Women on the front line everywhere!

The article by Penelope Duggan highlights the essential role of women's movements fighting for real change in society, including their involvement in resistance, protest, and demand for democracy, despite facing patriarchal oppression and repression.


Source >> International Viewpoint

In March 2023 women’s movements are playing a leading role in many countries around the world. This is neither new nor exceptional, but it should always be emphasized to show how women’s struggles are an integral part of the struggle to change, to revolutionize society, and that without women’s action society stops.

In the year-long war caused by the atrocious invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops under Putin, Ukrainian women are participating in resistance in all its forms. Women serve and fight in virtually all military formations in Ukraine and in the armed forces and national guard. Before the invasion the Ukrainian army was already relatively feminized and some 25% are women.

In the multitude of networks that organise daily life in the occupied and war-torn country women obviously play a leading role – in support of the armed forces, in humanitarian and medical aid, in caring for children. The resistance to the invasion could not continue without women.

At the same time, Russian feminists are one of the visible forces in the opposition to the war in Russia itself, despite the fierce repression. So are the women of the committees of mothers and families of soldiers.

The Iranian and Kurdish women, who rose up in protest against the death of Jina Mahsa Amini following her arrest by the morality police, were the spark that ignited a movement of protest and demand throughout the country. Not only about the right of women to dress and live their lives as they wish, but for democracy at all levels and in all of society, that is to say a real revolution. This movement continues despite a very high level of repression with arrests, imprisonment and executions.

In Turkey, feminist networks were among those who immediately organized to help the victims of the terrible earthquakes while the corrupt Erdogan government responsible for the extent of the disaster was slow to react.

In several European countries – France, Britain, Portugal, Spain, Denmark – major workers’ protest movements are underway or emerging, on issues of wages, pensions, working conditions. In all these movements, women are once again an essential force: through movements that affect mainly feminized sectors (education, health) and the actions of feminist movements that constantly underline how economic and social injustices weigh ever more heavily on women.

At the same time as women are fighting on the front line in all these circumstances, they continue to suffer from millennia of patriarchal oppression – in roles that are not recognized or relativized, the invisibilization of their demands, but also the use of sexual violence as a method of repression, for example by the Russian army in Ukraine or the Iranian police.

The great battle for the right of women to choose to have children when they want has seen important advances in the last year, as in Mexico, but also defeats, as in the United States. Fortunately this has led to some electoral response and legislation at the state level.

Women will continue to fight as they always have. Feminist and women’s movements will always be a central part of any movement that fights for real change in society because women have a real interest in changing capitalist and patriarchal class society. We are trying at the national level but also by building links with movements in other countries to contribute to the building of a strong, united and international movement that will carry women’s demands throughout the struggle to final victory.

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