This March 8, International Working Women’s Day, we, the women and LGBTI of all continents, will take to the streets, because we have even more reasons than before to protest, to promote strikes in workplaces, and to claim all our rights from governments.
The situation of the vast majority of women in the world continues to worsen. In the two years since the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the working class has suffered enormous hardship; this has been exacerbated by a simultaneous crisis of capitalism which threatens our living conditions through intensified exploitation, poverty, environmental devastation, and violence. Working women bear the burden of these crises twice as much. It is evident that the capitalist system is incapable of guaranteeing our most basic rights, such as the right to public health. The UN reports that the pandemic has caused a ten-year setback in terms of women’s rights. The inequalities we suffer are deepening.
Patriarchal violence and governments’ complicity amounts to a second pandemic that has not ended. The UN estimates that 137 femicides are committed daily worldwide. This number is a direct result of states’ politics of impunity, which dismisses crimes against women while withdrawing resources from programs that address gender violence. Sex trafficking and sexual exploitation networks continue are one of the most profitable sectors of organized crime — one that offers large profits for businessmen and those who govern. For these reasons, it is very important that our Turkish sisters continue fighting for the reinstitution of the Istanbul Convention, which protects women from gender violence, and from which President Erdoğan arbitrarily withdrew. Or in Mexico, the feminist movement demands Lopez Obrador’s government to stop the killings of journalists, environmentalists and femicide. 11 women have already been killed on a daily basis. In Panama, denunciations of state officials who have committed sexual abuse and harassment against women, and particularly against children and adolescents, continue.
Labor and economic inequalities are deepening as well; the ILO has indicated that, during the period of the pandemic, female unemployment is at least 4% higher than that of males, and this percentage reaches above 9% in regions such as the Americas. The austerity policies that governments put forth at the behest of imperialist organizations such as the IMF take away the rights of the working class as a whole — and women are more affected by layoffs, misery wages, precarious and informal jobs to the point that they are stripped of even the most basic benefits such as social security.
We, women, constitute the majority of workers in the health sector, which has been on the front line of the battle against the Covid-19, as well as in the education sector. We shouldered the burden of distance learning in public education and have now returned to face-to-face education. In both sectors, we have been at continual risk due to the lack of equipment, supplies, and resources to secure our safety in workplaces, and to prevent contagion. The deterioration of public education and health reflect governments’ broader politics of abandonment, in which foreign debt payments are privileged over provision of public resources. For this reason, women have played large roles in mobilizations against these IMF recommendations and against the foreign debt obligations imposed on countries such as Argentina or Chile.
Impoverishment, violence, and natural disasters have led to a predictable rise in forced migration. More and more women and their families suffer from these conditions, and make up roughly half of migrant and refugee populations. Governments show no interest in these populations. For instance, European Union countries put up fences, police forces, and other anti-migration measures to violently stop migration from Asia and Africa. The restrictive immigration policies and the criminalization and persecution against Venezuelan migration by the governments of Mexico, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile, and Honduras leave Venezuelan women, who flee the precariousness caused by the austerity plans imposed by the Venezuelan government, vulnerable to sex trafficking, sexual exploitation, sexual violence, reproductive violence, and femicides.
At the same time, the green tide does not halt. After the legalization of abortion in Argentina in 2020 came the decriminalization of abortion in Mexico, and more recently in Colombia. However, right-wing sectors strive to undermine this right. Women are the ones who have had to go out on the streets and demand this right from their governments, as in the Dominican Republic, which is one of the few countries in the world which absolutely criminalizes abortion. There our sisters have constantly and continuously mobilized, demanding at least the implementation of the decriminalization of abortion under the widespread three circumstances rule. The governments, the right-wing sectors and the Church will insist that we do not have full access to this right. Streets remain to be where women can insist that abortion is guaranteed in hospitals and clinics and demand the separation of the Church and the State.
The struggle of women must also encompass the denunciation of the Catholic Church and all other religious institutions, which, at the global level, have been attacking our right to decide about our bodies, life, and sexuality. These same institutions have time and again committed sexual abuse against children. The case in France, where it was revealed that more than 300 thousand infants in the past decades have been sexually abused by the clergy in the French Catholic Church is but the most recent example. These pedophile ecclesiastics must be judged and punished.
None of the governments of the world will guarantee full respect for our rights. On the contrary, they have dedicated themselves to repressing and criminalizing the women’s and LGBTI movements. As the International Workers’ Unity – Fourth International, we commit ourselves to March 8. We call on all working women, people with non-conforming sexual and gender orientation, native peoples, migrants, Afro-descendants, women with disabilities, and trans women to continue taking to the streets, to organize and mobilize independently from governments, and to raise our voices against all sexist violence, economic precariousness, and the criminalization of feminist protests. We support the struggle of Afghan women against the Taliban regime that violates their rights; we stand with the Palestinians against the invasion and genocide of the Zionist state of Israel. This 8M must also be a day of internationalist struggle to repudiate Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and his criminal bombings. Ukrainian women are part of the Ukrainian resistance. Images of women making Molotov cocktails have gone viral in the world. Let’s show our solidarity with the women and people of Ukraine this March 8 to defeat Putin’s imperialist intervention and to reject all imperialist interventions, be they coming from Putin, NATO, or the United States. They all pursue their capitalist interests. We support the resistance of the Ukrainian people and their free right to self-determination. And we also stand in solidarity with the people of Russia who are standing against the war and fighting against the criminal regime of Putin.
We will take the streets for an anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal, anti-racist, and anti-clerical movement, and for the unity of all working women.
No to the payment of foreign debts! Resources for health, education, labor, and against gender and sexual violence! Governments are indebted to us, not to the IMF!
Job security, decent wages, and equal pay for equal work!
Not one woman less, not one more dead! Stop the disappearances, femicides and transvesticides!
Dismantle the networks of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation! Punish the traffickers, and the accomplice officials and businessmen!
Sexual education to decide, contraceptives not to abort, and legal abortion not to die!
Separation of the Church/religious institutions and the State!
Stop sexual violence against children! No to underage pregnancies! They’re children, not mothers!
Open the borders, no one is illegal! Full respect for the rights of all migrants!
Stop criminalizing those who fight!
For a trans-inclusive feminism!
Long live the struggle of working women of the world!
The International Workers’ Unity – Fourth International