food security in the Sahel – Development and Peace (devp.org)
Entraide et Fraternité, Belgium
Can the fight against global warming be feminine and decolonized? In an analysis published on IWD, Axelle Fischer (Secretary-General at Entraide et Fraternité) highlights the inseparable nature of the issues of decolonization, the fight against global warming and gender integration. Without the full participation of the populations of impoverished countries and without taking into account the voice of women, there can be no real progress in saving our planet.
For Fastenaktion, women’s equality is central to the fight against hunger and poverty. In all their projects and programmes, they focus on supporting women’s empowerment and breaking down power relations in a sustainable way. For IWD, they shared an encounter in Nepal with Purnima Sharki, a young Dalit woman of 18, and her friends. It showed them that the road to equality is still long but that with confidence, dreams can be achieved, even if it means doing hard work to earn money and get an education at the same time.
👉https://fastenaktion.ch/der-weg-zur-gleichberechtigung-ist-lang-und-mit-schwerer-last-verbunden/ (also in IT and FR)
FEC and Mosaiko shared the results of a Social Survey they conducted on Inclusive Public Policies from a Gender Perspective in Angola. The objective was to get a better idea of the social reality and gender equality in 15 municipalities in the provinces of Uíge, Huambo and Huíla. In the research, the existing inequalities in areas such as access to justice, access to civil registration, education, civic participation, and access to secure sources of income were analyzed. With the dissemination of the research, Mosaiko and FEC intend to make a contribution to inform decision-making by state institutions, civil society organisations or other social actors, on the approach of gender equality in public policies.
👉 https://www.fecongd.org/2022/03/10/pesquisa-social-sobre-politicas-publicas-inclusivas-numa-perspetiva-de-genero/ . Full study also available in EN and FR.
On IWD, the Italian Coalition Against Poverty to which our member FOCSIV adheres, expressed deep concern for the war in Ukraine and in particular for the safety and survival of women and girls in Ukraine, and in all countries affected by conflict.
👉 You can read the statement, including their concrete recommendations, here: Porre fine alla violenza, all’esclusione e alla discriminazione contro le donne – FOCSIV
DKA (member of KOO), Austria
As one example of their many partners working towards gender equality, DKA showcased the work of their Bolivian partner ‘Centro Juana Azurduy’. The mission of the centre is to fight against the patriarchal system and machismo as they are the structural causes of oppression of women. You can learn more about the amazing work of the centre in the video below.
Manos Unidas, Spain
Manos Unidas works with and for women every day of the year, since their founding in 1959. On IWD, they focused on impoverished women, the most vulnerable and punished by the prevailing inequality in the world, which condemns millions of people to hunger and poverty. This is one of the inequalities that they are denouncing with their campaign ‘Our indifference condemns them to oblivion’.
👉 Día de la Mujer 2022: combatir la desigualdad con las armas del desarrollo | ONG Manos Unidas
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, USA
The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers hosted a Women’s Day of Prayer. The recording is available here 👉 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hpP0MVQ5AQ
The Maryknoll Sisters highlighted the story of Sister Efu Nyaki, who is on a mission in Brazil and who is the co-creator of Afya, a holistic Healing Center for abused women.
Misereor, together with the Katholischer Deutscher Frauenbund e.V., called on the German government to provide effective aid for women in Afghanistan, highlighting that the war in Ukraine must not let Afghanistan be forgotten. In their press release, they state that “emergency aid must be expanded, women’s rights activists threatened with death and torture must be evacuated from the country, and sustainable projects to empower women in the country must be secured.”
Partage Lu, Luxembourg
Partage Lu drew attention to a topic that is fundamental to women’s empowerment: self-awareness and capacities. In their IWD message on social media they emphasized that “most women in developing countries have no idea what they can do and therefore cannot understand the importance of changing their living conditions, even if they live in extremely difficult situations. So today we celebrate women and all their achievements and wish them even more.”
👉 Watch the video here: https://fb.watch/bH4AA41wkP
SCIAF highlighted the bravery of Fadia, a young Syrian architect who is helping to rebuild and rewrite the story of her country. “As the war in Ukraine unfolds, Fadia’s warm embrace, resilience and positivity reminds us that there is hope in the darkness. And that together we can build God’s Kingdom here on Earth.”
The women of Sierra Leone are a political force that can no longer be ignored. In Sierra Leone, with a population of almost eight million people, just 19 percent of local politicians are women, and only 13 at national level. On IWD, Trócaire highlighted the Yellow Ribbon Campaign. It is made up of civil society organisations and women’s empowerment advocates in Sierra Leone, who with support from Trócaire, are the driving force behind a new government bill aimed at increasing women’s representation in public parliament and local councils.