Int'l Women's Day: Protests across the world as women press for progress

Kalerkantho Online   

8 March, 2018 14:29 PM

Int'l Women's Day: Protests across the world as women press for progress

South Korean women mark International Women’s Day. Photograph: YONHAP/EPA

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On the first day of the UN Decade for Women in 1975, the women of Iceland took the day off to demonstrate the importance of all their work, waged and unwaged, in the countryside and the city.

Almost all women who were physically able came out of their homes, offices and factories, and even female television presenters were replaced on the screen by men holding children. Some 90% of women took part, according to The Guardian report.

Selma James said, they called it a day off but we at the International Wages for Housework Campaign called it a strike, and took as our slogan their placard which said: “When women stop, everything stops” …

But how can you strike if you can’t risk being sacked or endangering those you care for? This has always been the dilemma, especially of the carer on whom vulnerable people depend. In countries such as Spain, where there is general recognition of the strike validity and even union backing, it’s easier for women to walk out for at least part of the day – hundreds of thousands are expected to do just that.

Where such support is not yet forthcoming, women can still publicise our situation and what we want changed in call-ins and letters to the press, returning from lunch even 10 minutes late, banging pots in the streets or at the window, as women in Spain did against the 2003 Iraq war.

New figures from the TUC published today show that women in the UK effectively work the first 67 days of the year for no pay, thanks to the gender pay gap.

When all workers, full and part-time, are included, the pay gap is 18.4%. But in education, it’s 26.5%, meaning it will be 7 April before the average female worker in the sector is earning the same as the average male worker.

Hundreds of South Koreans are staging a protest in support of the #MeToo movement on International Women’s Day, Associated Press reports.

Protesters, many wearing black and holding black signs reading #MeToo, gathered in central Seoul. They called for bringing alleged sexual offenders to justice, as well as action on other issues such as closing a gender pay gap.

Since a female prosecutor’s revelation in January of workplace mistreatment and sexual misconduct, South Korea’s #MeToo movement has gained major traction. The list of women who speak out is growing daily.

Several high-profile men have resigned from positions of power, including a governor who was a leading presidential contender before he was accused of repeatedly raping his secretary.

Here’s British PM Theresa May’s message for International Women’s Day in which she flags many of the prominent women now in positions of power in the UK, 100 years after some women won the right to vote.

May has also written for the Guardian today setting out details of the government’s new domestic violence bill, which will extend the definition to include financial abuse, and proposes electronically tagging those suspected of abuse.

8 March is also, of course, International Richard Herring Telling People On The Internet When International Men’s Day Is Day.

The comedian has for several years sought out commenters who – unable to access Google or other search engines – put out an online plea on International Women’s Day: “When’s International Men’s Day, then?”

The answer, as Herring cheerfully reminds them all on Twitter, is 19 November.

This year, to add extra warmth to his mission, Herring is raising money for Refuge, which supports women and girls who have experienced domestic violence. Here’s his fundraising page, should you want to spur him on.