International Women’s Day
Latin America and the Caribbean mobilize on International Women’s Day
Date: 09 March 2017
Thousands took to the streets to march in the main cities of the region, through chants and signs, people urged to tackle gender based violence, promote economic empowerment and parity democracy.
Students, entrepreneurs, lawyers, businesswomen and young women participated in an event organized by the Barbados Coalition of Industrial Services (BCSI) and UN Women to commemorate International Women’s Day.
The event, held in the UN House in Bridgetown, allowed the participants to share their experiences and talk about the challenges they face as women, especially at work.
It wasn’t Carnival, but the streets of Sao Pauli and Rio de Janeiro were packed of people that marched with signs, music and chants to commemorate International Women’s Day.
On the same day, a partnership between UN Women, Grupo Globo and Fundo Elas was signed to promote gender equality in Brazil.
As part of this partnership, the campaign “Direitos iguais” (Equal rights) was launched, aimed at delivering broadly the message of gender equality through rights and empowerment.
Protests and gatherings organized by the Bolivian society were complemented by a historic act to commemorate International Women’s Day: the creation of the Parity Observatory in the Electoral Supreme Tribunal of the country.
“If our lives are not worthy, then produce without us”, was the phrase used by feminist organizations that were part of the strike that took place in La Paz, which objective was to improve working conditions for women and stop gender based violence, femicide and irregular abortions.
Movies, bicycle rides, concerts and protests were some of the activities called by Colombian society to commemorate International Women’s Day in Bogota, where the day coincided with the 60th anniversary of women’s right to vote in the country.
At the same time, UN Women, together with the UN Global Compact, supported the action “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” in the Stock Exchange of Bogota, joining over 40 stock exchanges in the world.
The bell strokes had a special meaning this year, in which the UN prioritized women’s empowerment in the changing world of work as the main topic for this International Women’s Day.
Alejandra Urrutia is the first woman to direct Chile’s Camera Orchestra and, in the context of the International Women’s Day, she was the main conductor of an evening gala with more than 600 people, including President Michelle Bachelet, that enjoyed musical pieces exclusively composed by women.
The repertoire included pieces by composers Valeria Valle and Clara Wieck-Schumann, as well as Fanny Hensel-Mendelssohn, a composer condemned to ostracism for over a century for the mere fact of being a woman. Songs composed by Chilean musician Violeta Parra were a must of the repertoire, as 2017 is the year that commemorates 100 years of her birth; her song “El Gavilan”, considered her masterpiece, was played by the the orchestra of Sergio “Tilo” Gonzalez. The concert ended with the interpretation of “One Woman”, the official theme of UN Women.
This event marked the opening of the HeForShe Arts Week in Santiago. Throughout the week, people in the city will enjoy feminist books in the subway, the projection of the film Rara, in the Centro Cultural España, and the presence of UN Women in Festival Ruidosa, as part of the Arts Week program.
On the 9th of March, Banco Estado, the only state bank in Chile, signed to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), and confirmed the commitment of the institution towards gender equality and women’s empowerment. This makes Banco Estado the first Chilean bank to sign these principles of gender equality and economic development that, through seven commitments, aim to guarantee empowerment, equality and affirmative actions for women.
In San Salvador, the streets were not only taken, but they also changed their names. To commemorate International Women’s Day, the 10th South Avenue changed its name to Avenida Prudencia Ayala, to honor the woman that fought for women’s rights in El Salvador.
Activities began in this country since the 6th of March with the forum “Challenges of empowerment for indigenous women in El Salvador”, where representatives of the Government, the private sector and several UN agencies participated.
In Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula and La Ceiba women from across the country congregated to urge a stop to gender violence and call for the respect of women’s rights, as well as gender empowerment mechanisms in this country.
The topic of gender violence was echoed in the Embassies of Canada and Mexico, where the forum “Putting an end to gender violence. Challenges and opportunities” was held to commemorate International Women’s Day.
The speakers were Migdonia Ayestas, Director of the Violence Observatory; Karla Cueva, Freedom House Director in Honduras; Merly Eguigure, Coordinator of the Tribune of women against femiiced; Margarita Bueso, Representative of UN Women, and Maritza Oliva Perdomo, Director of the Women’s National Institute.
This event aimed to share different perspectives on the combat of violence against women, and it highlighted the link between development, security and women’s rights. It also established a dialogue between the speakers and the participants about the challenges and opportunities in Honduras to face this issue.
The market bell rang in the Stock Exchange for gender equality in Kingston, where several top business leaders expressed their commitment to gender equality in an event that signaled the start of a private sector partnership with UN Women in the Caribbean by signing on to the Women’s Economic Empowerment Principles (WEPs).
Once again, Paseo de la Reforma paralyzed Mexico City with the attendance of thousands to commemorate International Women’s Day, an action that was complemented with activities during three days.
Starting on March 7th, UN-Women Representative in Mexico, Ana Guezmes, participated in the Forum of Women, Media and ICT, organized by the Federal Institute of Telecommunications, as part of this institution’s commitments by signing HeForShe, and during the event a study of representation of women in mass media was also presented.
The 8th of March began with the presentation of 17 buses in Mexico City that are exclusive for women passengers. This is one of the actions that are part of the UN Women’s flagship programme Safe Cities and Public Spaces for Women and Girls.
The following day, the Museo Memoria y Tolerancia (Musuem of Memory and Tolerance) signed on to HeForShe. The museum has committed to carrying on several expositions with gender perspective, offer workshops to promote women’s rights and to produce qualitative and quantitative studies with gender perspective.
From Parque Porras to the Justice Attorney’s Main Building, in the center of Panama City, Panamanian society took to the streets this 8th of March to commemorate International Women’s Day.
A day before, in the halls of the only bank with a woman CEO in the country, Banistmo, the forum “The empowerment of women in the changing world of work” was held, where Luiza Carvalho, Regional Director for UN Women in the Americas and the Caribbean, participated.
The Vice-President and Foreign Affairs Minister of Panama, the Authority of the Panama Canal, the Association of Women Directors of Panama and the CEO of Banistmo also participated in this event.
From the Plaza de la Libertad to the Universidad de la República, the center of Montevideo wittnessed the biggest march ever recorded to commemorate International Women’s Day, where the main claims of gender equality were focused on closing the salary gap between men and women, and to stop gender based violence.
Trinidad y Tobago
HeForShe found a highly important ally in the Mayor of Port of Spain, Joel Martinez, who signed the campaign in an event coordinated by UN Women Multi-Country Office Caribbean Civil Society Advisory Member Gia Gaspard-Taylor, President of the Network of Rural Women Producers Trinidad and Tobago (NRWPTT) and UN Women HeForShe champion in Trinidad and Tobago.