March 8 Women’s Day protests not the start of an anti-government strike, Conaie and feminists say
Leaders of the March 8 International Women’s Day activities said Thursday that their planned protests are not the beginning of a national mobilization. “There have been suggestions that this will be an anti-government strike similar to the one in June 2022 and this is not true,” said Micaela Camacho, representative of the Womens Transfeminist Assembly. “Most women oppose the government of Guillermo Lasso but this protest is also against the larger society where violence against women and disrespect of women has its roots.”
Camacho said a “clarification” was necessary following a rash of social media reports that Women’s Day protests will be the start of an anti-government strike coordinated by Conaie, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities. “They will be partners in our protests but this is a women’s protest and we want the emphasis to be on the issues affecting all women.”
Conaie Vice President Zenaida Yasacama seconded Camacho’s comments. “We will participate in Women’s Day protests to support the women of Ecuador but understand this is their protest, not ours. We all oppose the neoliberal actions of the corrupt government of Guillermo Lasso but this is not an indigenous strike.” Yasacama said Conaie leadership has sent messages to its members clarifying the role of indigenous people in the protests.
Camacho said March 8 activities will highlight the 332 femicides committed in Ecuador in 2022, including those of nine transgender women. “We will protest with dignified rage and insist that all of society take a role in stopping the violence. We want to build a nationwide campaign that involves all political and social organizations to support women.”
Camacho said that many women will, in fact, go on strike March 8 to emphasize the importance of women’s work and contribution. “We will stop our normal activities so that men understand what life would be without us. The country would collapse without our work, which is underpaid and underappreciated.”