Brazilian women advance conditions for rural workers (Margaridas' march), 2000

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Timing
Time Period:  
Time period notes: 
While many traveled for days to Brasilia, and began campaigning upon arrival, the march itself only lasted for two days.
16 August
2000
to
18 August
2000
Location and Goals
Country: 
Brazil
Location City/State/Province: 
Brasilia
Location Description: 
The women who participated in the campaign came from across the country to march in the capital.
Goals: 
The campaign was a "strategic action to gain visibility, social and political recognition, and full citizenship for rural women," and a time to "pressure the government for women’s rights, wage equality, land distribution for family agriculture, that is, policies that favor women and rural workers in general."
 

In Brazil in 2000, the Margaridas, or Daisies, formed in honor of Margarida Maria Alves, a union leader renowned for surmounting the embedded cultural stereotypes and obstacles for women, especially those working in rural areas. Alves became the president of the Rural Worker’s Union in her town, but was reportedly assassinated in 1983, at the age of 50, because of her advocacy for those working in rural or forested areas. After her death, she became a feminist icon in the fight for equality and social justice in rural work. Soon after being established, the Daisies began to organize marches. Their fourth was planned for August 2011.

Maria Luiza dos Santos, a rural worker from Afonso de Cunha, stated in one interview that the purpose of the campaign was to “pressure the government for women’s rights, wage equality, land distribution for family agriculture, that is, policies that favor women and rural workers in general.”

The Daisies wanted “sustainable development with justice, autonomy, equality, and freedom.” They felt that gender inequality was a crucial piece in the structure of poverty in Brazil. If they could diminish gender inequality it would effectively work to diminish poverty as a whole; therefore they focused especially on the needs of female rural and forest laborers.

Women began traveling to Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, days before 16 August, the starting date for the march. Some had a four-day trip from their homes in every corner of the nation to the capital.

They first built a “City of the Daisies” in the capital. Here they began to discuss what they wanted included in the 150 demands that would be sent to the President. Brazil had inaugurated its new President, Dilma Drouseff, on 1 January 2011. Having a socialist background, she was known for saying, “A wealthy country is a country with no poverty.”

Forums were held on specific issues and votes were cast by all who attended these forums so that the leaders could decide what was most important to include in the list. Representatives from numerous unions and organizations were present, such as the National Confederation of Agricultural workers, the Central Unit of Workers, the World Women’s March, ActionAid, and Fishers of Arari Waterfalls. Everyone in the “City of Daisies” sold and traded handcrafts with others in order to build relationships and promote discussions. As a result, the movement gained followers and displayed to the public its unity and their strength.

On 16 August 2011, the Daisies began marching. They wore purple shirts and straw hats to represent their work and their unity. Some dressed as daisies. All carried signs, banners, and flags, proclaiming their demands, feelings, and beliefs. As they marched through the city of Brasilia they sang, “We are of all different kinds, of different kinds of hair, big, small and elevated. We are all daisies!” They continued singing throughout the march. Eventually they made their way to the Capitol building, where three leaders of the movement, all women, spoke to the crowd. The marching, singing, displaying of banners, and campaigning continued the next day.

On 18 August 2011, President Dilma Drouseff addressed the list of 150 demands by agreeing to establish 16 floating facilities in forest-rivers to allow for basic health care to those working in these areas and 10 centers to enforce regulated health and safety standards in the workplace by 2012. She also pledged to finance more family-owned farms and to create and introduce a national program on sustainable agriculture that would help women in rural communities.

The march encouraged women to engage in political activity and aided in alleviating their struggles in the agrarian labor force. Congresswoman Rejane Pitanga believed that the march ”projects women as protagonists of federal politics, something that would be unimaginable a few decades ago.” More women, especially those in rural communities were also encouraged to seek a stronger position politically so that they could be sure that those demands on the list were met and others could be introduced and enacted.

Research Notes
Sources: 
"ActionAid Brazil Local Partners at the Daisies' March." Activista/ActionAid. ActionAid, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2013. <http://www.ms.dk/en/activista/videos/actionaid-brazil-local-partners-daisies-march-0>.

Moorhead, Rosy. "Brazilian Women March for Rights of Rural Workers." WomensViewsonNews.org. Women's Views on News, 8 Sept. 2011. Web. 16 Mar. 2013. <http://www.womensviewsonnews.org/2011/09/brazilian-women-march-for-rights-of-rural-workers/>.

Moraes, Thais. "Brazilian Women Press Rights of Rural and Forest Labor." Toward Freedom. Toward Freedom, 5 Sept. 2011. Web. 16 Mar. 2013. <http://www.towardfreedom.com/women/2527-brazilian-women-press-rights-of-rural-and-forest-labor>.

"The Daisies' March Demands for Women's Rights, Wage Equality and Land Distribution in Brazil." Global Room for Women. Global Room, 29 Aug. 2011. Web. 16 Mar. 2013. <http://www.globalroomforwomen.com/global-heart-blog/entry/u201cthe-daisiesu2019-march-demands-for-womenu2019s-rights-wage-equality-and-land-distribution-in-brazil.html>.

Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy: 
Jessica Seigel, 16/03/2013