- March 7, 2021
March 8 is International Women’s Day (IWD), which has its origins in the protests, strikes and marches of women trade unionists. Over the years, IWD has evolved into an internationally recognised day to draw attention to womens’ rights and equal participation in all scenes of political, economic and social life.
Around this day every year, the International Trade Union Confederation is releasing special reports, videos or campaigns to bring public attention to the problems faced by women around the world.
One year on, the pandemic has clearly demonstrated that the work women do – both paid and unpaid – is crucial to keeping our societies and economies running, even under the most extraordinary of circumstances. As union leaders and essential workers in health and care services, cleaning, food retail, and as unpaid caregivers at home, women have been front and centre of this crisis.
However, the pandemic has exposed and worsened pre-existing structural inequalities. Too many women and people already on the margins of our societies because of discrimination, exclusion and violence are experiencing the worst of the health and socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.
On International Women’s Day, trade unions, in alliance with women’s rights organisations, feminist, human rights and social justice movements, are calling for a New Social Contract to repair trust and rebuild democracy based on:
- Rights: guarantee women’s labour rights and protections, including the right to live and work free from violence and harassment;
- Jobs: invest in care to create millions of much needed decent low- or zero-carbon jobs, help reduce gender inequalities and inequities and improve the availability and quality of services for all;
- Social protection: secure gender-responsive social protection for all workers, including workers in the informal economy, and establish a Global Social Protection Fund;
- Equality: ensure the equal and equitable participation of women and equity seeking groups in economic, social, political and cultural life; and
- Inclusion: dismantle intersecting systems of oppression that exclude people based on gender, race, class, nationality, citizenship, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Bold action is needed if we are to ‘build forward better’. On this IWD, we celebrate the work and leadership of women, in all our diversity. #InvestInCare #RatifyC190