|International Women's Day 2011|
On the 8 March 2011, the Movement of Christian Workers invites every woman with or without a job, migrant, volunteer, workers in the informal economy or in the invisible economy, agricultural etc; to celebrate this international day that recognise the unique contribution of women.
On our planet earth, women make up half of humanity. They are indispensable to the happiness of the larger human family, in areas such as on the cultural, social, spiritual, economic or political level.
For more than a hundred years, this day highlights the resilience and struggles of women against all forms of injustice, exploitation and violence. Indeed the 8 March recalls the historic struggle of women workers in the USA They went on strike to obtain just working conditions. One hundred and twenty nine of them perished in a fire at their factory provoked by the authorities.
Why celebrate the international women’s day?
- The struggle continues not only for better working conditions but also for other areas of life and survival, in this period of natural disasters (drought, earthquakes, floods) and disasters provoked by (civil war, petrol wars, political dictatorships etc) which deprives people from the freedom of speech, torture, imprisonment, rapes which lead to massive migration. Women are less and less afraid and can count on solidarity of other women from all continents to support their demands, like that shown by the 3rd World March of women that ended in Quebec in October 2010.
- Some women rise up and come together to affirm themselves to defend their rights: in Afghanistan, some young women go to school despite the threats against them.
- They know that customs, culture, traditions, politics and religion often serve to justify that nothing should change and maintain oppression: condemned to death by stoning, Iran, Nigeria.
- More and more women organise in the solidarity economy: „Tontines? (savings groups in certain African countries), micro-credit in Bangladesh, creation of worker cooperatives, agricultural production, transformation of raw materials, associations of the saleswomen, associations of fisher women, organization of literacy classes, and professional training.
- Some women workers struggle for equal pay: which has been obtained in the public sector in Quebec.
- They denounce violence against which is also directed towards children: rapes in Haiti, the treatment of young girls in all continents. Women never want to have children so that they can become soldiers, domestic slaves or work on the plantations. In Vancouver former sex workers help these women to rediscover their dignity. Women demand the right to vote in spite of the threats against them: Referendum in Sudan, Kenya, elections in Haiti: a woman topping the list after the first round of the Presidential elections.
- Many women are engaged in trades unions (free trade zones, in Honduras and Nicaragua, a trades union of women workers in crèches in Quebec) in political parties and occupy important positions and responsibilities, in Brazil a women from the workers party was elected as the President of her country.
- They do not fear threats of imprisonment or torture in their defence of democracy: Myanmar an ex presidential candidate, under house arrest, has been freed and continues her engagement. In China a women is struggling for the liberation of her partner a Nobel Prize for peace winner.
- Women in Europe, Asia are engaged in associations for the defence of undocumented workers and migrants to help with their integration (literacy training, services to families).
It is not a war of the sexes or gender
In their daily struggles and action, women act in solidarity together and target real causes. It is not a war of the sexes or gender but a struggle against individualism, exploitation the control of wealth by a small elite, a political and economic system that ignores the common good, and ridicules and degrades human Women recognise that their partner, father, brother, friends religious leaders are also active members of the human family and are called like women to build up favourable conditions for a partnership where equality will be the norm, where the dignity of each person is sacred, and the recognition of the human rights and the gifts of each one will be impossible to circumvent.
It is a long-term daily combat, and it is with a great courage that women fight to remove the traditions that oppress them, to change mentalities, to ensure that their place and their role in society is recognised.
A few thousand years ago the authors of the Bible transmitted their intuition about their view of human beings. Without dismissing scientific research, this thought remains clear for believers of the great religions on all the continents. “God created human beings in his own likeness; he created them woman and man … he blesses them and says to them: … populate all the earth and dominate to it” Gen 1,27-28. They are different but equal in rights and of responsibility.
These projections are important, the road is long but not without end. It is necessary to create openings with all those who are afraid as with the men who wish a partnership. Women and men share the same humanity, the same anxieties and hopes. It is necessary to be in solidarity, side by side, neither behind nor in front for humanizing daily life.
The General Secretariat of the WMCW