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Congo: Is March 8 truly a Women's Day?

Republic of the Congo

The loincloth is getting a new colour on Women’s Rights Day in Pointe-Noire, the economic capital of the Republic of Congo. On March 8, the trend is to don your best custom-made dress. However one wonders – is March 8 a day to commemorate women’s rights or an occasion to show off ?

Mrs. Safou Florence, a Pointe-Noire resident says, “We wear the loincloth on March 8th to value women. Because when we see a woman, we link her to the loincloth. The loincloth is also a way to show our femininity on a national level.”

Another resident, Otsara Sissi, argues that the fabric is one a way to rejoice and celebrate it the day.

It is not meant to be spent like a birthday...So are no flowers, no loincloths, no presents, just a time to make it known that we want our rights respected!

An opinion shared by some, but rejected by others who see March 8 as a period for reflection and believe that this celebration is an opportunity to show real equality in the home.

“In fact, it’s Women’s Day. Every March 8, I always buy the loincloth and I stay home with the kids, do all the housework, take care of the kids, give her the money to go out and have fun, that’s all,” says Loubela Claudin, a vendor at the Pointe-Noire central market.

Congolese writer Huguette Nganga Massanga shares very strong sentiments. “March 8 is an important day for us because many people around the world have given their lives and time to claim women’s rights.” she says, adding that it would be a shame if we who live in societies where rights are not respected spent all our time feasting.

The theme for the 43rd International Women’s Rights Day is “I am from Generation Equality: Stand Up for Women’s Rights,” a slogan in line with UN Women’s Generation Equality campaign to achieve human rights for all women, regardless of age or origin.

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