In a global context marked by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the increase in armed conflicts, women in the countryside have felt an increase in gender-based violence. For this reason, hundreds of rural workers gathered in Bogotá, capital of Colombia, this Saturday (2), to hold the 6th edition of the Via Campesina International Women’s Assembly, a platform created in 1993 that brings together the main organizations fighting in the countryside.
The movements highlighted the difficulties facing this social group caused by “violence against our bodies, political violence and property violence”, which prevents women’s access to natural resources.
According to UN data, around 7 in 10 women experienced cases of domestic violence during the Covid-19 pandemic. For Canadian Nettie Wiebe, professor at the University of Saskatchewan and rural worker, peasant women suffer more from this and other types of aggression.
“The way land has traditionally been owned is very patriarchal, so women who participate in the majority of production in rural areas face the violence of lack of resources. While they are busy cultivating the land and feeding their families, they also face a lot of gender violence”, he states.
::Assembly of young peasants discusses access to land and opportunities for future generations::
Wiebe explains that the campaigns of the organizations present at the event seek to “solve these problems and make people understand that these areas must be safe for women and they must have access to resources such as land, water and seeds”.
“In the global context, the biggest problem for women is patriarchy. All of our societies, whether in Canada or elsewhere, are still deeply patriarchal,” she says.
Francisca Rodríguez, president of the National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women of Chile (ANAMURI), also denounces patriarchy as the most serious element of oppression of rural workers and one of the main structures to be combatted.
“Patriarchy, which supports capitalism, has differentiated between us, it is a practice that divides us and makes us invisible. This is one of the most important struggles: making women’s role visible and being in decision-making spaces”, he said.
The activist also states that during the new coronavirus pandemic “everything fell on women’s shoulders and we felt violence more strongly, there was a lot of domestic violence, but also violence in the ways we relate and we cannot allow that”.
Unit in the field
The representatives of the different organizations present also highlight the need to seek unity between the most varied sectors so that the so-called “peasant feminism” is discussed and understood in other areas of society.
Nury Martínez, president of Fensuagro in Colombia, proposed that rural problems cannot be solved by women alone, “which is why unity between us and other movements from other sectors of society is important in order to move forward.”
::Via campesina: rural organizations meet in Colombia to discuss fighting hunger::
“The humanitarian crisis increased with the pandemic and this has to do with a system that is present not only in Latin America, it is also a problem with wars in the world and economic problems,” he said.
The movements also decided to express global support for the Palestinian cause and expand the mechanisms for building feminist economies, which aim to free workers from situations of dependence.
Editing: Rodrigo Chagas