8 March 2023 - Reaffirming the urgency of placing care on the political agendas
What does 8 March mean to Women Human Rights Defenders?
It’s a time to remember the struggles for equality and celebrate some of the wins for women's rights. Past and present women have been at the forefront of the fight for social and systemic change, and deserve recognition for their contributions to our societies.
This year, ESCR-Net members continue to focus their efforts on advocating for a Social Pact on Care.
‘’Care work is fundamentally associated with us; it is the fundamental cause of inequality’’
Mónica Ibáñez, leader of the women domestic workers - Argentina
‘’It means the beginning of the recognition of the rights of working women. We must vindicate and honor those compañeras who gave their lives, to achieve rights for all. Raising the care agenda is important to make care visible.’’
Dora Sanchez, Private House Worker - Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
"Care work is provided by women who get up every day against all odds to provide safe spaces, food, and access to information for ordinary people from their communities who cannot access these basic services."
Zoliswa Mbekwa, Activist – Zimbabwe
Who takes care of those who are on the Front Lines?
Themselves, as caregivers, women human rights defenders who are on the front lines are exposed to attacks and exhaustion. They often find themselves alone, creating their own safe spaces with only the support of their peers and networks.
"This does not exist. We must make proposals, and public policies, to make the community aware that women caregivers also need support as caregivers. Mainly, to raise awareness within families, share the care burden, and support women caregivers so that they feel they have rights."
Juana Toledo, ESCR-Net Board member and indigenous leader from Consejo de Pueblos Wuxhtaj (Guatemala).
Read the thread of more women human rights defenders below
A fair global social pact on Care centered on human rights, people, and the planet
Women spend two to ten times more time on unpaid care work and domestic care than men. This unequal distribution of responsibilities is linked to gender roles and stereotypes in all patriarchal societies. This burden is especially heavy on domestic workers. In 2014, six years before the pandemic, the OECD Development Center referred to the disproportionately high amount of time spent on unpaid domestic work in addition to their paid activities as the ‘’double burden’’. Unfortunately, this burden is not made visible, not recognized, or valued.
‘’It is important to show the issue of care on this day. Make visible the contribution of women in human development and the preservation of nature, in the preservation of ancestral knowledge and skills,’’ stated Juana Toledo.
On March 7, trade unions, feminists, and political and social movements, led by SOCRA, came together in defense of democracy in Argentina. They gathered outside the courthouse to call for a feminist judicial reform and a sovereign democracy (full document only available in Spanish).
On March 8, Women Land rights movement of Muungano wa wanavijiji and Pamoja Trust launch a five-year strategy plan ‘‘DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality on Women Land Rights’’. As part of a nationwide campaign, the Community Strategic Plan addresses the challenges faced by the residents of informal settlements in Nairobi through various initiatives, such as providing affordable housing, improving water and sanitation infrastructure, and creating employment opportunities.
From March 6 to March 17, various ESCR-net members attended IWRAW’s virtual and in-person side events held during the sixty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women. These events included the presentation of lessons learned during the Global Tribunal of Women Workers held between September and October last year.
To know more about our activities around care during 8 March 2023, read our March Newsletter here.