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Women's Rights


8 March Mar 2016 1744 08 March 2016
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#IWD2016: 2015 saw a lot of progress for women's rights, but we cannot afford to be complacent. The march for International Women's Day in Brussels highlighted the many reasons why: from inequality, to gender-based violence and discrimination, we still have a long way to go before we achieve gender equality. 117 years, to be precise.

“On International Women’s Day this year, our solidarity extends to all women, but especially to women refugees, who are fleeing from war and famine and are exposed to extreme forms of gender-based violence and discrimination.”

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International Women’s Day this year in Brussels saw a range of women’s associations and political groups participating in a march for solidarity with women, and especially women refugees. The march also called for action against budget cuts that are affecting women’s rights groups, in a growing trend of shrinking civil society space across the globe.

Key statistics

  • More than 125 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to FGM/C
  • 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence
  • Only 52 countries in the world have laws on marital rape
  • 155 countries still have laws that differentiate between men and women
  • In 2016, half a billion women still cannot read
  • 62 million girls are denied the right to education

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With groups ranging from BE-gender, to One, the Conseil des Femmes Francophones de Belgique and Le Monde Selon Les Femmes, as well as the European Green Party, the Young European Socialists and the PVDA (Worker’s Party of Belgium), the power of intersectional politics was clear in the numbers of people from all walks of life chanting in unison for solidarity for women worldwide.

At the march, the atmosphere was one of warmth and collective strength, despite the differently focused agendas of those there. From climate justice, to poverty and inequality, and more specific cases - such as those of the 8 March Women's Organization (Iran-Afghanistan) - there was a clear common goal: equality, justice and safety for women everywhere.

Photo credits: Kimberley Evans