Centenary of International Women's Day 1910 to 2010!
Let us celebrate the Centenary of International Women's Day 1910 to 2010!
It is about a hundred years since the declaration of International Women's Day. March 8, commemorated throughout the world as Women's Day is part of the history of the working class women's struggle. The memorable event took place on 8th March, 1908 when about 15,000 women marched the streets of New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. They were the women workers of the garment companies, in the needle trade, working in appalling conditions in sweatshops. They also demanded an end to child labour. As the struggle intensified all over Europe and America, in 1910, at a Socialist International meeting in Copenhagen, an International Women's Day of no fixed date was proposed to honour the women's rights movement. In 1911, Clara Zetkin, a leader of the working class women's movement, organized the first IWD in Germany and it was also celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women's rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. In 1913, IWD was transferred to 8th March. Since then the women's movement has made this day so well known that it is widely and popularly celebrated throughout the world. Seeing its popularity, the day is also being co-opted by the establishment to make women believe that the governments, capitalist, feudal and imperialist forces are much concerned about the welfare of women and to try and silence their struggles.
It is time for us in the Women's Movement to make a reckoning of where we stand, what have been the gains and losses for working women in this century. While there has been a significant change in the status of women, due to the struggles, the socio-economic conditions are such that women continue to be highly exploited, marginalized, and deprived of political power, victims of patriarchy, violence and repression. In the developing countries, whether urban or rural, women form the bulk of the poor, the unemployed, and the uneducated; without any means of livelihood. Imperialist globalization, which has already affected women in various ways, is now further affected by the current financial crisis which will mean more pay cuts and retrenchment of women, contract labour, sexual exploitation and deprivation of labour laws will continue to trouble our lives. The agrarian crisis in India, will further increase food shortages, landlessness, indebtedness and trafficking in women and girls. To add to this struggling women face repression, or right wing fascist forces unleash the wrath of religious fundamentalism controlling and warping the lives of women.
Let us resolve to come together, women activists, trade unionists, working women and others, to commemorate the Centenary of the International Women's Day from 2009 to 2010 March in a meaningful way. To analyze the present situation, to come out in support of working class women's struggles, to raise our voices against this pro-imperialist model of development that is causing displacement and deprivation to millions of women, to expose the politics of the campaign against terror and communalism, to try and combat violence against women.
We could commemorate this important event by: 1. Forming IWD Centenary committees in various cities or states and holding demonstrations, rallies, seminars or workshops. 2. Conducting a campaign by having poster exhibitions, distributing leaflets doing cultural programmes etc. 3. Publish literature on the history of the women's movement, the working class movement and women's participation in it. 4. Culminating the year long events in a bigger All India Conference and rally in March 2010 at a central place. 5. Sharing experiences of various women's group. 6. Charting out future struggles on women's issues. 7. Any other suggestions are welcome!
Replying to this email will send an e-mail to 11000+ members of Jharkhand Forum