Every year since 1911 around the world and for the past few years in Burundi, nations have been celebrating International Women's Day. This day is especially an occasion to celebrate the achievements of women in terms of economic, social and political advancement of given programs that help better serve humanity.

We probably would not speak about the achievements of women around the world as they are more than a lot and the context may escape us, but we can speak for Burundian women. In this article, women working with APDH tell us what they think about this year's international day dedicated to them, what it should stand for and how it should be fruitful and historic for humanity in the years to come.

We asked three important questions to three of our women and staff members and here is what they had to say about 8 March.

Q1: Why is 8 March so important to you?

According to Sylvana INAMAHORO, the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, 8 March, International Women's Day, reminds her of women's struggle for their rights (right to vote, right to fair treatment in terms of salaries, etc.), and of the awareness of most governments to take gender into account in the development programs of countries. Even if the struggle is not totally won, women have already brought about changes in their favour.

MUNKURIZE Diane, the assistant accountant, also seems to be on the same wavelength as the previous one. She says: "International Women's Day is important because it is a day of reflection, evaluation and introspection. We have to reflect and analyse whether women's rights are respected or not, and if necessary, make new recommendations to the competent authorities.

WIZEYIMANA Acquiline is a field lawyer and works directly with rural women, marginalized groups, victims of social injustice and sexual abuse. According to her, there is no work exclusively recognized to men except that which is exclusively linked to biological nature. March 8th must be a crucial moment to put an end to stereotypes, attributions and social considerations. It calls on women to prove their abilities," she concludes.

Q2: This year, who/what should we think about when celebrating International Women's Day?

Sylvana INAMAHORO first reminds us of this year's theme: "Women's leadership, source of inclusive development". Then she lets us know how the theme relates to the challenges that women face today in all areas. She says: "As the theme chosen this year indicates, women in decision-making positions must redouble their efforts to make their peers more valuable. They must play their full role to break the habit of labelling women as incapable. Every woman should reflect on this as she celebrates this day duly dedicated to her.

Ms. Diane goes further: "We must think of our sisters who are abused, of the women who are massacred and victims of the demands for their rights, we must also reach out to all women who are in a miserable situation (illness, unjust imprisonment, violence of any kind....). We must also stand up against all forms of discrimination based on gender and sex, without forgetting to demand the improvement of women's living conditions in socio-economic and professional environments.

Ms. Acquiline, on the other hand, addresses the injustices that prevail in our society while everyone, including the judiciary, is on watching: "We should think of ways and means to eradicate laws and customs that contribute to the marginalisation of women, especially those in rural areas, we should also think of all women who are victims of gender-based violence and support them in every possible way, as a subject of law and a member of a community."

Q3: How should men perceive this day in 2021?

Sylvana does not think that this day should be considered only on this day, but on every day of the year because for her, a day without women is an incomplete one... "Not only in 2021, but the perception of this day by men should be the same every year. Indeed, the struggle of women should also concern men because behind every man there is a woman and vice versa. This means that the development of women would also benefit men. I therefore ask them to abandon messages and attitudes that denigrate women. “We are their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters,” she added.

When Diane was asked how men should perceive this day today, she answered and suggested the following quite impressively: "Men should recognise this day as feminist, they should be active for a better celebration and development of this day (let the woman free to celebrate it, give everything that is necessary to better honor the day; ...).  They should also see the woman as a very important being who gives life, that she is the pillar of development in the socio-economic life of the home, they should show support to the woman through positive and commendable actions towards their wives. "

Ms Acquiline also believes that International Women's Day should not be limited to the 8th of March: "Men today should put it in their minds that every day is March 8th, so that what it reminds us becomes a daily responsibility for all of us to move our society forward for the benefit of all, irrespective of gender, race, religion and political affiliation. »