Paraguay 8M 2023: For all our work rights and against all forms of violence
In Paraguay, on the afternoon of March 8, 2023, we once again filled the streets with signs full of demands and decrying violence against women. For the sixth year in a row, the Feminist Articulation of Paraguay — of which the Conamuri, Paraguay chapter of the World March of Women is an active part of — organized the march.
For Conamuri, the march began much earlier than M8. We participated in the plenaries of Feminist Articulation, where we defined that our slogan of the year would be “For our work rights and against all forms of violence”. We placed all our demands jointly with diverse rural, city, and self-summoned organizations, this year putting special emphasis on our demands of candidates that seek a place in the upcoming general elections on April 30. We demanded the creation of public policies and the enforcement of existing ones related to warranting the rights of girls and women. The march begins in the territories It's hours of travel to arrive in Asunción on the day of the March. All the compañeras arrived the morning of the 8th, they rested a little and shared tereré on a very hot day, and lunch, of course. During the afternoon we talked in the Conamuri local about the importance of the date, and then we practiced agitating together. One of our main chants is “My body is mine”, which in guaraní would be “Che rete, chemba´e” and this time we also translated it into Qom, language of the Nam Qom people, “Jaỹem ỹoc maeche ỹoxot”. “From our part, as Conamuri, I feel that we add to the diversity of women that are in Paraguay; only from the Conamuri side did we have indigenous women in attendance, and there were many of us, and thanks to that, the presence of indigenous women was made visible,” expressed Rosa Toledo, Conamuri activist that took part of the WMW Americas IFOS in 2022. We traveled to the concentration point, the Uruguayan Plaza, where girls, women, families gathered for a mini women's festival and an independent feminist fair, as groups got ready by painting their lips lilac, putting sparkles on, preparing signs. Then we marched to the Plaza de la Democracia where the manifesto was read in the main function, followed by a women's festival. “WE ALL DEMAND TODAY that the State, with its labor, education, health, agriculture, indigenous, and judicial systems ceases to function as a system that perpetuates authoritarianism, fear, inequality, oppression, harassment, violence, and discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, gender, age, social reality. Work, education, health, Earth, and justice must no longer be mere government commodities,” part of the collective manifesto said. “The most important thing is that we once again were able to make the march happen, and the organizations keep betting on this march which maintains the Feminist Articulation that up until now there is no division, even though some ceased to participate, we have organizations that got stronger. An important amount of women came out once again, which encourages us, gives us strength and hope that it can be done and that our work yields results,” Rosa explained. M8 is already a known and awaited date in Paraguay. “It's a space where they can decry all types of violence against women, and that's important not only for us in organizations, and mainly in this electoral moment it's important to take to the streets, fill the plaza, there's desire and they attend the march once again; it's important how they organize, social movement and feminists,” Rosa affirmed. Cony Oviedo, activist of the Conamuri WMW, Paraguay chapter, pointed out that “building a space like the Feminist Articulation is a very important step for us in Paraguay. In 2017 we managed to have 10 thousand people on the streets and it was the first multitudinous march of women in Paraguay. Today they hold marches in Asunción, Ciudad del Este, Encarnación, Concepción, and Coronel Oviedo. That means that we're growing as a movement, and Conamuri has a protagonist role because we're always in this space, building. We understand that the feminist fight must be in the fields, in the city, and internationalist, because we know that our WMW sisters in different territories are also lifting their voices and taking to the streets for all women, against patriarchy, capitalism, colonialism, and racism.” Like in the rest of the region, the anti-rights advance has intensified in Paraguay, with discourse of hatred, fake news and disinformation. These are not easy months for feminists and dissidents, but there is an understanding that we must stay united in the fight for our rights and against the interest in maintaining the patriarchal-capital alliance. We keep marching, until we are all free.