Messages for IWD2012
8 March 2012
Women workers around the world are celebrating International Women's Day on 8 March 2012. Here are some of the statements they have issued, many of which will be profiled at the TUC's International Women's Day event on Women and austerity: impact and resistance.
The messages come from:
Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions - Women's Committee
The Federation of Trade Unions in Burma women's committee
Canadian Labour Congress
NEHAWU - South African health union
The main issues facing women in Palestine are health and safety (with a strong focus on pregnant women and the agricultural sector), childcare and especially the particular needs of working women in the childcare sector (who earn the lowest wage at around £100 a month), the gender pay gap (which is related to the strong gender segregation of the labour market), and the absence of women in decision making structures.
On this last point the First PGFTU Women's Conference established a 20% quota (female labour market participation is estimated at 15% in Palestine). Women complain that the quota is not respected in certain sectors. At the confederation level, the quota is well respected including in the national executive commission. They want to increase the quota to 25% but even in the last congress in December 2011 the quota was 20%.
There is also the problem of the laws which are not enforced and the clearly insufficient number of labour inspectors.
And you can add of course the problem of the occupation and settlements. Occupation with its checkpoints restrict the movement of Palestinian women. Settlements and the wall are built on agricultural lands which affect the production of the women in rural areas and who depend totally on agriculture as an income.
Also, there is a big percentage of Palestinian women working in the private sector, and there the laws are not respected (like maternity leave), the contracts are temporary. And that is why if PGFTU succeeds in putting pressure on the government to sign the laws on social protection and minimum wages, women's working situation in the private sector will improve.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions joins the working women of the United Kingdom in commemorating International Women's Day as we cement our friendship through collaboration and sharing of information.
The working women in Zimbabwe are commemorating the event under the theme, 'Girl Child Emancipation a Priority: Decisions for Life and Equality a must'. The ZCTU is advocating for equality, respect of women's rights, protection and empowerment of the girl child and ability of young women to freely make critical decisions for their lives. This theme is in line with the United Nations focus this year under the International theme, 'Connecting Girls: Inspiring Futures'.
The ZCTU Women's Advisory Council this year demands among other things: -
We will always cherish and value the support and solidarity from the TUC. As ZCTU, we pledge total support for the working women in the UK, as they demand ratification of the convention on the elimination of violence against women. It is our desire that our two organisations organise programmes to cement and let our twinning relationship grow. We wish the working women in the United Kingdom a successful and fruitful commemoration of International Women's Day 2012.
Forward with the demands of the working women in the UK!!!
International Women's Day has been celebrated yearly in every part of the world, in recognition that women's rights are human rights, for the sake of women's rights and bolstering up the women's struggle for gaining and securing the victories and in honor of all these endeavors,
Discrimination, suppression, violation against women in many countries up to these days, in many countries women are still fighting for their own rights. To those women of the world who are fighting hard for their respective rights in every part and corner of the world, we, the women's committee of the Federation of the Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB) honors and welcomes.
So also, in Burma, for the sake of the benefit of the country and for full attainment of the complete rights of women, there are many heroic women fighting for the cause of the country and for the mass of the family and women. Including Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, for those many women who are actively and boldly participating in Burmese polities, their courageous demand for the difficulties of the people of Burma and for those who are still in the prisons. It is also solemnly seen in every life of Burmese country, women are actively fighting for the cause of workers and social affairs in Burmese society.
Within the last few days all had seen the courage of the unfairly treated women laborers in TaiYi footwear factory in Hlaingtharyar Industrial zone, Rangoon. It is also heard that the founding of TaiYi footwear fundamental (basic) workers' union had been successfully established of which the majority of the executive committee are women.
The TaiYi Factory's workers unity and the result of its portrayal of boldness and unanimity, we, all workers who are now trying to assemble all energies with the aim of forming independent workers' union of the country in pursuance of the rights of democracy, reunification of nationalities, human rights, labour rights in consonance with that of norms of international standard. We, women's committee of FTUB, whole heartedly support as well as assist and co-operatively join in the course of fighting for workers rights on this auspicious date of women's day, we issue our declaration in compliance with your endeavor.
International Women's Day is a time to celebrate the progress women have made, and a time to take action to break down the obstacles to women's equality.
Women in Canada now make up half of the workforce. But equal numbers do not necessarily mean equality at the workplace. Women work hard, but take home less pay, and are more likely to work in part-time and precarious jobs with fewer benefits and little or no workplace pensions. And women still take on the lion's share of caregiving and household responsibilities.
Women are under tremendous pressure to balance work and family life, whether it is caring for children, looking after ageing, disabled or sick relatives, or contributing to their community. Yet the Harper government has failed to take concrete steps to relieve the pressure on working women and their families.
On this International Women's Day, the Canadian Labour Congress calls on the Federal government to do more to help women achieve economic, social and political equality in this country by investing in child care, establishing a national housing strategy, improving the Canada Pension Plan, taking meaningful action to end violence against women and address the national tragedy of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls.
On this International Women's Day, Canada's labour movement will continue to break down the barriers to women's equality in the workplace and in society. We will fight for fair contracts for our members and for better labour standards for all workers. We will push for provisions that help women balance work and family life, like flexible work schedules, job-sharing, and family emergency leave. We will stand against austerity measures and cuts to public services, an important source of good jobs for women. We will take on corporate greed and advocate a clear vision for a Canada that works for everyone.
As the refrain goes, 'Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes; Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses!'
NEHAWU wishes women from all corners of the world a wonderful International Women's day today, 8 March 2012. This day comes at a very perilous and disturbing time in our country when women abuse, patriarchal and misogynistic attitudes are on the rise. Deplorable incidents of women abuse are a daily occurrence and affect everyone across all social classes.
Women are the ones who are greatly affected by such misfortunes like wars, economic upheavals, unemployment and poverty. We cannot afford to be complacent in the struggle for social and economic emancipation of women because the future of the world depends on it.
Women are still waging relentless battles against patriarchal and sexist attitudes around the world and there are still oppressive regimes that treat women like second class citizens. Our union pays tribute to the millions of women who are battling the odds in the war torn countries around the world from Palestine, Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. We remember the suffering of the oppressed women of Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Iran, Saudi Arabia and everywhere.
We are encouraged by the women who have resisted state authoritarianism during the Arab spring in North Africa and Middle East, defied the Taliban in Afghanistan, fought cuts in social expenses in Greece and participated in the Occupy Movement to highlight capitalist exploitation in America.
We are inspired by the bravery of Asma Mahfouz, a young Egyptian woman who openly and without fear called for an uprising in Egypt. She is a fearless heroine who inspired Egyptians to take to the streets in defiance of a brutal and autocratic regime. The young generation should take heed and learn from such veterans like the militant Leila Khaled of Palestine, the resolute Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma and millions of others around the world
This day also gives us an opportunity to salute our struggle heroines who stood up against injustice and oppression.
NEHAWU call on everyone to fight the evil scourge of human trafficking, sexual abuse and domestic violence and all other forms of women abuse. We all have to collectively raise our voice in condemnation of all those who exploit women in their workplaces and intensify the struggle for 'equal pay for equal work'. Let us continue the wonderful work done by our late heroines who led the struggle against social and commercial exploitation.
NEHAWU re-affirms its commitment to fight for the full emancipation of women and urges governments around the world to respect International Labour Laws and ensure women have their full human and labour rights.
Briefing document (2,200 words) issued 8 Mar 2012
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/international/tuc-20736-f0.cfm
printed 19 May 2013 at 09:35 hrs by 126.96.36.199