International Women’s Day 2023: The Struggle Continues

By Alejandra Garcia on March 8, 2023 in Havana, Photos Bill Hackwell in Buenos Aires

tens of thousands of mostly young women demand equality. Photos: Bill Hackwell

March 8, tens of thousands of mostly young women march in Buenos Aires to demand equality. Photos: Bill Hackwell

On March 25, 1911, a fire broke out at the Triangle Waist Co men’s shirt factory in New York City. The owner of the company had locked the door from the outside to prevent the workers, who were all women, from skipping out early.

He thought it would be a night like any other, when his more than 100 weavers, many of them young and immigrant, locked in there for ten straight hours.

With the fire raging through the body of the building and the exit blocked, the women saw no other way out than to throw themselves from the windows of the 8th, 9th and 10th floors through which the factory extended. 146 people died that day, 123 of them women between the ages of 14 and 48. This is the origin of a day that honors women and the tremendous contribution they make in all societies.

It would be unforgivable not to remember this event that instigated the day the world commemorates International Women’s Day. To bring it up to the present time is also important to remember how far Cuba is from reliving such a history.

The 1959 Cuban Revolution, led in part by Vilma, Celia, Haydee, Melba and other heroines, managed to place Cuban women at the center of the social transformation of the new Cuban society. By the Constitution, it has been established that they would have the same rights as men.

The Revolution also guaranteed that woman could divorce, that those who raped them would be prosecuted by law, that they could make all decisions about their bodies, guaranteeing legal abortion and medical assistance for it. These are still just a dream for many women around the world. In the US that claims to be the greatest democracy ever, the reactionary Supreme Court has seriously turned back the rights of women to have access to chose for themselves and allowing the criminalization of medical professionals who perform abortions in a number of states.

Buenos Aires march for equality was lead by young working women. Photo: Bill Hackwell

Today millions of women are taking to the streets of the world, demanding  rights that Cuban women have already. But we can’t let our achievements blind us. There is still much to be done.

We must put an end to the stereotype of what a woman’s body should look like and all other forms of sexism including the right of women to receive equal pay for equal work as their male co workers.

It is also necessary to reverse the reality that every woman, when she leaves work, must then assume all the domestic responsibilities when she gets home, including child care, the shopping, and the household economy. These are a type of gender-based violence. We also need to launch an international campaign to end femicides that are often hidden but are taking place in epidemic proportions around the world.

March 8 continues to be a day of struggle for the women of Cuba despite our gains. There are no factory fires with hundreds of women inside, working to exhaustion. Nor is there a need here to struggle for legal and safe abortion, but that doesn’t mean that we can allow any slipping back into the sexism that Cuba was mired in prior to the revolution.

 It is not just a day of celebration

tens of thousands march on Argentine Congress demanding true equality. Photo: Bill Hackwell

Today there are signs in the streets with crowds of  women, adolescents and supportive men demanding full rights for all women. This is how Latin America is living March 8. Simply put we will not settle for anything less than equality in every aspect of life. Those tens of thousands  in the streets today in Latin America and around the world are celebrating women and their contribution to society but even more than that it is recognizing the hard fought struggles we have won. March 8 will always be that way.




Source: Resumen Latinoamericano – US