Thousands of women take to the streets of several countries around the world to protest for human rights

The UN Secretary-General warned of the evaporation of progress made and said that at this rate “it will take 300 years” to achieve equality between the sexes.

Armend NIMANI / AFPwomen's day protest
Women participate in a demonstration for gender equality and against violence against women to mark International Women’s Day in Pristina on March 8, 2023

By thousands women took to the streets of several countries this Wednesday, the 8th, to denounce a global offensive against their rights and to demand an end to discrimination and femicides, which are on the rise in some countries. “The progress achieved in decades is evaporating before our eyes”, warned the general secretary of UN, Antonio Guterres, Monday 6. “At the current rate, UN Women calculates that it will take 300 years” to achieve equality between men and women, he added. The reasons for the mobilization are numerous: the discrimination imposed on Afghanistan since the turn of Taliban in power, the suppression of protests in Iran over the death of Mahsa Amini, the questioning of the right to abortion in the United States or the consequences of the war in Ukraine for women. In Brazil, it operates in São Paulo And no Rio de Janeiro will denounce the “cuts in policies for the protection of women” and the “staggering increase in machismo and misogyny” during the right-wing Jair Bolsonaro’s term (2019-2022), said Junéia Batista, of the Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT).

Since the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, women and girls have been “wiped out of public life”. Afghan universities reopened on Monday after the winter break, but only men were allowed to attend classes. Women who were victims of aggression by their husbands and managed to get a divorce were forced to return to their partners after the marriage annulment was annulled. The European Union (EU) on Tuesday approved sanctions against the Taliban’s Minister of Higher Education, Neda Mohammed Nadeem, “responsible for widespread violations of women’s right to education”. Individuals or other entities responsible for violations of women’s rights in Iran, Russia, South Sudan, Myanmar and Syria are also subject to sanctions. Women’s demonstrations have been banned in some countries, such as in Pakistan, where authorities have blamed “controversial signs” that protesters often hold, claiming divorce or against sexual harassment.

women's rights

Independent feminist organizations in Cuba, which called for a “virtual march” on social media to raise awareness of gender-based violence and femicide, were also denied authorization to protest. The organizations seek to give more visibility to these cases as the country has had no official data since 2016 and the penal code, in force since last year, does not characterize femicide as a crime. Another central theme of the protests will be protections for the right to abortion, weakened in the United States by the Supreme Court’s decision in June to revoke a 1973 ruling that guaranteed access at the federal level. In Europe, this right has also been weakened in Hungary and Poland. “We fight against a patriarchy (…) that fights to the death for our rights – like abortion – that we won by fighting”, says the manifesto of the march that will take place in Madrid. In France, demonstrations were called for “equality at work and life”. The country is in turmoil over strikes and protests against pension reforms pushed by Emmanuel Macron’s liberal government, which critics say are having a detrimental effect on women. There are also planned protests in major cities in Mexico, Colombia and Venezuela.

women in parliament

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