Why we marched together in Brussels on International Women’s Day 

This is a guest post from ONE member Elma Rexhepi.

I hadn’t heard about ONE before I became a member but one of my friends got me in touch with this organisation and seeing their objectives, I was enthusiastic to be one of them!

While we were talking during my first meeting with ONE, I was told about a march taking place on International Women’s Day. The message was: “POVERTY IS SEXIST….It’s time to ACT”. Powerful, I thought to myself.

Just the idea of different women’s organisations participating in a march in the streets 0f Brussels made me feel stronger, and without hesitation I decided to join them!

The morning of 8th March was one of the most beautiful and emotional mornings of my life. Waking up knowing that, today, you will raise your voice for yourself and for all women, is the most beautiful thing you could do.

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Elma Rexhepi (on the left) with other ONE members at the International Women’s Day march in Brussels

Arriving in Brussels, at the checkpoint, one of ONE’s activists was waiting for me. My emotions were running high seeing all those women and men gathering all together for one purpose… for women and girls everywhere.

That you, today, tomorrow and always, will be equal to the other gender.

That you, today, tomorrow and always, will enjoy your rights.

That you won’t be seen as a sexual attraction… because you are worth more than that.

Because you are you, you have a soul like him or her… you are worth it.

Beginning at 11 am, we all gathered near Central station in Brussels. We sang songs, danced, heard speeches and basically did everything possible to show solidarity and fight against poverty, sexism, inequality and discrimination against women.

I was so impressed by the presence of all the people who showed up in solidarity with girls and women. We distributed “Poverty is Sexist…It’s time to act” flyers to educate others on the march about what we were doing. Later we continued the march shouting in a loud voice “Sol-sol-sol…. Solidarité, avec les femmes du monde entier” (Sol-sol-sol…Solidarity with the women of the entire world).

Lots of other people joined our march. I saw women looking out the windows of their offices to see us and support us. I have always thought that good and power come from the sky. That day, the good and the power came from above, from those at the upper windows who were supporting us.

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Elma Rexhepi (to the right) with members of the ONE Brussels team getting ready to march and tell world leaders that Poverty is Sexist

For every woman having HIV in Africa, for the 40% of the women in the entire continent suffering from anaemia which accounts for 20% of maternal deaths, for 62 million girls that are denied the right to education, for 155 countries that still have laws that discriminate against women, it’s worth fighting against and I’ll never stop.

Thanks to all who added their name to the fight against gender inequality and extreme poverty! If you haven’t yet it’s no too late – sign our Poverty is Sexist letter today!

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