When working women of the world unite and fight, the entire world wins!
International Workers Day beckons the workers of the world to unite against the
ever-increasing exploitation and oppression of capitalism which has taken on a form that is showing its snarling imperialist face more openly than ever before.
The past few years have left the world in the vicious grip of overlapping crises ranging from the pandemic, to climate emergency, to wars of aggression. The multiple impacts have resulted in sky high prices of fuel, food and all basic necessities. Of course, it’s the working class that have borne the brunt, with women most impacted as they suffer from these economic impacts in
addition to patriarchy at home and in the workplace.
The number of billionaires has ballooned thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. They received massive bailout packages to keep their businesses running while workers were given little to no relief, support, or access to necessary resources. Women working in the garment industry were given no protections when slowed global trade led factories to close. Instead of the government
giving bailouts to women who suddenly had no means of providing for their families, the business owners were made all the richer through corporate agreements and stimulus packages. When factories did start to reopen, women were rehired at much lower rates with no job protection. Governments focusing on protecting the transnational corporations over the interest of workers has led to massive inflation and has further hurt the working class by limiting their purchasing power.
At the same time, the pharmaceutical industry took advantage of the global crisis and unfettered government investment to ensure it came out of the pandemic on top. While a vaccine promised to put the world back in order and provide some relief - pharmaceutical giants like Pfizer took advantage of international free trade laws to protect their intellectual property (TRIPS) and charge poor, underdeveloped nations top dollar for the vaccine. Because of this blatant desire to amass profits - the COVID 19 pandemic not only continues to plague the developing world, but an unnecessary number of lives have been lost - leaving a lasting impact on the working class.
US imperialism knew no bounds! During the pandemic, the US forces evacuated after 20 years of occupation of Afghanistan. At the same time, wars of aggression continue in many countries across the world such as Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, and Indian-occupied Kashmir, to name a few. While the US continued terrorizing the world through its imperialist actions; it has also continued to act like a global referee - imposing sanctions on a host of countries. Sanctions make workers vulnerable because of resource scarcity, thereby making them more susceptible to human trafficking or forcing them to migrate. It is situations like this that force women to seek opportunities abroad in industries such as health care, care work, or domestic labor hoping to provide a better life for their families.
Even under such brutal working conditions, inflation, and global health crises, workers stood up against the capitalist forces demanding decent wages and working conditions. Even when they were met with various oppressive measures, targeted both by their governments as well as at their workplaces for organizing, they united and demanded change. We saw a surge in worker protest strikes mainly in the public sector and in health care starting in 2021 and continuing on in 2022 with attendance reaching into the thousands.
Throughout the pandemic, we have seen huge victories in opposing transnational corporations and demanding improvements in working conditions. We salute the women on the frontlines of workers’ struggles. We fight alongside Amazon warehouse workers in the United States who are
fighting for the right to unionize, garment workers in Cambodia who are protesting the sudden closure of their factories, women in the Philippines who are rallying for change during their election season. All around the world workers are realizing the power of working together to oppose exploitation and demand improvements.
Mayday is a day to celebrate and recognize the women workers making up the majority of our health and social services sector. These women rose to the task of dealing with the onslaught of the pandemic in overcrowded emergency departments, doing forced overtime in senior homes, and battling through innumerable bureaucratic regulations which did everything but keep them
safe. These women continued working during the lock downs and the quarantines with minimal PPE, putting them at greater risk for exposure and even death.
In the first months of 2022 alone, there has been a rising tide of protests and strikes by health workers all over the world. Nurses, lab workers, pharmacists and other health workers have organized strikes in Sri Lanka, Slovenia, Australia, Turkey, the Philippines and in the United States. They demand fair treatment, more support and protection, and to receive the much needed recognition for putting their lives on the line during the pandemic.
We celebrate the women who took on the extra task of homeschooling their children and caring for sick relatives while still doing full time economic work. Women workers throughout the world went out every day, braving unsafe work environments, to produce clothing, food, and services. Women workers are the caretakers of their families, communities, and the world.
Workers keep the world going and it is up to us to create the future of society as well. Throughout the pandemic, the anti-people schemes of the imperialist forces have been exposed for all of the world to see. Workers have been brutally awakened to their disposability under capitalism and are refusing to stand for it. Time and resources are running out in the age of capitalism. As the imperialists claw at their last shred of power, IWA is uniting with our members to build towards and fight for a society where people are prioritized over profit and
where workers set the terms. It is our labor that keeps the world turning. Ensuring our rights and livelihood are non-negotiable. Women are an indisputable part of the worker’s movement globally! IWA honors the struggle of working women, and we are fighting for a world that we will win together.
When working women of the world unite and fight, the entire world wins.