Statement on International Women’s Day 2024

No one is free until the women of the Global South are free! System change for gender justice now!

We stand in solidarity with women struggling to survive amid poverty, conflict, and disasters while bearing the responsibility of unpaid care work. On International Women’s Day, we reaffirm our commitment to fighting the multiple, compounding crises that exacerbate existing gender inequalities.

As governments cut social spending, women risk health and well-being by filling the gaps with unpaid work. Women in paid work are also pushed into desperate, precarious circumstances without job security and social protection. Without the support needed to adapt and build resilience, poor women are made more vulnerable to the impacts of climate disasters. Without a fast, fair, funded, and feminist energy transition, women in the Global South will remain disproportionately affected by the climate crisis.

We have seen unjust taxation systematically undermine women’s rights. Illicit financial flows, profit-shifting, and tax abuse continue unchecked while governments incur more debt and impose regressive taxes that burden low-income individuals. We have witnessed how the elite, corporate, and gender biases of our domestic tax systems are mirrored in an international tax system that favors the interests of corporations and countries in the Global North. Women in the Global South bear the costs of tax and fiscal systems that drain public coffers of resources for public services and urgent climate action. 

As more governments allocate a larger share of incomes and revenues on debt service payments and large infrastructure projects, less and less are spent on public services. Austerity conditionalities imposed on loans further government belt-tightening and concede social services provision to the private sector. This compounds women’s difficulties, being more reliant on social services and welfare benefits due to their concentration in unemployment, precarious jobs, and unpaid care work. Women in developing countries render the greatest proportion of unpaid care work at 80.2%.

We have seen the gender dimensions of the energy and climate crises. Women living near fossil fuel projects and their families have reported devastating consequences to health and livelihoods. Asian women produce 50% of food in the region, but eat last and least during climate-related food shortages. Women also face abuse, violence, and trafficking in the aftermath of climate disasters. Burdens multiply with climate events as women in Asia and other parts of the world remain heavily responsible for care work and food preparation. For instance, women in India walk as far as 10 kilometers to fetch water, during which they risk assault, harassment, and other forms of gender-based violence. 

We must call these economic, energy, and climate injustices for what they are: as systemic and structural violence against women of the Global South. These injustices are rooted in the same global economic and financial system that breeds and exacerbates inequalities across and within countries, generates a net outflow of resources from the South to the North, and concentrates wealth on elites and big corporations. This atrocious system subordinates Southern economies to the global market and impoverishes Southern countries and billions of people globally. It also promotes wanton natural resource extraction and plunder and overproduction for the relentless pursuit of profit, with excessive and ever increasing use of fossil fuels.

We are one with women’s and peoples’ movements everywhere in demanding:

  • The unconditional cancellation of unsustainable and illegitimate debts – to free up funds for social services that will enable governments to reduce the impact of multiple crises on women and respond to women’s needs.
  • An end to illicit financial flows and tax abuse, an end to unjust tax burdens on women, and the adoption of progressive tax policies that impose fair taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals, whose abuse of tax systems have stripped developing nations of revenue that could be allocated for social spending. We demand democratic, transparent, accountable, genuinely inclusive and effective global tax governance that prioritizes peoples’ needs and rights in all taxation matters.
  • Adequate public financing of essential services, infrastructure, and other support systems  needed to recognize, redistribute, represent, reduce, and reward unpaid care work, that today continues to be disproportionately done by women. We demand systemic fiscal reforms that prioritize financing of healthcare, education, and other essential services that women and their communities need to survive, and cease public spending on fossil fuels that harm people and the planet.
  • A rapid, just, and equitable transition out of fossil fuels and towards 100% renewable energy. The fulcrum of a rapid, just and equitable transition to renewable energy systems is the delivery of adequate climate finance from the Global North, along with increased climate ambition and action from all governments across the world. Increased ambition includes conscious work to transform industrial food systems towards agroecological and sustainable food systems that produce food for people, not for profit.

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