Everywhere, “honour crimes”, sexual harassment and rape have as their main target women. Half of assassinated women in the world are by a relative. The mafia decay (as in Mexico) and reactionary wars (as in Syria, in Iraq, in Sudan, in Afghanistan …) affect them particularly. Victims of forced prostitution are at 80% women (between 400 000 and 1.6 million girls and women every year).
Girls are married against their will or suffer sexual mutilations (between 100 and 140 million women in the world have been victims of excision or infibulation).
The systematic attack against public services waged by all governments since the world capitalist crises of 1973 and 2009 hit them directly. The rise of clericalism in all its forms (Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist…) reinforces oppression. Some countries undergo regressions: Erdoğan discourages contraception and abortion in Turkey, Trump disadvantages abortion in the whole world, Putin decriminalises violence of husbands in Russia…
Women have always been a component of wage work, despite the hostility of all clergies. In advanced countries, they represent more than half of wage workers. But their distribution remains unequal among branches and trades. They remain more badly paid than men and are particularly victims of precariousness, part time and unemployment. They bear most of domestic tasks within their family.
Just as the struggle against national oppression cannot be left to bourgeois and petty bourgeois nationalisms, the struggle against gender oppression cannot be left to bourgeois and petty bourgeois feminism, which either opposes in a reactionary way women to men, or contents itself with demanding more positions as political leaders or managers of capitalist enterprises. Thus, the #metoo campaign had as point of departure the legitimate denunciation of rapes of actresses by a film producer. Some use it to revive a conservative morals that assimilates any sexual proposal outside marriage to violence. The other diversion consists in presenting a handful of capitalists who abuse their wealth and their power as representative of all men.
The 8th of March results from a call by the Workers’ International (1889-1914) and in particular from the activity of Clara Zetkin, Marxist, revolutionary, internationalist. The Russian Revolution (1917) gave women the right to vote, legalised abortion, ensured the education of girls, facilitated the extension of the right to vote elsewhere (in Great Britain, in Germany …). The Spanish revolution (1936) made more for the emancipation of women than all republican parties earlier. Conversely, counter-revolutions (fascism in Italy, Stalinism in the USSR, Nazism in Germany, theocracy in Iran…) have meant the humiliation of women and a leap backwards.
Today, everywhere, working women rise up: they are at the forefront of struggles against the oppression of which they are victims (as the Iranian, Polish, American… demonstrators), they take part in the struggle against national oppression and xenophobia (as the Kurdish fighters, the migrant activists, those who support migrants…) and in the struggle against exploitation (as the rank and file trade union activists in Bangladesh and in all countries).
Capitalism is unable to ensure real equality between the sexes because the bourgeoisie uses patriarchy to divide the oppressed and benefit indirectly from the free domestic labour of women.
The struggle for the emancipation of women must be the concern of the labour movement. Trade union organisations and parties arising from workers have the responsibility to fight machismo in their midst and in society and to take the lead of the struggle of women for their emancipation. Only the construction of world socialism will allow to definitively extirpate machismo.
Total equality in law between men and women! Separation between religions and the State! Secular and mixed education!
Equality of wage! Massive creation of free and quality structures for the care and education of toddlers!
Free contraception on demand! Right to free abortion, including for minors!