“We salute the historical struggles of organized women in the fields and cities, for rights and dignified life; who nurture peoples, collective memory and resistances around the world”~ La Via Campesina’s Call to Action issued on 26 February 2022.
(Bagnolet, March 16, 2022) Through acts of denunciation, activism, education and rebellion, the women of La Via Campesina and around the world commemorated International Working Women’s Day on March 8, 2022. With the motto: Sowing Food Sovereignty and Solidarity, We Harvest Rights and a Dignified life! hundreds of decentralized actions were carried out in the territories.
Outstanding symbolic actions were carried out by organizations in countries such as Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, Honduras, Kenya, Tanzania, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Nepal and India, where rural and city women mobilized and denounced exploitation and oppression under capitalist patriarchy.
Here is a short update:
Women members of La Via Campesina Southern and Eastern Africa celebrated the International Women’s Day in Masashi Tanzania. In addition, rural women farmers from Mtandao wa Vikundi vya Wakulima Tanzania (MVIWATA) held a demonstration highlighting the urgent need for solidarity among women workers around the world. They called for small farmers solidarity in the fight against gender violence, land disputes, and access to trading services.
Women farmers of the Kenyan Peasants League held a workshop on Agroecology in the Mariwa Cluster. They also sent a strong message of solidarity to women farmers around the world in the common struggle for Food Sovereignty.
In Uganda, the Eastern and Southern Africa small-scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF) celebrated its 20th anniversary, and joined in commemorating International Women’s Day under the motto “Gender Equality for a Sustainable Tomorrow”, recognizing the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge in adapting, mitigating and responding to climate change, in pursuit of a more sustainable future for all.
In Honduras, Plataforma 25 de Noviembre celebrated the country’s first woman President, while denouncing femicide as an extreme and lethal form of gender-based violence that continues to affect thousands of women and girls in Honduras. They also called on National Congress to pass comprehensive legislation against gender violence and to establish a special monitoring committee on femicides.
Meanwhile, in Paraguay, women joined longstanding struggles in favor of the legalization of rural and urban settlements, the implementation of state policies supporting small producers affected by climate change, Paraguayan sovereignty in Itaipu, and the political trial of state attorney general, Sandra Quiñónez. They have been mobilized for more than 13 days now.
Landless Women’s National Day of Mobilisation was held in Brazil, between March 7 and 14, 2022, under the slogan “Land, Work, Right to Exist, women in movement will not give in”, various actions and statements demanded Bolsonaro Out! In Women Without Land’s Open Letter of love and action, women farmers denounced violence against their life and territories, and regression of human rights.
Chile’s National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women, Anamuri, joined the caravan of women and dissidents in Santiago, marching to the Ministry of Agriculture for the right to life and water under the hashtag #NosQuierenSecarLaVida
In Venezuela, women called for gender equality towards a fair and more humane society. The women’s movement denounced and firmly condemned the criminal sanctions imposed by the US government harming Venezuelan people through economic warfare and unilateral coercive measures that threaten the country’s political and social peace and stability.
To close the month of actions, the Articulation of Women of the Cloc – Via Campesina held a seminar on March 28th, with the participation of 61 women leaders from organizations throughout Latin America.
In Asia, Korean Women Peasant Association (KWPA), the Assembly of the Poor in Thailand, and Serikat Petani Indonesia held events and organized actions to commemorate this day.
The Assembly of the Poor held first semester courses in agroecology school, providing a space for young people to gain a deeper understanding of Peasant Agroecology to achieve Food Sovereignty. On March 8, the students also shared a short video to highlight the role of Peasant and Popular Feminism in this struggle. A celebration was also held at the farmers market, led by members of the movement.
Women peasant leaders of Indonesia also sent messages of solidarity and strength.
In India, women farmer leaders from Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha held an assembly where they highlighted the rural debt crisis and its disproportionate impact on women and children. Talking about the problems faced by the peasant woman within the agrarian crisis, Anasuyamma, a senior female farmer leader in Ramanagaram, said, “If an employee dies, his wife is given pension, PF and KGID on the basis of compassion. Similarly, the government should take action to ensure that the name of the wife married to a farmer joins the family farm.” A farmer from Davanagere, Sarojamma of Tadvanam, said, “I have gained financial strength by producing and selling 36 varieties of agricultural products. The Department of Agriculture has made a memorable cooperation. By selling organic and byproducts in agriculture, the farmer gets the power to lend to someone else without getting into debt.”
In Sri Lanka, a demonstration was held on March 12 to highlight the urgent need to guarantee female plantation workers land rights.
Women leaders also held demonstrations in Nepal’s capital, highlighting women farmers’ central role in ensuring Food Sovereignty. Nepal is one of the few countries in the world where Food Sovereignty has constitutional recognition.
During this day of action the ECVC called for more commitment and concrete actions to empower, protect and support women through policy and paradigm change. “We call for an end to all forms of violence and oppression, both in Europe and in solidarity with our sisters around the world. We call for programs, education, and communications campaigns to build healthier and more just societies and gender relations. We call for fair incomes for farmers, as a key part of valuing the work of women farmers around the world”. Read the full statement here.
Throughout the world, peasant women, indigenous women, landless women, agricultural workers, and migrants denounced the structural violence of the capitalist system that attacks the bodies, makes women and mother earth sick, and commodifies territories and life.
As we commemorate 30 years of La Vía Campesina as a political tool, “we will continue to fight against patriarchal and racist LGBTphobic policies of capitalism, agribusiness and extractivism, as peasant women we defend the way of Peasant and Popular Feminism, Popular Agrarian Reform and of Food Sovereignty in favor of life, against hunger and death”, said María Canil, member of CONAVIGUA, Gautemala and LVC Women’s Articulation.