Each year, International Women’s Day is an important moment in giving visibility to feminist struggles against patriarchal capitalism, in its attempt to engender new ways to oppress and exploit us. With the health crisis provoked by the pandemic of COVID-19, added to the economic crisis and the attacks of conservative governments against women’s rights, international mobilization on 8 March gains even more importance and urgency
The pandemic has unleashed a crisis in various dimensions of human life, and, when measures of physical isolation have been brought in to protect health, has shown that the jobs necessary for survival are the really essential ones. Many women were confined to the domestic space of the home and were deprived of jobs that, although precarious, brought them monetary income.
The burden of care work done for the family increased considerably, and came hand in hand with an increase in cases of violence and feminicide, as a way of imposing the burden of this on women. The pandemic crisis has therefore shown that social reproduction work is at the centre of the alternatives for managing such crises and finding solutions, but it also poses the risk of deepening and crystallizing women’s role in carrying it out.
As a counterpoint to this, women around the world have been forging and strengthening networks of solidarity and reciprocity, creating forms of protection and denunciation against this type of violence, and also building forms of resistance against hunger, poverty and worsening loss of rights during the pandemic. The cultivation, production and distribution of food, and the exchange of food and health protection materials, the replacement of face-to-face meetings with virtual ones, the creation of self-protection mechanisms, among other initiatives, were carried out in local areas under the leadership of women.
In addition, the active struggles that women have continued during the pandemic have achieved important victories, such as the legalization of abortion this year in Colombia and previously in Argentina and in some Mexican states and women as essential workers (health workers, teachers, etc.) who have not hesitated to engage in strikes to defend their working conditions.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has hit women particularly hard. Women and their children are the overwhelming majority of the more than a million who have already fled the country as refugees. At the same time, younger women in particular are taking an active part in the armed and unarmed defence of their country. Women are also playing a key role in mobilising diaspora communities elsewhere and are prominent in the anti-war movement in Russia.
On this 8 March, we must rescue the alternatives created during these years of deprivation, highlighting the role that the women’s strike has played in giving visibility to social reproduction work in this context.
We will occupy the streets, the internet networks and all the areas where our struggles can take space. We want to live, without machismo, without violence, with recognition of our work and with equality! Long live International Women’s Day!
Motion adopted by the International Commitee of the Fourth International.
5 March 2022
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