Red line – women’s rights are non-negotiable

This March 8th, hundreds of women and men marched together on the streets of Skopje in honor of the International Day of Economic, Political and Social Struggle for Women’s Equality. Organized by the Platform for Gender Equality, this march was not only an opportunity to express support for women’s rights, but also an act of protest against all forms of neglect, violence and inequality towards women and girls.

Under the slogan “Red line – women’s rights are non-negotiable”, the march was a warning to political actors in the pre-election period, a period of intense political, economic and social negotiations, that civil society organizations are vigilantly monitoring the situation and that they will not allow for women’s rights to regress. From the Skanderbeg Square to the Woman Warrior Park, participants marched carrying posters, shouting slogans and demanding justice. At two points – in front of the Government and in front of the Parliament – a symbolic red line of cloth was placed and everyone could leave their message to the institutions and the public. At the starting and ending point of the march, we also read the proclamation in which we stated our 8 red lines for March 8th:

  1. My body, my choice.
  2. Equal wages between men and women and valued domestic labor of every woman.
  3. A society that recognizes femicide.
  4. Labor rights for women in the independent cultural sector.
  5. 50% women in management positions.
  6. Paid maternity leave for every female farmer.
  7. Zero unemployed women due to lack of kindergartens.
  8. Zero young people emigrating due to bribery and corruption.

Starting from the national context, the participants of the march expressed their dissatisfaction with the situation of women and girls in North Macedonia, but also expressed solidarity with the larger regional and global struggle for freedom, and especially with women in Palestine who are facing armed attacks, ethnic cleansing and genocide. The sisters from Zagreb, Sarajevo, Belgrade, Pristina, Podgorica, Tirana and Ljubljana served as our inspiration, and the Skopje march was enriched with their slogans.

The march for women’s rights is not just an ordinary March 8 action, but part of the existing struggle for equality and justice that unites not only the region, but also the whole world. The struggle continues – in offices, institutions, media, organizations – and, of course, in the streets.

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