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IWA Calls for Mass Mobilizations for International Working Women's Day 2023!

Updated: Mar 3

On this International Working Women’s Day, 2023, the International Women’s Alliance recognizes the great struggles around the world facing working women. We are confronting a great tidal wave of imperialism and neoliberalism - manifesting in climate disaster, war, violence against women, fascism, racism and bigotry.

Since 1910, March 8 has honored the important contribution working women have made in the struggle against exploitation, war and fascism. Originally recognized for women’s contribution to factory strikes in the early twentieth century - today IWA recognizes the important revolutionary contributions women around the world have made towards furthering national liberation, sovereignty, and self-determination.

Global institutions and centers of power have scrubbed the strong working class history of March 8 - instead focusing on women broadly as an apolitical and monolithic sector. The UN is calling for the theme of international women’s day to be “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”. Similarly, at the upcoming Commission on the Status of Women meeting being held from March 6-10 UN representatives, global and corporate leaders and non-government agencies will discuss “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”. The continued emphasis on technology as the tool to advance women’s equality echoes throughout the global elite’s agendas this year. For example, the Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) is promising to train 7 million women and girls in the science and technological fields and Asia Pacific Economic Forum (APEC) is also pushing their agenda on “women in the economy” in build ups to their heads of state meeting this November. Global leaders in their halls of power are divorced from the issues of working and peasant women around the world who are burdened by militarism, exploitation, and increasing fascism. IWA rejects the claim that technological innovation will address gender inequality as it fails to address the greater issue facing women - which is class oppression.

Demonstrators holds signs as they take part in a protest against the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit 2022, near the Democracy Monument in Bangkok, Thailand November 18, 2022. REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa

It is clear that the promotion of “gender equality” by the US and leading global corporations is being used primarily to offer false solutions which really maximize military power and profits. What working women really need is a transformation of society. What good are temporary jobs in the technological sector if they do not advance the development of local economies and instead serve the interests of transnational corporations who act as vampires sucking wealth and superprofits from the underdeveloped countries. IWA calls on all our members, allies, and freedom loving people to oppose the IPEF, APEC, and UN assertions that women’s liberation lies in the advancement of technology and inclusion in the economy and to uphold women’s role in the anti-imperialist movement as the primary source of women’s collective liberation.

It is estimated that the COVID-19 Pandemic has driven women into worse and worse poverty - with the number of women and girls surviving on less than $1.90 per day ballooning to its highest number of 435 million globally. This is likely a gross underestimation - given the continued global economic crisis that has driven prices up and value of currency lower and lower in the developing world. As the global economic crisis worsens it is the women and girls living in unregularized, contractualized, and irregular working conditions who face the harshest conditions. Workers in the garment industry have felt the crunch of the global economic crisis and continued Covid-19 pandemic globally. Of the 35 million garment workers globally - 80% or 28 million of those are women and girls. Due to increased neoliberal agreements that have led to liberalization, privatization, deregulation - women in the garment industry continue to be laid off without warning, with their severance pay being withheld and denied opportunity for appeal. This has led to strikes, protests and demonstrations of garment workers around the world - many who work for factories contracted by companies such as Adidas, Shein, H&M, Nike, and Primark.

The Federation of Home Based Women Workers protests Adidas in Pakistan on Aug. 18, 2022. Courtesy

Along with neoliberal policies impacting working women through the corroding of their rights in the workplace - the economic crisis and pandemic have heightened the competition between economic superpowers. As the tensions between countries have heightened - it is women and their families who are put in the crosshairs. Already in 2023 we have seen increases in militarization and preparations for war. The US military increased its recruitment target of new recruitments from 60,000 to 65,000, even though it fell short in 2022. In times of economic hardship - the US propaganda around the financial reward of US Military service increases, preying on recent graduates from migrant and working class backgrounds. The US Imperialist machine has aggressively expanded internationally with 5 new military bases in the Philippines being announced this past February. The bases are all along the northern coast of the islands - being positioned as defense bases in case China invades Taiwan. This was declared just ahead of the 1 year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine - a war that the US has largely blamed on Russian invasion while skirting its own decades-long influence on the country. All across the world the US and its NATO cronies are fueling wars and leaving nothing but devastation in its wake - working women have every interest in contributing to the anti-war movement targeting these war mongers and the billionaire industries that benefit.

Activists display placards during a protest in Manila against the supreme court ruling that a military accord with the US was constitutional. Photograph: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

The last year has exposed the US’ political agenda and its willingness to continuously interfere in the politics of foreign countries. In late 2022 democratically elected Peruvian president Pedro Castillo was detained by military forces after attempting to dissolve the corrupt congress of Peru. Upon his detention Dina Boluarte assumed the presidential role despite much protest from a majority of Peruvians. The US supported the removal of Castillo from office, turning a blind eye to the police massacres of 59 protesters demanding Castillo’s return to office. The US’ interest in the region are clear - with Peru being the US’s entrypoint to Latin America where many rare-earth metals and natural resources needed for military tech are found.

Protesters participate in a national strike on January 19 in Lima, Peru. EFE/ Paolo Aguilar

Rising corporate greed is exacerbating climate catastrophe - with the continued trend toward “just-in-time-production” in manufacturing the drive to find new opportunities for resource extraction is needed for big technology corporations and weapons development. A recent claim of 5.9 million tons of lithium deposits in Jammu & Kashmir will inevitably mean even more militarization, and resource grabbing by India (probably funded and counseled by US and corporations such as TESLA), and the continued occupation, impoverishment and dispossession of indigenous Kashmiris. Rising tensions between the nuclear-armed Pakistan and India over Kashmir will have catastrophic implications for the working class and oppressed people throughout the entire region. Globally corporations such as PepsiCo. and Nestle are intensifying exploitation of women agriculture workers. With scarce land, genuine land reform in the global south has been superseded by World Bank supported market-assisted land reforms which grant land to corporations.

Farmers and their children protest the new bill Credit: NARINDER NANU/AFP via Getty Images

With capitalism exacerbating the climate crisis around the world - US imperialist powers also use catastrophe to further their political agendas. After Syria and Turkey were hit with two major earthquakes in February - the US sent aid and on-the-ground teams to Turkey; while Syria had to rely on local support due to the impacts of existing US sanctions which prevented AID from being sent. Even worse - once sanctions were temporarily lifted and the US started sending relief to Syria - the Kurdish communities in both Syria and Turkey were not helped at all by government or non-government agencies and are still being forced to be self-reliant to recover from the great devastation. The international response to climate catastrophe should not be informed by political interests rather than human need - but we see time and time again it is the most exploited and oppressed parts of society who are overlooked when catastrophe strikes.

Protest against the UN in Syrian Atarb. The placard reads: “The United Nations partners with Bashar Assad and is killing Syrians” Photo: Hussein Malla/ap

As women around the world take up the call to mobilize for international working women’s day, IWA asserts that the true solutions to advance women’s economic prosperity and safety are to organize and struggle for nationalized economies, and to ensure the leadership of truly independent and democratic governments. To achieve this women must be part of the overall struggle for their liberation - confronting directly their oppressors and working together with all concerned people to create meaningful change. In the spirit of International Working Women’s Day - IWA calls on all our members to unite for national and social liberation of all women - and recognizes the essential role that the working class plays in those struggles.

Down with imperialism and neoliberal policy! Oppose US militarism! Reject false solutions! Long live the working class of all countries! Long live working women’s struggle!

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