Feminist Anti-austerity Protest!

9 March 2012


On this International Women’s day (March 8th), multiple activists, groups and social movements have united to denounce the extent to which, in this dark period of austerity, neo-liberal “answers” are aggravating women’s social and labor market vulnerability.

Their document raises an alert as to the fact that the consequence of these measures is a rise in the number of unemployed people and the duration of their unemployment, in job insecurity, in the unequal pay of men and women, and in gender differentiation in terms of pensions and retirement, thereby heightening the scope and impacts of poverty.

In addition, this feminist protest argues that the decrease in public investments, including, for example, the confirmed budget cuts in the fields of education and sexual and reproductive health, the dismantling of support services and equipment for children and the elderly, as well as the commodification of access to housing, have and will continue to have repercussions on the lives of women, which must not be underestimated. Women’s increased vulnerability to gender-based violence, in addition to the attack on labor rights and hard-won maternity and paternity rights, are also key concerns.

As we see it, the situation is worsening as a result of the cultural relegation of women to the reproductive domain, of the affirmation of a current of thought that seeks to impose values based on the “return of women to the home,” of supposedly “family-oriented” and “aid-based” policies, and of the exclusion of women from critical public debates and the pursuit of alternative solutions.

Consequently, this feminist anti-austerity protest, which has now been publicly unveiled, is advocating for policy alternatives to austerity: social justice policies, policies that stimulate job creation, policies that are not discriminatory but rather emancipatory, and that will guarantee social and labor rights, as well as avenues for economic and social development. Another demand is the establishment of citizens’ audits of public debt and austerity plans, including an analysis of their effects on the lives of women.

This initiative was launched by the Portuguese Coordinating Body of the World March of Women and by the Portuguese feminist association, Union of Women for Alternatives and Responses (UMAR), in order to gather individual and group subscriptions from Portugal and the rest of Europe. 127 individual subscriptions from16 countries and 61 group subscriptions from 18 countries have already been collected to date (see attached lists). Adherence to this political document can be done by sending an e-mail with the following information to mmmulherespt at gmail.com: Individual subscriptions: full name, country and preferred method of contact; Group subscriptions: organization name, country and preferred method of contactmailto:mmmulherespt at gmail.com.

 Feminist Anti-austerity Protest!

National Parliaments
Governments of EU countries
European Parliament
European Commission
United Nations Women’s Agency for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment

In these dark times of imposed austerity, we denounce the neo-liberal “answers” that worsen women’s labor and social vulnerability. With these measures, for many people, particularly for women, there will be a rise in unemployment and its duration, job insecurity, wage inequality between men and women, the gender differentiation in terms of reforms and pensions . Given this, the scale and impact of poverty will be even more overwhelming.

We protest against cuts in public investment, for example the budget cuts in
education, in sexual and reproductive health services, the dismantling of equipment and care Care Le concept de « care work » (travail de soin) fait référence à un ensemble de pratiques matérielles et psychologiques destinées à apporter une réponse concrète aux besoins des autres et d’une communauté (dont des écosystèmes). On préfère le concept de care à celui de travail « domestique » ou de « reproduction » car il intègre les dimensions émotionnelles et psychologiques (charge mentale, affection, soutien), et il ne se limite pas aux aspects « privés » et gratuit en englobant également les activités rémunérées nécessaires à la reproduction de la vie humaine. services for children and elderly people , the commodification of access to housing. We do not underestimate the effects these measures have and will have on women’s lives.

We here by state that austerity measures, in particular those that jeopardize the economic empowerment of women and autonomy increase their vulnerability to gender violence.

We protest against the worsening of inequality and the attack on labor rights, as well as the rights gained with the experience of motherhood and fatherhood.

We denounce that problems that are specific to women’s situation at work, family or social level may be considered secondary or even completely deleted in times of crisis.

We call your attention to a worsening of inequality in time use of men and women in the family, emphasizing the cultural attachment of women to the sphere of reproduction and the detachment of men from care and responsibility in material and emotional issues, in the tasks concerning house, children, the elderly and the family

We denounce the neo-conservative thought of austerity, seeking to impose values based on the “return of women to their home”, and welfare policies of the family and of assistance that promote the submission of individual rights to a single
family model.

We protest against the binary discourse on women: on one hand women as the decisive agents in household saving, on the other hand the exclusion of women from public critical discussion about the crisis, particularly in terms of the media, and the search for alternative forms of facing it.

We call attention to a neglected dimension of the effects of the crisis on
subjectivities, generating feelings of insecurity, fear for the future, depression, isolation and breaking of social links.

We alert people to the atmosphere of fear, insecurity and despair that prevails and does not give any contribution to end this crisis.

We warn to the myths and hegemonic, complacent and self-defeating narratives that address the financial markets as “neutral” and “innocent” instances and tend to legitimate the current austerity policies which are based on a competition,
maximization and centralization of profit Profit The positive gain yielded from a company’s activity. Net profit is profit after tax. Distributable profit is the part of the net profit which can be distributed to the shareholders. ideology, rejecting any social

We protest against the dominant conceptualizations about economy and labor that exclude women from the sphere of productive work, which is not put into practice in the “traditional” spaces of work, such as factories, offices, etc..

We denounce the double, sometimes triple discrimination of which transgender women are victims, as well as migrant women, lesbians, women with disabilities and women whom basic citizenship rights are still denied and who are directly affected by these recessive policies.

We protest against the lack of control of millions of people over their own


The constitution of citizens to audit public debt and austerity plans, and theseinclude an analysis of its impact on women’s lives.

Alternative policies to imposed austerity - social justice policies, policies to
stimulate employment, non-discriminatory policies, emancipation, that ensure social and labor rights and new ways to economic and social development.

Development, both at political and public level, of a culture to dignify work with rights in all spheres of life.

Inclusion of the gender equality dimension in all policies.

Support to the development of economic alternatives that put the sustainable development of human life, environment and collective wellbeing in the center of the economic and territorial organization.


Provide visibility and contribute to women’s participation in social protest
movements against a dehumanizing and inhumane policy.

Contribute to the creation of mechanisms of representation of movement of
citizens, namely women, to critical, moral and democratic scrutiny of political and financial choices that are putting our lives at risk.

Subscribe critical perspectives that are contrary to the dominant narratives, establishing a close relationship between the functioning of markets and democracy.

Acting on social networks, feminist or others, in the process of dissemination,information and cooperation about the problems of women as well as women’s struggles.

Reinforcement of feminism as an active process in the critical and strategic field for change, in connection with other social movements.



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