On International Women’s Day we want to celebrate, as we have been doing every day for more than 25 years, equality, diversity and the idea that everything we are (our gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality,…) can make us susceptible to privilege and/or oppression.  From RIPESS we take a stand against extractivism, patriarchy, colonialism and the plundering of goods and people that our world suffers today more than ever: We are anti-militarist and anti-colonialist, we are feminists! 

Because women suffer these layers of oppression even more strongly. Because in addition to the problems of the world, we have to add those that only we suffer: violence, harassment and abuse, both sexual and obstetric, patriarchal oppressions, which in militarised, colonial, plundered environments, are strengthened and deepened.

This #8M we put the focus on care, the centre of the Social Solidarity Economy. The paradigm shift that RIPESS is working for in all continents of the world puts life, the planet and people at the centre. We care for life, we care for the planet and we care for people from a different and alternative model to the prevailing neoliberalism that has led both nature and women and other living beings to the countless crises we live in today. Our model is based on cooperation, feminism, commitment to care, the environment, climate justice and decent work. It is a form of organisation that already works all over the world, and that responds to the crises by putting life, as opposed to capital, at the centre; a way of activism in the face of the oppressions suffered by the world and the people who populate it.

 Care work refers to activities that ensure reproduction and life support. Care for people with diverse specificities, daily activities in the domestic community sphere ensuring the maintenance of life in adequate conditions; cooking and cleaning.

Definition included in the PGDC thematic document “Cities and Human Settlements with Diverse and Inclusive Economies”

Since December last year, and as a novelty, at RIPESS Intercontinental, we have initiated an Intercontinental Gender Commission in which women and LGTBIQ+ people from all over the network can take part and thus not only share feminist tools, anti-harassment protocols, abuse issues, concerns, care for each other and, of course, joys; but also offers of funding in gender issues, specialised job offers and international calls. It is a safe space in which we emphasise not only the horizontality of the movement, where we all participate as equals, but also the importance that if we stop, everything stops!

Somos las mujeres, en nuestra diversidad  de saberes, experiencias y prácticas, quienes mayoritariamente trabajan en entornos de Economía Social Solidaria y por el cambio.

We are inspired by Buen Vivir, which from the original peoples of Latin America brings the idea of taking care of the community and the PachaMama. In its cosmology, Buen Vivir advocates for the equality of all people in their goal to live well without oppression or harming each other.

We look at the Care Economy, which highlights the value of care work, undervalued worldwide, often underpaid, entrusted to women, girls, often from the most disadvantaged ethnic and social backgrounds. Girls have limited access to education, and migrants, the vast majority of care workers, are often unaware of their rights. A large percentage are in the informal market, without social protection or decent jobs. There are examples of struggles against this situation within the Social Solidarity Economy, where they are recognised as essential workers: in Latin America, as we saw with Ernestina Luján from Peru; or in Catalonia, Spain, where, according to Economists without Borders, women spend 15 hours a week more than men on domestic work and childcare, where Mes que Cures, a cooperative of migrant women, organises a network to train in care work, and then find decent jobs.

Recognising, reducing, redistributing, remunerating and representing care work are the five goals for moving towards the Care Society, according to the ILO. RIPESS is also working towards this.

Image source: International Women’s Day 2024 – Women’s Right to the City: Let’s Build Caring Cities! – Right to the city (right2city.org):

(Alicia Puleo). Based on this point of view, RIPESS believes in the feminist emancipation of subjects oppressed by patriarchy in order to bring about the ecosocial transition in all corners of the world. 

It is happening, as we fight socio-economic inequality and persistent poverty through decent work and social protection. It is happening as we eliminate discriminatory and violent patriarchal cultural patterns and the dominance of the culture of privilege, through egalitarian, feminist, horizontal business organisations where direct democracy works. It is happening as we advocate against the sexual division of labour and the unjust social organisation of care, and create mixed and dignified structures for care workers to feel dignified. It is happening as we advocate at local, regional, state and intercontinental levels to reverse the concentration of power and hierarchical relations in the public sphere.

Although it is happening, there are not enough of us. The millions of us who continue to fight for even more people to understand that the Social Solidarity Economy is an open, supportive, feminist movement that seeks to eradicate the oppressions that women, girls, LGTBIQ+ people and other gender diversities go through, will continue to demand everything we add up. We will continue to put into practice in our daily lives the anti-patriarchal, intersectional and diverse gender perspective that the SSE brings.