Credit: Collectif 8 mars. Coopérative Belvédère communication. Illustration : Marin Blanc.

Some people ask why March 8 is so important. Why do we need a “women’s day”? It bears repeating: March 8 isn’t a day to celebrate women, a Mother’s Day for all women. It is a day when we commemorate feminist struggles stretching back to the early 20th century. At the time, women were demanding recognition of their rights as women, workers and mothers: the right to live in dignity, to be free from violence, to be recognized as political beings and as people capable of making decisions.

Those demands remain relevant today, at home and abroad. The struggles of all people who identify as women have yet to be won. Women must be heard and listened to. This is why we continue to commemorate March 8, to resist and struggle. This is why we must fashion our demands into a rallying cry that reverberates in every land. The resistance and the struggle must go on for as long as necessary. 

I write this blog in solidarity with our sisters around the world. I am thinking of our Iranian sisters, who have been resisting religious tyranny for years, and even more so in recent months; our Peruvian sisters, who are invisible in the media but are leading political demonstrations at the risk of their lives. I am thinking of our Ukrainian sisters, who are being brutalized on a scale we are only starting to comprehend and to denounce —and they are by no means the first women to suffer the worst horrors in times of war. I am thinking of all our sisters who are striving for a brighter future, who are crossing borders, sometimes on foot, or by boat, or hidden in trucks, exposed to the dangers that come with the greatest vulnerability one can have in this world: being perceived as a woman.      

A slogan for March 8

As an organization that seeks to promote social change, it is our duty to lend our support to these voices, to broadcast them as widely and loudly as possible, using our privilege of being read, listened to and heard. The Collectif 8 mars has chosen “Feminist Resistance” as this year’s slogan for March 8. It underscores the need for action and continuing struggle for a free, just, egalitarian, and inclusive society. It is a slogan of love and hope that is very much in line with Mission inclusion’s vision and work. Our goal is precisely to advance social inclusion in ways that open up new paths for all who are excluded, marginalized and victims of violence.

While discussing with my counterparts to write this post, I noticed that the demands made by different organizations are complementary and transcend geographical and cultural borders.

I am thinking of Mères avec Pouvoir, a Quebec organization that fights against the discrimination suffered by single mothers in their educational and professional careers. Autour du bébé, another organization, denounces the appropriation of women’s bodies and their time related to motherhood. Women who become mothers are often dispossessed of their bodies, considered as belonging to society as a whole, and are pressured to meet social norms in terms of physical appearance and sexuality.

I am also thinking of the La Passerelle women’s centre in Kamouraska, which fights against feminicide and sexual exploitation, as well as to break the isolation that some women may experience. Similarly, our partner Swayam in India has observed an increase in violence against women, also taking new forms, whether it be cyber-violence, psychological violence, or financial control. For them, feminist organizations must remain mobilized to raise awareness of these issues and fight against all forms of violence suffered by women throughout the world. Finally, our partner APIL in Burkina Faso highlights the so-called invisible strength of women, their resilience, and the key role they play in conflict prevention and peace building.

All these organizations agree on the importance of sensitizing and mobilizing men and boys in the fight for gender equality. They are key allies in the fight against all forms of discrimination and violence against women.

I would like to close with this thought: the future is feminist. Because women, in all their diversity, are putting forward solutions for a better world, alternative visions for a society that is more peaceful, more inclusive, and more at peace with nature. It isn’t just for women. It’s for all human beings who are beaten down by domination and the unbridled pursuit of profit. These women must be given their rightful place and their voices must be heard.

In the meantime, let us fight together for a more inclusive and egalitarian society.

Discover the actions of Mission inclusion for women’s rights in Quebec and around the world on our website.