printer printer Click on the green icon on the right
by CADTM International
7 March 2022

We are feminist, internationalist and anti-capitalist activists of the CADTM from different parts of the world. On the occasion of the 8th of March, International Day of Struggle for women’s rights, we want to emphasize feminist demands and struggles against debt, which is a tool of domination and of FINANCIAL COLONIZATION of our homes, our bodies and our territories. We are therefore launching this manifesto open to all who want to support and disseminate it.

Debt oppresses people in both the Global South and the North (whether through structural adjustment policies or austerity imposed by international financial institutions) and has particularly devastating consequences for women* (as well as for the most vulnerable groups of the population) as workers, small-scale producers and peasants, users of targeted services, and people “assigned” to care, etc.

The current health and economic crisis has only worsened living conditions in the world, deepening not only precariousness, inequality, poverty and the level of indebtedness of the working classes, but also making it difficult to imagine new horizons. Under the pretext of the urgency of dealing with the health crisis, the global context is characterized by unprecedented levels of public debt, which will be used as a tool of blackmail in the coming years to impose more austerity and privatizations on the people, with even more disastrous consequences for women* [1].

Who bears the ’costs’ of social reproduction and care work in this context? Women*

In order to prioritize the repayment of ILLEGITIMATE PUBLIC DEBTS, worldwide cuts in public spending:

  • deprive us of our right to health, education, housing, etc.
  • forces us to resort to private debt, such as micro-credits to women at abusive rates to meet the basic needs of our families (food, medicine, rent, etc.);
  • shackle us to violent households, male violence and directly attacks our emancipation.
  • perpetuate the invisibility and devaluation of care work and social reproduction (for which women are largely responsible).
  • condemn us to accept increasingly precarious and poorly paid jobs.
  • deepen the current model of extractivist production and development. Based on the reprimarisation of the economy, in order to obtain foreign currency, which leads to the loss of territories, more inequality and marginalization, and to the increased presence of transnational corporations (TNCs) protected by free trade agreements. It is mainly women who lead the struggle against these companies, in defense of our territories, cultures and ways of life.
  • etc.

This is how the ’debt system’ works, how financial colonization is imposed on our homes. This is how public and private debt are linked and serve to perpetuate capitalism and patriarchy.
BUT, without this free or underpaid work done by women*, the system collapses! In fact, this capitalist and patriarchal system has a long-standing social debt to women. Who depends on whom? The system needs us to keep working. If women stop, the world stops... Reversing these logics, we ask the question: WHO OWES WHO?


  • CANCEL the PUBLIC DEBTS of the countries of the South to all creditors: bilateral, multilateral and private.
  • FIGHT AGAINST PRIVATE DEBT and propose ALTERNATIVES TO MICROCREDIT such as solidarity economies which are already being experimented with in certain regions of the world and which can feed our reflections. In the short term, we need an improvement in the conditions of indebtedness to MIFIs (Microcredit Institutions), such as a zero-interest rate, and constrained by the adoption of national laws.
  • Fight against this financial system dominated by a minority of speculators who seek to increase their profit, by putting in place a system of borrowing for the common good.
  • Set up a FEMINIST DEBT AUDIT (which should include the feminist dimension, i.e. take into account the unrecognised contribution of women to the economy and propose solutions such as the socialization of care, i.e. the involvement of all social and economic actors in these activities on which we all depend), including in this dimension the audit and investigation of various forms of abuse committed by microfinance organisations, where women represent more than 80% of borrowers.
  • Establish NON-SEXIST/GENDERED EDUCATION and raise awareness about discrimination and violence against women* as well as sexual and reproductive rights (such as the right to abortion) and women’s rights in general in all spheres of life.

Our current challenge as feminists is to radicalize the processes of struggle that we are already building from a perspective of plurality of subjects and resistance to the current model. We have to dismantle this mode of life based on injustice and exploitation and to move towards new ways of connecting with each other, focusing on the sustainability of human life on earth.

Footnotes :

[1When we refer to women, we mean anyone who identifies and/or identifies as a woman.

CADTM International