July 25th: International Afro-descendant Women’s Day

On 25 July 1992, the Meeting of Afro-descendant Women was held in the Dominican Republic, which gathered together 300 women from 32 Latin American countries to define strategies for political advocacy and créate partnerships to confront racism from a gender perspective. For this reason, this date was then declared as the International Afro-descendant Women’s Day, which is also known as the International Afro-Latin American, Afro-Caribbean and Diaspora Women’s Day.

The celebration of the International Afro-descendant Women’s Day aims to commemorate and strengthen the fight against racial discrimination, intended to eliminate prejudice motivated by ethnic-racial origin and recognize the achievements, values, culture and wisdom of afro-descendant women in society. Highlighting its presence in various areas of society such as science, sports, law, the arts, politics, activism, etc.

Likewise, by Resolution 68/237 of 23 December 2013, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the years 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent, with the theme “People of African descent: recognition, justice and development”, pointing out that despite the efforts and initiatives undertaken by States to prohibit discrimination and segregation and to engender the full enjoyment of economic, social and cultural as well as civil and political rights, millions of human beings continue to be victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, including their contemporary manifestations, some of which take violent forms.

Therefore, it is a day to celebrate the visibility and recognition achieved by afro-descendant women in spite of structural discrimination and exclusion, standing out in the field of sciences, sports, law, the arts, politics, activism, etc. However, it is also a day to reflect on what still has to be done to live in a world free of discrimination, since even though we are in the middle of the International Decade for People of African Descent, widespread forms of discrimination and violence motivated by ethnic-racial origin persist against women, which does not guarantee the effective enjoyment of their rights to non-discrimination and to equality before the law.

Thus, while the States have the duty to adopt appropriate measures to eradicate violence based on discrimination, as well as to prevent, eliminate, prohibit, and punish all racist and discriminatory statements towards people of african descent and, in particular, towards women, we all have a responsibility to build more inclusive societies and more respectful of diversty, eliminating all forms of discrimination.