8 march Call to Strike!

Call for all women* to take part in the women*’s strike on March 8, 2024

We, members of Collecti.e.f 8 maars, trade unionists, activists from feminist organizations, and committed citizens, join the international call for a women*’s strike on March 8, 2024, International Day for Women’s Rights. 

We call on all women* not to work on that day, neither for their employer nor for their household. Not to go to their place of study, and to do only essential errands. Women* are mobilizing to stand up for their rights, protest against inequality, and highlight the work that our society makes invisible.  

Today, women still earn 23.1% less than men on an annual basis (1). Household and family chores account for an additional 9.5 hours of work per week (2). Moreover, women suffer particularly from a lack of access to quality public services. Sexism and violence against women remain a serious problem that cuts across all strata and areas of our society. 

We believe that we find ourselves at a crucial moment: 2024 will be an election year, on many levels. The policies of the Vivaldi federal government and regional governments have exacerbated inequalities. Think of the pension reforms, the employment plan, the weak response to the energy crisis, and the insufficient budgetary approach to fight violence against women. At the same time, 2023 was a year of courageous struggles, such as those waged by the Delhaize employees against the franchising of their services, and by the non-governmental organizations, and voluntary and healthcare sectors, which are suffering from a massive lack of funding.

Everywhere in the world, the right and extreme right are on the advance, and the rights of women and LGBTQIA+ people are being impacted. In the face of this threat, we remain particularly vigilant and defend an egalitarian society, in solidarity with the most vulnerable, and accessible to all. Finally, we stand in solidarity with women elsewhere in the world who are victims of war, climate crisis, and extreme inequality. 

What we want on the upcoming 8th of March: 

A major reinvestment in daycare centers and public services, which have been suffering from budget cuts for years. 

Women workers are sounding the alarm about the worrying situation in daycare centers. The number of places is insufficient, the number of children per worker is too high, and the workload is unsustainable. Staff are giving up, accidents are occurring, and pay for this essential profession is mediocre. Childcare services enable women to work, take training courses, develop new activities, and so on. Once again, it’s women who are forced to stay at home, given the lack of childcare facilities. The cost-saving measures that have been applied in the sector for years are in complete contradiction with the strong need for more nursery places.

It’s not just childcare: regression in the fields of education, transport, healthcare, care for the elderly, youth care, and food sectors… also leaves women in an unequal and difficult situation. Fighting inequality requires a social solution. For women, it’s a double punishment: on the one hand, because we work in the public sector, where the workload is increasing and wages are low; on the other hand, because we need these services badly if we are to lead a dignified life. 

We oppose the European budgetary rules, which are likely to be harshly applied once again. We demand massive refinancing of public services through fairer taxation.

We demand a higher minimum wage and better remuneration in female sectors, to increase women’s financial independence. We demand the defense of automatic wage indexation, as a necessity to limit the risk of poverty linked to soaring prices. 

The wage gap in Belgium is 23.1% (3). This wage gap is because almost half of all women work part-time – usually involuntarily – and due to the devaluation of female-dominated sectors. Although their work is essential to the smooth running of society, it does not translate into decent wages. That’s why it is important to raise the minimum wage to at least 17 euros an hour everywhere.

The law from 1996 on wage standards must also be abolished so that salaries can once again be freely negotiated. During the last wage negotiations, wages were only allowed to increase by a maximum of 0.4%: those are just crumbs.  

We must put an end to the proliferation of precarious contracts (forced part-time work, fixed-term contracts, interim contracts, flex jobs) and the exploitation of undocumented workers. This creates social dumping and a downward spiral in our working conditions, leading to greater insecurity for all.

We demand more funding for the prevention of sexist and sexual violence against women* and children, as well as a serious investigation of the extent of the problem. 

Improving women’s incomes and investments in public services are means to protect women who are victims of violence. Indeed, women in difficult social situations (precarious contracts, dubious housing, etc.) are more likely to experience violence: they have little access to healthcare, to their rights, and to the possibility of leaving a violent environment or partner. 

The number of femicides is not decreasing. Femicide is the result of a continuum of violence. It starts with ordinary sexism and goes right up to femicide. The police, the justice system, and society systematically fail to take women’s voices into account and continue to underestimate the scale of the problem, not least by failing to produce enough statistics and numbers.

In 2012, Belgium signed the Istanbul Convention, which defines a clear strategy and provides tools to combat violence against women. Recently, it also ratified the ILO Convention 190 to take action against violence in the workplace. However, the development of concrete measures is progressing too slowly, and budgets are insufficient. We demand that it becomes a priority to invest massively in prevention and care for victims and perpetrators, but also in judicial institutions, the police, and social services. Because every additional delay costs too many women their lives and condemns them and thousands of their children to endure violent situations. 

We call on all women* to join the March 8 strike, and on all allies to support actions for equality.

We stop housework, work, school, and consumption. Together, we’re taking to the streets and organizing actions in workplaces and study places all over Belgium.  We call on as many women as possible to take part. We stand in solidarity with those who can’t leave their jobs, with those for whom strike action is not an option, with those who don’t have the means to take action, and with women all over the world, especially those who are living through even harder times or wars. We affirm our support for all Palestinian civilian victims and their struggle for peace and an egalitarian society.

It’s not only in Belgium that women will be on strike on March 8. Millions of women in many countries will be doing the same, including Spain, Switzerland, and Argentina. All over the world, women will be taking to the streets en masse. Because when women stop, the world stops!

Do you also want to support and mobilize for the strike?

  • Get in touch with one of the local groups of the Collectif 8 mars. We’re present in every major city in every province.
  • If you want to strike or take action at your workplace: Contact your union and see how you can strike.
  • Schedule an out-of-office, take an extra hour break, or leave work an hour early.
  • Take action in your student organization or place of study…
  • Hang an apron in the window.
  • Don’t do housework at home. 
  • Take part in various activities in the cities.
  • Invite the men around you to join our fight for equality!

See you on March 8! When women* stop, the world stops!

* Women, gender minorities, and anyone who identifies or recognizes themselves as such.



(2) https://igvm-iefh.belgium.be/sites/default/files/fh2020-ch7.pdf

(3) https://emploi.belgique.be/fr/themes/egalite-et-non-discrimination/egalite-femmes-hommes-lecart-salarial

(4) L’écart salarial entre les femmes et les hommes en Belgique – Rapport 2022 | Institut pour l’égalité des femmes et des hommes (belgium.be)