International Women’s Day, tomorrow

This video from the USA says about itself:

International Women’s Day, March 8, 2003 – 11 days before bombs dropped in Iraq – Kirsten Michel, Amy Goodman, Alice Walker, Medea Benjamin, Susan Griffin, Maxine Hong Kingston, Rachael Bagby, and more Unreasonable Women for the Earth and Code Pink for Peace were arrested for singing on the sidewalk in front of the White House.

By Haidee-Laure Giles in Britain:

The fight for equal rights continues

Thursday 07 March 2013

Women in Britain are teaming up this week with their sisters from some of the world’s poorest countries to step up the battle for equality.

Meetings in London tonight and in Newcastle tomorrow will see women sharing their experiences of struggle around the world to mark International Women’s Day (IWD).

March 8 became an international women’s event after 1977, when the UN general assembly invited member states to proclaim a day for women’s rights.

But the first national Women’s Day was observed in the United States in 1909 following a declaration by the Socialist Party of America. The next year at a women’s conference that preceded the general meeting of the socialist Second International, two German women – socialist Luise Zietz and communist Clara Zetkin – proposed that the day should be an annual international festival.

Seven months later IWD was marked for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland by over a million people demanding equal rights – including suffrage – for women. It was first observed in Russia in 1913 on the last Sunday in February and the demonstrations to mark it in 1917 initiated the Russian revolution.

Almost a century later women across the world are still fighting for the revolution that will bring them fair treatment.

Women do two-thirds of the world’s work but receive one-tenth of the world’s income and own less than 1 per cent of the world’s property.

Millions of women lack equal wages to men for the same work. They hold just 13 per cent of the world’s parliamentary seats. Even in Britain just one in five MPs are women.

The disparity is set to continue into future generations with girls accounting for seven in 10 children not in education.

So on the eve of IWD 2013 we’ll hear from three inspirational campaigners for women’s rights on their role in this struggle.

Dona Dije is a founding member of War on Want’s Brazilian partner the Movement of Women Babacu Nut Breakers. Like 350,000 women of African or indigenous heritage in north-east Brazil she earns a living from harvesting babacu nuts.

But the destruction of the babacu palm forests to make way for large-scale commercial agriculture, cattle-ranching, mining and more recently biofuels threatens their livelihoods.

In response thousands of women have mobilised themselves to improve their working and living conditions and challenge society’s perception of their worth.

Alongside her Alfamir Castillo will be speaking. The president of Colombia’s Women Sugarcane Cutters Committee, Castillo led the mobilisation of the wives, sisters, mothers and daughters of sugarcane-cutters in a historic two-month strike in protest at “slave-like” working conditions in south-west Colombia.

The women played a vital role, organising solidarity for the strike as well as confronting police.

Castillo has also suffered terribly from the Colombian civil war.

Her 15-year-old son was murdered by the Colombian army and the resulting court case against the soldiers responsible has led to kidnap attempts, gun attacks and constant threats and harassment for her family.

Honduran journalist and human rights activist Dina Meza reports on women’s rights for the Defensores en Linea website and is a member of the Committee of the Families of the Detained and Disappeared. Since last year her coverage of land conflicts in the fertile northern Bajo Aguan region of Honduras has seen her become the target of threats and intimidation. She also won Amnesty International’s Special Award for Human Rights Journalism Under Threat in 2007.

Dije and Castillo will head up to Newcastle tomorrow to join Palestinian activist-poet Rafeef Zadiah and Unsion regional convener Clare Williams, who chairs the northern TUC women’s group, for an evening of discussion, poetry and live music.

Women environmentalists: here.

12 thoughts on “International Women’s Day, tomorrow

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