A women’s conference of the Socialist International in Copenhagen in 1910 launched International Women’s Day globally in 1911. Trotskyist parties, including the predecessor organization of Socialist Action / Ligue pour l’Action socialiste in the Canadian state, re-launched the modern IWD in Canada in 1978.
We did this for good reason. Women’s oppression is rooted in the capitalist system. As with heterosexism, racism, environmental destruction and war, capitalism profits from discrimination, dispossession and wasteful plunder of natural resources.
We march for bread … and for roses too! We do so in the face of escalating attacks on basic human needs – a vicious austerity drive linked to the deepening global recession.
- Establishment claims that women have ‘achieved equality’ are nothing but a sick joke.
- On average, women are paid 18 per cent less than men – $8000/year less than males.
27 per cent of employed women work fewer than 30 hours per week, more than double the 12 per cent of men who work part-time. 7 out of 10 part-time workers are female.
- Low paid women increasingly hold more than one job to survive. 56 per cent of multiple job holders are women.
- Aboriginal women and girls suffer shameful economic and social conditions. They are systemic victims of racism, inequality, physical assault, disappearance and murder.
- Most women still bear the double burden of doing most of the domestic labour, in addition to work outside the home.
While trillions of dollars are wasted globally on corporate bail-outs and militarism, women and girls are denied adequate education, economic opportunities, clean water, health care, reproductive choice and personal security.
From Palestine to Haiti, from Libya and Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan to Colombia, women and children are disproportionately the casualties of wars and military occupation in which Ottawa is directly involved or complicit. Millions of women and men demonstrated on January 21 against the Trump agenda which threatens to increase sexism, racism, homophobia and exploitation on all levels.
- To transform this horrendous situation our demands must be clear:
- No money for war. Imperialist hands off Ukraine and Syria.
- Tax big business and the rich.
- Fund health care, education and social services. Provide universal, free, quality child care.
- Enforce equal pay and equal access to good jobs. No two-tier wages/benefits.
Restore funding to women’s social justice organizations, emergency shelters and legal aid. Build quality social housing.
- Raise E.I. rates. Ensure real access for part-time workers.
- Legislate an $18/hour minimum wage.
- End precarious employment. Victory to York and U of T food service workers.
- Phase out the Alberta Tar Sands development. Conscript corporate profits to fund the conversion of industry, business, homes and schools to green energy power.
- For public ownership of the commanding heights of the economy under workers’ and community control.
- For a Workers’ Government. Fight for working class political independence and for socialist policies in labour unions and the NDP.
- Women’s Liberation through Socialist Revolution.
- No socialism without Women’s Liberation.