Human rights and women’s groups in the Philippines on Wednesday, March 8, vowed to “stand in solidarity with all women victims of repression” as they marked International Women’s Day.
“There are many … women who have been victimized as they suffered economic and social dislocation due to aerial bombings, artillery attacks, militarization and the demolition of their communities,” read a statement from the group Karapatan.
“There are likewise those who slowly suffer and die, not from bombs or bullets, but from the insidious violence wrought by poverty in their daily lives,” added the group.
Hundreds of women, women workers, and advocates of women’s rights marched in the streets of the capital Manila to demand higher wages, decent jobs, and protection of their rights on Wednesday.
“The unities formed by women workers and the rest of the toiling Filipinos for wage hike belie government’s claim that the same would be ‘harmful to the economy,’” said Clarice Palce, secretary general of the women’s group Gabriela.
This year’s International Women’s Day came at the heels of a transport strike against the proposed phaseout of public utility jeeps in the country. Jeepney drivers and operators joined the protests.
“We need job security in the form of regular work for all and the abolition of contractual work in the country,” said Palce in her statement.
“We need improved services for violence against women and children, health, and other public services,” she added.
“We need that the brave women and other Filipinos who stand up, speak out, and articulate their concerns to duly have their Constitutional rights protected, and that workers — including working women — be free to unionize, negotiate, engage in collective bargaining, and protest in different spaces without fear of violence and reprisal,” she said.
The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates said that “only by placing women’s struggles at the heart of human rights actions, can we achieve the meaningful progress that generations of women have fought for.”
In its statement, the group said it “salute[s] all women who fought and (who are) continuously fighting for civic and democratic space, reproductive rights and quality health care system, ending gender-based violence, expanding women’s economic opportunities, climate justice, labor rights, (and) the right of every woman to live equally, and free from discrimination, no matter her sexuality or identity.”
Alyansa Tigil Mina said it “stands in solidarity with women from all walks of life, especially those who persist in fighting for gender equity, women’s rights and women empowerment.”
“As we celebrate International Women’s Day, we call on government to act on the demands of women in mining-affected communities and stop destructive mining projects,” said the group.
It said that women “have a close affinity to the environment, respecting nature’s cycles and managing natural resources to provide and care for the family and community.”
“Women environmental defenders, in particular, play an important role in leading the fight against the destruction of the environment brought about by mining operations,” read the group’s statement.
“We urge the public to stand in solidarity with the women in mining-affected communities and amplify their voices,” it added.
The International Women’s Day is a global holiday celebrated annually on March 8 as a focal point in the women’s rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women.