Stories of hope and resistance from the CIDSE network
Each year, International Women’s Rights 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 blog, we spotlight some of the many stories of hope and resistance that our members and their partners shared on IWD 2023.
Broederlijk Delen, Belgium
Broederlijk Delen organised a public action in front of the EU Parliament on 8 March to call for a stronger EU Corporate Sustainable Due Diligence law and denounce the corporate human rights violations of women activists. Speeches were delivered by Lieve Herijgers, Director of Broederlijk Delen and Susana Ramírez Lopéz, an indigenous woman human rights defender from Pastoral de la Tierra San Marcos in Guatemala.
👉 De zorgplichtwet: de lat voor bedrijven moet hoger
CAFOD, England and Wales
On IWD, CAFOD celebrated the achievements of women worldwide and called for equal rights for women and men. Defending women’s human rights in Guatemala was also the focus of an article telling the story of Zoila, an indigenous Mayan Q’eqchi’ leader. CAFOD also released a lent reflection to think of all the women across the world whose leadership and service are rooted in love for their communities, women who may not always be recognised and celebrated.
👉 Defending women’s rights in Guatemala
CCFD-Terre Solidaire, France
In an interview for the French newspaper, Le Journal du Dimanche, Sylvie Bukhari-de Pontual, President of CCFD-Terre Solidaire denounced “patriarchy as one of the structural causes of poverty and inequality”. The organisation also paid tribute to women who work tirelessly for greater solidarity by sharing the portraits of two inspiring women: Rose Padilha (Brazil) who has dedicated her life to the indigenous people of the Brazilian Amazon and Béatrice Epaye (Central African Republic), Member of Parliament and President of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Readers were also invited to test their knowledge on facts related to women in a small quizz.
👉 Les femmes qui nous inspirent – Terre Solidaire
Cordaid, the Netherlands
Cordaid used the opportunity of IWD to celebrate the progress and the importance of women’s movements which help carve a space for women and youth whose voices are often ignored. In a blog, writer and former Cordaid colleague, Mahamuda Rahman, also explored the semantics behind the term feminism.
👉 Why we still need women’s movements in 2023 and beyond
👉 If it involves all of us, why do we still call it feminism?
Development and Peace, Canada
Development and Peace celebrated 180 women and girls in Sierra Leone who are battling great odds to fulfil their aspirations and occupy their rightful place in society with the help of their partner organisation NMJD (Network Movement for Justice and Development).
Entraide et Fraternité, Belgium
Entraide et Fraternité paid tribute to Barbara Dias do Nascimento, Maria Moreira and 4 other women working or collaborating with their Brazilian partner organisations who are supporting the struggles of rural peasant communities and facilitate the empowerment of women living in these communities.
👉 Brésil: la terre, c’est la vie
Fastenaktion places the issue of gender equality at the heart of all its projects. For IWD, they shared two examples from Burkina Faso showing that successful gender work goes beyond the mere promotion of women.
👉 “Gerechtigkeit braucht alle Geschlechter“ (IT and FR)
On IWD, FEC asked their staff from Angola, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Portugal to say one word that comes to their mind when they hear “Woman”.
👉 O que é ser mulher
FOCSIV highlighted the campaign “Peace Goes Beyond. Sustain hope” which they are promoting together with Caritas Italiana where women are the protagonists. They shared the story of Aisha, who is part of a group of Syrian women trying to sustain their family income and to develop ties and solidarity, thanks to an initiative of Caritas Turkey. A commitment that continues despite the difficulties related to the dramatic earthquake which took place last February.
👉 Donne che costruiscono, e ricostruiscono
KFB (member of KOO), Austria
The Austrian Catholic Women’s Movement has been working for gender justice within the Catholic Church as well as publicly since it was first set up. IWD was an opportunity for them to look at achievements as well as at persisting gaps, especially in the area of care.
👉 Ist der 8. März für uns ein Feiertag? Noch nicht (ganz)
Manos Unidas, Spain
On IWD, Manos Unidas focused on the promotion of education as a tool to promote women’s rights and shared the story of Naira, a young Moroccan woman who won a scholarship to study in Canada. Her story could be that of many other young women who, with will and effort, are capable of overcoming the barriers and reticence of patriarchal societies that, even today, marginalize and exclude women, whom they consider second-class people.
👉 Impulsamos la educación como herramienta para promover los derechos de las mujeres
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, USA
The Maryknoll Lay Missioners published a blog by Dee Dungy about stories of women refugees in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp.
👉 Waiting in hope
Misereor, together with the Katholischer Deutscher Frauenbund e.V., called on the German government to continue its commitment to the Afghan civilian population and to secure projects for women in the long term. “The strict gender segregation that has been imposed in Afghanistan is driving women and their children into hunger.” In view of the humanitarian crisis in the country, it is imperative that emergency aid reaches everyone unconditionally.
👉 Afghanistan: Frauen-Projekte langfristig sichern
Partage Lu, Luxembourg
Women are the backbone of societies – their contributions are invaluable, and their impact is immeasurable. Partage lu celebrated the strength, resilience, and determination of women around the world, calling to work together towards a future where all women have access to equal opportunities and can reach their full potential.
SCIAF reminded us that we can’t end poverty without tackling gender inequality. Across the world, opportunities for women and girls are disproportionately limited; the chance of owning property or land is lower than for men; leadership roles are harder to attain; and access to education and training is worse, meaning it is harder for women to improve their lives and the lives of the next generation. Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) is also commonplace, and one of the most widespread human-rights abuses in our world.
👉 Equality empowerment education for all women and girls
On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, Trócaire acknowledged 50 remarkable women who over the past five decades they have had the privilege to work with and learn from. View the slideshow of these women in honour of International Women’s Day.
👉 The remarkable women of Trócaire who fight for a just world
Vastenactie, The Netherlands
Vastenactie shared the story of Awut and Ajak, two women from South Sudan, who turned survival into living together/coexistence. “As refugees, it’s smart to join hands,’ says Ajak. “Surviving together is easier than surviving alone. And most importantly: keep the peace. Let’s live together as one people in one world!”
👉 Samen overleven is gemakkelijker dan alleen