Though the COVID-19 pandemic is still creating challenges for AJWS grantee partners around the world, many found safe, powerful ways to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8. Each year, International Women’s Day—an important part of Women’s History Month—is an opportunity to focus on the victories of women activists and advocates, and their ongoing struggles for women’s rights both around the world and here at home. Below, click through our slide show to see how three brave, innovative and determined AJWS grantee organizations celebrated this year.
Unidad Ecológica Salvadoreña, El Salvador
People with AJWS grantee partner Unidad Ecológica Salvadoreña (UNES)—an organization in El Salvador that works to promote sustainability, justice and gender equality—marched as part of a national demonstration on March 7. The demonstrators spoke out against harmful patriarchal attitudes and structures that cause violence against women and environmental destruction. Several other AJWS grantees, including Foro del Agua, COMCAVIS Trans, Mesa Nacional Frente Minería Metálica and Asociación de Distribuidoras de El Salvador, joined the march, creating a true coalition of human rights advocates taking to the streets.
Shaheen Women Welfare Organisation, India
In Hyderabad, India, dozens of women and girls involved with AJWS grantee partner Shaheen Women Welfare Organisation—a group that fights gender-based violence and advances the rights of women and girls to determine their own futures—gathered for bicycle rally on International Women’s Day. Jameela Nishat, chairperson of Shaheen, said that, “the cycle rally’s message was clear: That we want to increase girls’ mobility. The girls are trained in a way that they know how to deal with challenges in life without fear. We want the girls to be confident enough to proceed in their life independently and they should be self-reliant, going ahead.” Jameela added that, “the cycle rally is also to honor the female Covid-19 warriors, whose role can’t be ignored.”
Rajsamand Jan Vikas Sansthan, India
While many AJWS grantee organizations took to the streets in protest for International Women’s Day, Rajsamand Jan Vikas Sansthan (RJVS) decided to focus on how women can support each other during these challenging times. Based in the state of Rajasthan in India, RJVS fights for the rights of marginalized women and girls. On March 8, they held an event promoting women’s health and wellbeing, distributing seeds for kitchen gardens to combat malnutrition. RJVS provided a safe space for women to share their struggles and achievements.