International Women's Day 2023: What's on in Brussels

International Women's Day 2023: What's on in Brussels
Credit: Belga

With International Women's Day on Wednesday 8 March, thousands of people are expected to take to the streets of Brussels to call for an end to economic inequality that leaves many women in precarious situations, particularly during the current purchasing power crisis.

Demonstrators will gather at 17:30 on Place de l'Albertine at Mont des Arts to take part in the World March of Women, which presses for "a feminist, sustainable economy" for the wellbeing of all.

"Women still find themselves economically dependent on their partners and in unstable situations because of state economic policies," march organisers stated. They demand an end to budget cuts that weaken the social protection system and more funding for quality public services accessible to all.

At 13:30, a "feminist village" will also be erected near the Brussels Central station, and a number of other actions will take place as well – including the fifth consecutive feminist strike and smaller steps from multiple trade unions.

In Brussels and elsewhere

The organisation seeks to underline the need for more funding for "quality public services" and better childcare services. Brussels, in particular, struggles with a shortage of daycares while recent high-profile cases of abuse and neglect highlight the poor state of childcare in Flanders.

This year, protestors will show solidarity with feminist movements in Iran, Afghanistan, Peru and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In addition to the march, several other events are also taking place in Brussels and across Belgium.

The General Labour Federation of Belgium (ABVV/FGTB) is holding a general strike, from Antwerp to Charleroi, with themed protest actions. "8 March is not a women's holiday; no flowers or wreaths. It is a day of struggle for women's rights. The inequality behind the numbers needs to be addressed."

In Brussels, the European Trade Union Confederation is also organising 'Safe all the way' – a street action calling for a safe working environment, including to and from work.

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Until Saturday 11 March, the City of Brussels is running Women's Rights Week with multiple activities that aim to raise awareness about the role of women in society. For this year's edition, the authorities are focussing on the deconstruction of myths surrounding feminism and feminists throughout history.

From 8 to 21 March, the 'SAME' festival is also returning to the Brussels municipality of Schaerbeek. Initiated by the municipality Equal Opportunities Department, these two "Weeks of Actions and Mobilisations for Equality" (S.A.M.E.) promise a rich programme of conferences, cinema, shows, decolonial walks, and a writing workshop, among other things.

At the heart of the project is the fight against gender discrimination, disability discrimination, racism and xenophobia as well as homophobia and transphobia. To make the festival accessible to as many people as possible, activities in French and Dutch-speaking Belgian sign language complete the programme. The full programme can be found here.

A complete overview of all activities, workshops and dialogues can be found here.

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