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International Women's Day

- | 07.03.2001 22:48

Today, 8 March, women all over the world are celebrating International Women's Day and highlight women's daily achievements, struggles and exploitation.

The day when the mountain will move is coming.
When I say this, no one believes me.
The mountains have been asleep only temporarily.
In antiquity, mountains, all aflame, moved about.
No one need believe this.
But, all of you, believe this.
All the women who had been asleep
Have now awakened and are on the move.
- Akiko Yosano, 1911

Women\'s International Day
Across the globe, today and throughout this week, thousands of women and girls will be taking action and striking in protest of unequal and inhumane treatment, of unacceptable living standards exacerbated by poor working, economic and cultural conditions. Coming together in solidarity highlights the ammassed strength and possibilities harnessed in the bodies and souls of half of the worlds populations. As one voice with a thousand poetic testemonies, March 8th is a day to listen and act in support of the second \"Global Women\'s Strike\" , a time to recognize women\'s daily achievements, struggles and exploitation in an economically stratified and neoliberal, capitalist system which extends into every hearth and kitchen table.

Women have been fighting and resisting domination in all forms since the dawn of time. In recent history, March 8th has bcome earmarked, when in 1908 15,000 garment makers of New York went on strike to demand shorter hours, better pay, voting rights and an end to child labour. This date has since inspired women worldwide in their fight for their rights. Last years sucessful International Womens day saw womens groups in 64 countries striking and participating collectively when The National Women\'s Council of Ireland made a call. This year, again initiated by the Irish women\'s council, organised by the Wages for Housework Campaign and supported by the English Prostitutes Collective, women will be even more vocal in their tapastry of demands.

WHY Strike
Women are striking for a wide variety of reasons, from demanding clean drinking water to affordable housing to freedom from a life of violence, there are however, very tangible threads linking these struggles.
Much of women\'s work, paid and unpaid, has an immense economic impact, though their contribution is rarely noticed or fully quantified. Women do 2/3 of world´s labor, for which they gain only a mere 5% of global income. 2/3 of this labor is done without the right of award. 95.5% of the world´s property is owned by men, and only 4.5% by women. Powerful agents of globalization are in most cases white men - politicians, financiers, businessmen and property owners. The logic of capitalism derives itself from the economy of production and market, not from the economy of household and reproduction, which is the very core of human life and the basic ingredient of every economy and of all profit. Women are striking to demand a change in the priorities of the global economy.

Women do unwaged work not only within the family and as subsistence farmers but as carers and volunteers in schools, hospitals, places of worship, pressure groups, and on front lines.
If their work were recognized for what it is and supported accordingly, its value would be even greater. Giving women farmers in Kenya the same support as men, for example, would increase their yields by more than 20 per cent; raising Latin American women\'s wages to men\'s levels would increase national output by 5 per cent.
One of the keys to sustainable development will be recognizing the costs of gender discrimination and the advantages of equality, making them visible to policy makers and families, and agreeing on action in a variety of forms.

Invisibilty of women\'s worth makes women vulnerable. Girls and women worldwide, across lines of income, class and culture, are subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse. Violence against women includes rape, domestic violence, genital mutilation and sexual assault; forced pregnancy, sterilization or abortion; forced use or non-use of contraceptives; \"honour\" crimes; sexual trafficking; dowry-related violence and the every day manipulation of women´s bodies in the media.

Many men\'s groups have joined the strike, and support International Womens Day, seeing their own struggles mirrored in those of womens.

The Womens strike demands a world which starts with people\'s needs, not corporate greed - without sexism, racism, ageism or ANY discrimination - prioritising caring work, valuing the experience of those who do it and with an insistance on men and boys caring too. Womens rights are human rights. They include the right to:

- payment for all caring work - incl. wages, pensions, land & other resources; pay equity for all, women & men, in the global market
- paid maternity leave, breastfeeding breaks & other benefits
- accessible clean water, healthcare, housing, transport, literacy
- non-polluting energy & technology which shortens the hours we work
- protection & asylum from all violence & persecution, including by family members & people in positions of authority
- Freedom of movement

Women who are resisting
Women who resist are mothers, black women, immigrant and refugee women, lesbian women, pensioners, sex workers, women in trade unions, women in waged work, women with disabilities, young women.

For information on countries participating in the Global Women\'s Strike and resources on International Womens Day: Links to UK and global actions Listing of womens events in UK International Women\'s Day, Scotland Site for ending violence against women International women\'s websites International women\'s actvist sites UNESCO and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) are calling on all media to name women to posts of editorial responsibility for a week from 5-11 March 2001 to mark International Women\'s Day Zapatista women posters; see IMCUK Zapatour feature for more info A History of Int. Women\'s day in words and images,uk Women\'s environmental network Women\'s International Network Emergency and Solidarity feminist media watch Info on Sexism & Globalisation

Peace Radio, Costa Rica, will broadcast interviews with women organising Strikes on:
Wednesday 21 March at 2330 UTC
Thursday 22 March at 1800 UTC
Saturday 24 March at 1600 UTC
If you cannot get the broadcast go to Peace Radio\'s website> to listen to the programme in real audio, listed as Global Community Forum programme.



Hide the following 4 comments

Women's rights?

08.03.2001 08:51

Women are penalised for succumbing to the natural bodily function, called pregnancy. Young mothers are advised to have abortions, older women with large families are blamed for population explosion and being a drain on the State if they need support. Pregnancy is like a pariah in male dominated society.


Too true

08.03.2001 11:38

For us to truly be a success in the new society we must attack the male domination as much as the devastation of Capitalism. Though of course they're are linked.. I was most disappointed to see so mant women at work today. Still I'll see you at lunchtime at lunch. Solidarity...a male!


Feed the World

08.03.2001 13:46

Thanks for your support Eunuch, the weather did not deter women today, the turnout (in London) could have been better, but we made our message loud and clear. Macho principles of war and military spending have no place in a free and equal World.


The greatest sacrifice.

08.03.2001 14:39

Without women the world would stop, crops would not be sown, water would not be drawn, fires would have no fuel. There would be no food on the table, no-one to rock the cradle, men just aren’t able. Or so they pretend, because it is convenient to have a servant, to do your bidding. Who would find the lost sock, who would wear the pretty frock? Where would babies come from? There is no greater love, than that of a mother, sister or wife. Without us what would life be worth? Don’t take us for granted, we won’t play the martyr much longer.