Rural workers march: CESE supports women’s organizations on the 2023 Margaridas March


Seven female rural workers’ organizations from five states received support from CESE’s Small Projects Programme to join the 2023 Margaridas March.  The event took place on 15 and 16 August in Brasilia.  More than 100 thousand people were engaged in this year’s theme: For the reconstruction of Brazil and for Good Living.  The march has taken place since 2000 and was inspired by the struggle of the unions and of female human rights defender Margarida Maria Alves.

Margarida was a union leader from Paraíba, who played a fundamental role in the organization of rural workers in the region.  Following threats from ranchers, she was murdered in 1983 on her way to work.  Her death became a symbol of the need to combat violence in the countryside.  To this day, her legacy continues to inspire activists and human rights defenders. Representatives of some of the supported organizations reported their experiences of this year’s political mobilization.

Expansion of the struggle

Lidiã Santos, women’s secretary of the Rural Workers Union of Ouro Branco in Alagoas, noted that one of the most important features of the march is the chance for female rural workers to position themselves politically in relation to feminism and to the daily questions of life in the countryside.

With CESE’s support, young women, adult women and union directors were able to attend the event.  Lidiã recalled: “It was a mixture of emotions, I was organizing 25 women, many female farmers who had come from the countryside. I was afraid of losing them in the midst of more than 150 thousand women. It was the first time many of them had left their land. It was very moving, seeing them getting emotional, discovering the power they have.”