The celebration of March 8th in Venezuela was superimposed on the uncertainty of the current times. Weeks before, collectives and organizations met to decide how to keep March 8th 2021 from passing unnoticed, and thus were planned street actions and knowledge sharing via zoom. Some organizations celebrated early, others postponed until the following week, which according to the timeline was a week of relaxed quarantine. What follows is a summary of the activities in which the network of collectives La Araña Feminista MMM participated.
The week began with a pleasant surprise from the National Assembly (the highest legislative body in the country), and the invitation of feminist organizations, women from political parties, and organized women from other sectors to meet on March 8th with the Commission of Justice and Peace under the leadership of the president of the National Assembly Jorge Rodríguez, to present the bill to reform the Organic Law of Women’s Right to Live a Life Free of Violence and to initiate a healthy and constructive dialogue with the movement and its legislative demands. During the meeting the right to speak was given to 10 spokeswomen from feminist organizations, among whom Aimeé Zambrano from the Utopix collective stands out. The Utopix Collective is an organization that for three years has been conducting an open data experiment with the National Femicide Monitor. Zambrano explained both the methodology and the results of the monitor. Other spokeswomen were Daniella Inojosa from Tinta Violeta- Araña Feminista who took the discussion to sexual and reproductive rights, and Alejandra Laprea who said “Our beautiful country will not be built with new men, but also with new women, and in order to have new women we must start a conversation and break the unholy triad that condemns women to be only wives, mothers, and caretakers… women are more than mothers, than caretakers, than wives, we are more than baby-makers (...) the law needs to see us as more than just wombs.” A result of the meeting was the establishment of a working group with the main goal of bringing gender to the forefront of bills being discussed.
The following day, the Official Gazette of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela published and thus put into legal force Standards of behavior for police personel and criminal investigation, for early and timely response to victims of gender violence and the handling of the corresponding reports and police behavior in the processes of criminal investigation, a protocol of conduct that was born from the working group set up last November 25th, and which is a response to one of the demands that caused the feminist movement to take to the streets. Regarding these two victories Daniella Inojosa says to us:
“The State, no doubt, is trying to move forward with legislation and public policies to save the lives of women. They owe a great deal in this regard after five years of an intense political war against the institutions. For us it is crucial to begin discussing topics that have been taboo up until now, such as legal abortion and prostitution.”
On March 5th under the cry “Antipatriarchal Commune or bust” our sister collective Tejiéndonos Mujeres celebrated the opening of the “In Women’s Code” house with drums and sancocho. Diana Scheifes from the collective tells us:
“It is from our land, from the characteristics of our land, that we have challenged ourselves to build what we call popular feminism, this feminism that seeks dignity in every aspect of women’s lives, understanding who we are as members of the working class…”
On March 6th the Las Yerbateras collective took over the Caracas farmer’s fair with a parade of banners with the slogans of the last ten years of March 8 street demonstrations.
On March 7th a national tweetfest was called for with the hashtags #8M2021, #PorTodosNuestrosDerechos (For all of our rights) and #JusticiaParaTodasLasMujers (Justice for All Women). On the same day, the Utopix communication community held a gathering with the hashtag #OpendataDay.