One thought on “Women ‘sidelined in politics’

  1. Mark International Women’s Day with the continuing struggle for our jobs, wages and rights against imperialist globalization
    08 March 2009

    Now, more than ever, women migrant workers must stand up and fight for our jobs, wages and rights together with other oppressed and exploited women in the world.

    This year’s celebration of the International Women’s Day happens amidst the economic crisis gripping the world. However, today is also commemorated with the confidence that the surging militant and anti-imperialist movement of migrant workers bound by the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) shall take up the cudgels of fighting for the rights and wellbeing of the 180 million migrant workers worldwide, half of them women.

    The economic crunch takes the heaviest toll to the working people. Decades after decades, the crisis of the capitalist system worsens and despite its reinvention under the slogans of neoliberal globalization, imperialists are unable to stop the imminent collapse of the world’s economy plundered by monopolists.

    Neoliberal globalization policies have forcibly opened up the economies of poorer countries and have given multinational corporations the freedom to extract the most profit while leaving the people without livelihood, a decent job and a living wage. Labor flexibilization has become a rampant and legal practice in many countries that increased the exploitation of workers tenfold.

    Now that an even more serious crisis is upon the world – brought by no less than the rapacious drive for superprofit of imperialists – the people are the ones who are being made to take the toll while big businesses are bailed out of bankruptcy with funds taken from the people’s money.

    Women are part of those who will carry this burden.

    Surely, the commodification of women migrants shall intensify as the poor countries cling to labor export for survival. With the labor market constricting, women migrants will be thrown into slave-like working conditions.

    Migrant workers are already oppressed and exploited and women migrants doubly so. Women migrants are found in jobs that pay a pittance where labor rights are easily violated such as domestic work, entertainment industry, sweatshops and the service sector. Aside from inhuman working conditions, women migrants are prone to sexual and physical abuse while those who work in households are overworked and deprived of regular days off.

    Women migrants also suffer from double discrimination based on class and gender. To add to their burden, women of color are victims, not only of sexism, but extreme racism as well especially in the more developed capitalist countries. Moreover, health and other social services sorely needed by women workers are denied them.

    Also, imperialism destroys the fabric of societies of the sending countries where women migrant workers come from. The social costs of migration such as the separation of mothers from their children, women uprooted from their homes, broken families, drug abuse among the youth left behind by parents forced to work as migrant workers are painful social costs brought about by imperialism and borne mainly by women migrant workers.

    As the world’s crisis worsens, imperialists will resort to more and more aggression to preserve its global dominance. The war on terror led by the US has not stopped despite the people’s rightful assertion that terrorism of imperialists is the most aggressive and deadliest of all as it destroys all aspects of the people’s lives – economic, political, social and even cultural heritage.

    In times of wars, women are again made to suffer. Rape and abuses to women are rampant in countries occupied by US military forces as well as those where US military bases have a stronghold or the presence of US military servicemen is widespread. Most of the perpetrators of these crimes against women go scot-free as the US ironically banners its sovereignty while conveniently trampling on the sovereignty of other nations.

    Expressions of the US war on terror in many countries are also seen in the increased fascism of states and repression against progressive and revolutionary movements. Women victims of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearance, illegal arrest, trumped up charges and other forms of violations of civil and political rights are on the rise.

    With globalization and war at their disposal, imperialism will continue to imprison women in chains of poverty, displacement and human rights violations.

    The history of March 8 is of women’s militance and perseverance for class and gender liberation. It is marked by the struggles of the working women against low wages, 12 hour daily work schedules and oppressive labor conditions in factories.

    Such struggles remain relevant and, in fact, more urgent at present. This is what the IMA stands for.

    The IMA strives to harness the strength of the organized movement of women workers to uphold the rights of the oppressed classes and sectors. It shall foster solidarity with local workers, women’s groups and other oppressed classes and sectors in host countries to defend their jobs, wages and rights which are continuously attacked by the leading adherents of imperialist globalization.

    It is right for women to pin hope in the struggle and collective actions for liberation and social justice. It is in this way that women migrants will commemorate International Women’s Day.

    Around the world, militant women’s groups lead the actions today that expose the root causes of the global recession, present the people’s demand and advance a social system that upholds freedom, democracy, justice, peace and human rights. Today, more than ever, women – including women migrants – prove that, indeed, a woman’s place is in the struggle.

    In the victory of the struggle, women shall also be there.

    Women Migrants, fight poverty and oppression!
    Migrants Unite with all Working Peoples!
    Resist Imperialist Crisis, Plunder and War!

    ——————————————————————–

    News Release
    28 February 2009

    Reference: Emmi de Jesus, Secretary General, 371-2302 / 0917-3221203

    GABRIELA TO MARK WOMEN’S DAY AS WOMEN’S PROTEST AGAINST VFA

    “Junk the Visiting Forces Agreement” will be the resounding call of
    GABRIELA on the days leading to March 8 International Women’s Day.

    “There is a growing public clamor for the scrapping of the VFA as the
    Philippine and US governments adamantly refuse to heed the decision of the Supreme Court to transfer detention of Lance Corporal Daniel Smith within Philippine territory. There is no better time to unify and
    heighten the call to junk the VFA and to stop the rape of our nation
    than on March 8 Women’s Day,” said Emmi de Jesus, GABRIELA secretary general during a press conference this morning.

    “GABRIELA was at the forefront in the fight against the VFA and in the
    struggle for justice for Nicole. In the long list of crimes committed
    by US servicemen against Filipinos – ranging back to when US military
    bases were still present in our land – the lower court’s decision to
    convict Smith was the first to ever achieve a semblance of justice in
    court.”

    “We are enraged that the justice Filipinos achieved in Nicole’s case
    was taken away by a treacherous agreement between the RP and US
    governments. We are enraged that the VFA subverts Philippine laws and robbed the Filipinos of a hard-fought victory. We are enraged that the Philippine government is shamelessly making a mockery of our nation’s dignity,” added de Jesus.

    De Jesus said that on the days leading to March 8, women will hound
    both Houses, the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, the US Embassy
    and Malacañang to demand the scrapping of the VFA.

    “Unlike the traitor woman president in Malacañang, the militant women of GABRIELA will fight for the dignity of Filipinos. Unlike the Arroyo government who shamelessly relies on the US to defend our country, patriotic women will defend our motherland from any form of foreign incursion, which includes the VFA and the unequal relations between the US and the Philippines, ” said de Jesus.

    The women’s group said that aside from the 10,000 people it expects to gather in Metro Manila for the March 8 rally, its regional and
    pronvincial chapters will hold similar actions in key cities all over
    the country. ###

    __._,_.___
    GABRIELA Philippine
    35 Sct. Delgado St, Brgy. Laging Handa
    Quezon City, 1103 Philippines
    TeleFax: (632) 374 44 23
    E-mail: internationalrelations@gabrielaphilippines.org

    GABRIELA is a grassroots-based alliance of more than 200 women’s organizations, institutions, desks and programs in the Philippines. We seek to wage a struggle for the liberation of women and the rest of our people.

    ————————————————————————–

    Mensahe ng Pagbati sa Unang Anibersaryo ng SAMAKAMI (Milan, Italy)

    Ikinagagalak ng buong network ng MIGRANTE Europe ang selebrasyon ng unang anibersaryo ng pagkatatag ng SAMAKAMI.

    Ang SAMAKAMI ay bago at bata pa ngunit sa isang maikling panahon naipakita nya na ang militanteng pakikibaka para sa karapatan at kagalingan ng mga migranteng kababaihan , ng migranteng Pilipino sa kalakhan at ng mamamayang Pilipino ang natatanging landas na magluluwal nang kanilang kalayaan mula sa buwitre ng imperyalismo at mapang-api at mapagsamantalang gobyerno ni Arroyo.

    Habang sinisikil ng gobyernong Arroyo ang mamamayan, nilugmok sila sa kahirapan, kawalan ng trabaho , bagsak na presyo ng kanilang lakas paggawa, kawalan ng lupain na matitinang para sa mga magsasaka, pinababayaan naman ng kanyang gobyerno ang mga dayuhang interes pagpyestahan ang yaman ng ating bansa, halos ipamigay ang ating mga lupain sa pamamagitan ng Mining Act ng 1995 , ang yaman na langis sa Malampaya na sa ngayon ay pagaari na ng Shell, Texaco at Chevron.

    Dahil sa kahirapan dulot ng ganitong kaayusan, napipilitan tayong lumisan mula sa ating inang bayan, iwanan ang ating mga anak at pamilya at mangibang bansa upang mag/migrante at makipagsapalaran upang mabuhay. Alam natin ang hinagpis ng isang ina, ng isang magulang , ng isang kabahagi ng puso mawalay sa kanyang minamahal. Alam natin ang hirap at hinagpis ng maging migrante sa isang di kilalang bansa.

    Kung maharap naman tayo sa problema sa di/kilalang bansa, walang serbisyo ibinibigay ang gobyernong Arroyo. Walang pag/aruga at pagkalinga na maasahan mula sa pamahalaan. Mistula tayong palaboy ng mundo! Inutil ang gobyernong ito! Bagkos ang inaatupag nila ay ang mangikil at manghuthot sa mga migranteng Pilipino tulad nga ng panibagong pagtataas ng presyo ng pasaporte at authentication nitong Enero 2009.

    Sa ganitong abang kalagayan ng mga migrante at mamamayang Pilipino, ipinamalas ng mga kababaihan ng SAMAKAMI ang kanilang katapangan sumanib sa mga kilos protesta laban sa pagtaas ng presyo ng pasaporte atb. Inexpose at tinulligsa ito bilang isang racket na naman ng gobyernong Arroyo manghuthot at mangurakot at patabain ang mga buwitre sa luob ng kanyang gobyerno.

    Sa kanilang ring pagsanib sa pangmasang pagkilos laban sa MC04 nitong nakaraang taon, naipamalas ng mga kababaihan ng SAMAKAMI ang tamang landas ng militanteng pagkilos, suwayin at ibasura ang mga executive orders ng pamahalaang Arroyo na malinaw na laban sa interes at kagalingan ng mga migranteng manggagawa. Hindi nagpabaya ang mga kababaihan ng SAMAKAMI tuligsain ang di makatarungang executive orders na kung walang pagtuligsa ay sadyang magdudulot ng malaking salanta sa mga migranteng Pilipino.

    Ang mga pagkilos ng SAMAKAMI ay matibay na pagpapakita ng determinasyon at paninindigan ng mga makabayan at demokratikong kababayang migrante na pukawin, organisahin at pakilusin ang pinakamarami sa kanilang hanay upang isulong hindi lamang ang karapatan at kagalingan ng mga migrante at kababaihan kundi maging ng sambayanan.

    Katulad sa mga sinundan nitong kilusan at pagkakaisa ng mga migranteng Pilipino sa Italya, nananalig kami na babagtasin ng SAMAKAMI ang landas ng pagtatanggol at pagpapalaya hindi lamang sa mga kababaihan bilang migrante, kundi at higit sa lahat ang masalimuot na landas ng pagsasakatuparan ng pambansang pagpapalaya at tunay na demokrasya sa ating mahal na inang bayang Pilipinas.

    Mabuhay ang SAMAKAMI!

    Mabuhay ang mga migranteng Pilipino!

    Ipagdiwang ang Pandaigdigang Araw ng mga Kababaihan!

    Kamtin ang pambansang kalayaan, demokrasya, katarungan, kapayapaan at kaunlaran!

    Sa ngalan ng MIGRANTE/Europe, ang inyong kabaro,

    Grace Punongbayan

    Exec. Director, MIGRANTE Europe

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