Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA’s partner organisations joined rallies and events to mark International Women’s Day this year.
IWD is an important day for women to raise awareness of issues that are affecting them.
Here’s how our partner organisations marked IWD this year.
Cambodian trade unions and civil society organizations including Union-Aid Abroad APHEDA’s partners CFSWF, IDEA, BWTUC and CATU came together in Phnom Penh to celebrate International Women’s Day at an event calling for justice for women and girls.
The Karen Women’s Organization celebrated with speeches about the importance of women in leadership roles.
In Chang Mai, the MAP Foundation commemorated the day with a rally with the slogans: “Together we embrace equity. Together we rise for freedom. Together we end patriarchy.” In a statement, they raised issues facing women with disabilities, refugee women and LGBTQA+ women. It said: “IWD is not only an opportunity for women to come together to celebrate but it is also an opportunity for women to rise up to reclaim their rights, freedom and equity. The society and state must recognise that women’s rights are human rights.”
APHEDA’s partner organisation LION joined a rally calling for equal pay and paid menstrual leave for women. The banner reads: “There Is No Independence Without Women’s Equality!”
In Hai Duong, Bac Kan and Phu Yen province 150 people attended an event that promoted Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA’s project about Gender Equality and Women in Politics.
We remembered all the women in Myanmar who have been displaced from their homes or arrested by the military junta.
There was a strong focus on international solidarity at the Sydney IWD rally. Iranian activist Parisa Asvadi spoke passionately about how Iranian women needed solidarity from Australia.
Here is her speech in full.
Sisters, Friends and Comrades
On IWD, 2023, all over the world, including in Australia, women are not safe. Women are not equal. Women are not respected.
Although our struggle continues, on IWD, we come together to celebrate the achievements of women.
Sisters, Friends, Comrades,
I present to you that, the Woman, Life, Freedom uprising now sweeping the four corners of my homeland Iran, and the world, is a courageous and inspiring step in the struggle for women’s freedom and equality.
The woman, life, freedom movement, is the continuation of nearly a hundred years of women’s struggle, in Iran, to achieve an equal status in society. Today, the woman, life, freedom uprising echoes the revolt of Iranian women, in Iran and in diasporic communities, against the violent control exerted upon their bodies and lives by the Islamic Republic’s ideology and state machinery.
We stand for our dignity, confident of our capabilities, and continue to resist the theocratic rule of the Islamic Republic.
We will not be owned property. We will not be silent. We will not be obedient.
We are women living in our bodies without shame. We are four generations of women imprisoned, tortured, sexually assaulted and killed in the name of patriarchal order. We are working women kept poor. We are four generations of mothers seeking justice for the murdered and disappeared.
We are hope and courage. We are peace.
We demand justice and equality for the marginalized and forgotten. We demand equality for women. We demand equality for the working poor and impoverished. We demand equality for the multiple nations who call Iran their homeland.
Dear sisters, friends and comrades, on IWD, 2023:
If you are organizing for workers’ rights
In Iran, a corrupt, militarized oligarchy controls the economy. Workers are denied union. Protesting workers, teachers, nurses, doctors, and organizers are in prison. Be our ally against the Islamic Republic.
If you stand against violence against women,
Iranian women have lived and resisted it. We are your ally. Be our ally against the Islamic Republic.
If you are standing up for the lives, education and safety of children
In Iran, there are hundreds of thousands of working children. The Islamic Republic has killed more than fifty children in the course of the Woman, Life, Freedom uprising. Over the last few weeks, the Islamic Republic, has aided and abetted chemical attacks on hundreds of girls’ schools. More than a thousand young girls have been poisoned and hospitalized, a few have lost their lives. Be our ally against the Islamic Republic.
If you are campaigning for land/culture/language rights.
Iranian multiple ethnic groups are fighting for the same rights. Be our ally against the Islamic Republic.
If freedom of speech is your cause
In Iran, women journalists, lawyers, artists, students, and protesters are imprisoned in vast numbers, for expressing themselves and can be executed for doing so. Be our ally against the Islamic Republic.
If you are environmental activists
In Iran, oligarchic profit making has resulted in destruction of water and resources. Multiple environmental activists are in prison. Be our ally against the Islamic Republic.
If you are LGTBIQ activists
In Iran, sexual activity between members of the same sex is illegal and can be punishable by death. Be our ally against the Islamic Republic
If you are peace activists
The Islamic Republic actively supported the war of the Assad regime in Syria. Its weapons are used in the Ukrainian war and it has waged war against the people of Iran, in Kurdistan and in Baluchistan.
Sisters, friends and comrades,
On IWD 2023, we seek your support and alliance with the woman, life, freedom movement’s demand.
Your cause, is our cause.
Let us be each other’s voice.