Women Across the World Walk Out and Unite Against Violence, in Spite of Police Arrests and Harassment

News & Politics

On March 8, people took to the streets, walked out of work, and wore red to show solidarity in cities and towns across the world, in an International Women’s Day protest against the gender-based violence inflicted by neoliberalism, war, and poverty.

The global actions reportedly took place in more than 50 countries, from Mexico to Bolivia to Russia. The U.S. arm was organized by the International Women's Strike and the Women’s March, which recently pulled off the largest inaugural protest in U.S. history. It has the backing of a diverse array of labor and social justice organizations.

The U.S. platform calls for “an Antiracist and Anti-imperialist Feminism” against “the open white supremacists in the current government and the far right and anti-Semites they have given confidence to." It continues, "we stand for an uncompromising anti-racist and anti-colonial feminism.”

“This means that movements such as Black Lives Matter, the struggle against police brutality and mass incarceration, the demand for open borders and for immigrant rights and for the decolonization of Palestine are for us the beating heart of this new feminist movement,” the U.S. platform states. “We want to dismantle all walls, from prison walls to border walls, from Mexico to Palestine.”

“These actions are aimed at making visible the needs and aspirations of those whom lean-in feminism ignored: women in the formal labor market, women working in the sphere of social reproduction and care, and unemployed and precarious working women,” declared key organizers, including Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh, in a statement released last month.

“Organizers are calling on us to choose among three options: Don’t work, don’t buy things, and wear red,” wrote Ai-jen Poo, the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. “Domestic workers will be participating by wearing red to work. As is the case with many low-wage workers who lack job security, most domestic workers cannot afford to take a day off, or they could risk losing their jobs if they do.”

Schools in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Alexandria, Virginia, and Prince George County, Maryland, closed on March 8 in anticipation that teachers and other staff would stay home.

Meanwhile, under the banner of Women Workers Rising, major unions and workers’ organizations mobilized for a demonstration at the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C., to “end workplace violence and harassment and promote pay equity, one fair living wage, paid leave and labor rights at work.”

At least 10 demonstrators have reportedly been arrested in New York as people across the world took to the streets.

“We shout out to the women who lead through survival, especially the women who manage with multiple forms of oppression on their backs,” Palestine Legal proclaimed in an open statement on March 7. “We embrace a model of change that embraces women’s leadership from the megaphone to the community meeting, from the boycott to the one-on-one conversation. If you have to work tomorrow, we strike for you, and we know that all mothers are working mothers.”

Protesters marched through Dublin demanding access to safe reproductive health care and a repeal of the 8th amendment, which almost entirely bans abortion.

As protests swept Brazil, women with the Movimento Sem Terra (MST) in Brazil "occupied the abandoned farm of a businessman currently in jail because of corruption," according to The Guardian.

The global mobilizations come one week ahead of the U.S.-based National Day of Action for Trans Women of Color. “So far in 2017, seven of our sisters have lost their lives to horrific acts of violence. These Black and native trans women’s lives were in jeopardy on multiple levels before November 8th and threats have only increased since,” states a call to action issued by Get Equal, Black Youth Project 100, Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement and numerous other organizations. “We have the chance to change the herstory of this moment by taking action to show up for trans women of color.”

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