News, Statements

For women’s lives: get out, transnational corporations!

MAB / La Via Campesina

 

We, women gathered here – peasants, riverine women, extractivists, indigenous women, quilombolas, landless women and women affected by dams and mega-projects – have been daily denouncing – through worldwide actions, and especially on March 8 – about the extreme gravity of the situation of the violation of our rights. We denounce the overexploitation of our work, our bodies, and our territories, as well as the violence generated by the capitalist and patriarchal model of society. We denounce the privatization of water and the environmental destruction and its incidence on climate change that are generated by this system that concentrates wealth and power and is embodied in the actions of large corporations.

 

Over the past 40 years, transnational corporations and the states that support them have built what we call the “architecture of impunity”, a long-winded normative framework to protect their profit rates. This includes free trade and investment agreements and treaties, the resolutions of financial institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization, and mechanisms for investor-state litigation, all of which confer enormous economic, political and legal power to transnational corporations. We, women, are the most oppressed side of this system. We, who compose the majority of the population below the poverty line; we, the refugees in search of work, land, water;  we, who have our desires and practices transformed into quantifiable information, so that the transnational pharmaceutical companies can sell more drugs, or for the beauty industry to sell more products.

 

The loss of collective goods and the privatization of public goods and assets directly affects us, considering that the social role of caring for the home and family has been relegated to us in patriarchy. All these hardships are directly linked to the performance of these companies in our territories, that transform our lives and behavior into commodities.

 

It is also necessary to emphasize how we are affected by violence, the threat of violence and war. There are several reports on sexual abuse and harassment in business involving large economic groups. Furthermore, the war that destroys the livelihoods, leaves entire populations without jobs, keeps women, men, boys and girls prisoners in their own homes, and provokes multiple forms of fundamentalisms. These wars are driven by the transnational military industry or by their interest in the natural resources of people.

 

This is why we affirm that the profits of these corporations are tied to patriarchy, and are reinforced and supported by it In this way, the strategies of survival and insurgency used by women in different spaces and territories are constantly threatened by the economic interests of large corporations and by large capitalist groups. These interests exacerbate inequalities, since large infrastructure projects – such as hydroelectric dams, roads, and rails – prioritize the circulation of capital and commodities in detriment of the community living conditions. Access to water, energy and land for food production and biodiversity are elements that guarantee livelihoods. They are of interest to women, since we are the first to suffer when there is scarcity.

 

We fight for a society with full employment for women and men, a society where people have enough free time for themselves and to participate in the community, a society where women and men who wish to live on agriculture, handcrafts, small enterprises, or associative productive groups can remain unscathed by banks and large corporations, especially transnational corporations that seek to concentrate resources in their hands. We fight for the state to have policies that guarantee income in case of illness, unemployment, maternity and paternity leave, and retirement. We defend that work and domestic care be reorganized so that the responsibility for this work is divided between men and women within the family and community.

 

Our proposal for this March 8 is to rescue a critical and collective perception of society: we need to join forces to sustain life. If life is precarious and vulnerable for most of the planet, we need to find a common way out of this system. We can no longer reproduce gender disparities to maintain a system. And in this sense, we also fight for binding guidelines to balance the asymmetry of powers between corporations and people, because we understand that this also promotes equality between men and women.

 

Women fighting for a binding treaty! 
Women are not commodities!

 

 

Also available in: Spanish