The commemoration of the day began in 1992, at a meeting held in the Dominican Republic when black women from 32 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean decided to make their struggles visible and define political strategies to help improve their quality of life, as well as to eradicate racism and racial discrimination from a gender perspective.
Afro-descendant women in Latin America and the Caribbean, historically live multiple inequalities that are part of structural and systemic racism, caused by slavery and colonial past and present, which intersect, creating other dimensions of inequalities due to their class, poverty and gender origin, which prevent them from having the socio-economic resources and power necessary to achieve their physical and economic autonomy. intersect, creating other dimensions of inequalities due to their class, poverty and gender origins, which prevent them from having the socioeconomic resources and power necessary to achieve their physical and economic autonomy and decision-making.
This day reminds us of the importance of organizing a struggle to overcome the coloniality of power, associated with the political economy of racism and racial capitalism
This is compounded by statistical invisibility since many countries do not ask about ethnicity, race and gender, or non-binary identities, which is key information for a comprehensive picture of the situation of the Afro-descendant population.
For Public Services International (PSI) and the inclusive trade unionism that it practices, it is very important to link the fight against racism with overcoming gender discrimination and the search for the autonomy of Afro-descendant women in the world of work, which requires us to assume as a society the great challenges for their individual and collective recognition as subjects of rights.
According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), there is a minimum estimate based on data from the last census round of 16 countries in LA, which allows reaching an approximate figure of 134 million Afro-descendant people. The Afro-descendant population of Latin America and the Caribbean represents 21% of the total population of our region. There are more than 108 million people in Brazil, where they represent 51% of the population; they represent more than 10 million people in Haiti, where they represent more than 95% of the population; and between 7% and 10% of the population in five other Latin American countries such as Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama and the Dominican Republic.
Throughout Latin America, racialized groups are more likely to be poor than the rest of the population. If we look, for example, at this year's latest ECLAC social panorama of Latin America, we find that 48% of the Afro-descendant population in Colombia and 44% of the Afro-descendant population in Ecuador have incomes below the poverty line.
In Latin America, labor markets are also characterized by ethnic, racial and gender gaps in terms of access to the labor market, as well as in terms of the quality of employment. In addition, it should be remembered that paid domestic work, where this population and women of African descent are overrepresented, is also closely associated with the issue of care.
So, we have to effectively show, to be visible, how these inequalities are embodied in the case of Afro-descendant women, how we need to look at it with an intersectional approach and how different dimensions of inequalities such as economic, social, and political, cultural, subjective, intersect in these specific historical contexts, generating modalities of exclusion, hierarchization and inequality that are effectively affecting the Afro-descendant population, and in particular the group of Afro-descendant women, in a very significant way.
A study undertaken by PSI, which proposes a rethinking of labor regimes from a decolonial perspective, argues that racism cannot be addressed without an understanding of its political-economic centrality within capitalism, which produces and reproduces the exploitation and social division of labor that pervades the world. Globalization has entrenched these divisions of labor between a racialized "center and periphery" that now operate beyond the former colonial metropolis of the Global North, but also within the Global South, thus in Latin America and the Caribbean and particularly on women; as well as on all feminized identities.
Therefore, PSI has proposed as a vision for its next political period the decolonial vision, as a transformative approach in its intersectional fight against racism and xenophobia, to accompany the action of our affiliated unions to support national legislative changes related to decolonize labor, activate affirmative union policies and to work at the level of enforceability of international standards against discrimination including those related to labor adopted by the ILO (International Labor Organization).