On the occasion of this year’s International Working Women’s Day, Gabriela Australia, an organisation of Filipino Women in Australia, remembers the women workers in Europe and the Americas who fought bravely against low wages and inhuman working conditions brought about by the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s. Their struggle has been the inspiration for the worldwide March 8 celebration.
Gabriela Australia’ joins the world in celebrating International Working Women’s Day and express our unequivocal support to the Filipino women’s fight for their emancipation as part of Filipino people’s struggle for democracy and national liberation.
Yes, there are many women’s achievements to celebrate on this date yet, we are also faced with challenges.
In the countries impoverished by imperialism and local reactionaries, women workers receive much lower wages, deprive of benefits and social services and no job security as neoliberal policies are implemented for capitalist to extract more profits. In a semi-feudal society like the Philippines, women are displaced from their lands and livelihood as peasants and agricultural workers.
The exploitative labor export policy (LEP) in the Philippines and other third world countries is an instrument of the imperialist transportability of labor that benefits only the monopoly capitalist. This policy subjects women migrant workers not only to poor labor practices but to different types of abuses and exploitation such as physical and sexual abuse in their host countries. In many circumstances, women fall victims to human trafficking or forced to prostitution because of lack of job opportunities at home.
With the current global economic crisis, women and the rest of the people are subject to more exploitation and abuse as imperialist countries try to save its declining control on economy. Across the continents, mass uprisings and struggles for national liberation and democracy are toppling dictators and opposing the intervention and aggression of the US and other imperialist powers. Women are rising up in great numbers with men and taking a big role in all the mass struggles in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Women in these countries have found their voices and raise their strength to fight for their rights, welfare, and emancipation.
In the developed countries, women’s hard won benefits such as health benefits, overtime pay, maternity entitlement and other benefits are under assault by corporate monopolies. The organized, courageous, and militant action of Victorian Nurses and Social and Community Services in Australia draw an inspiration to all working women in facing challenges. The women’s movement is continuously challenged to maintain vigilance and engage in militant work against the imperialist powers and all their minions.
This day is an occasion to renew and continue the struggle for women’s rights and welfare. We condemn the ongoing difficulties that women face in their efforts to assert their rights to equality and justice. All over the world, women are involved in different forms of struggle as they carry their fight to the picket lines and trade unions, street demonstrations, parliaments and urban centers and engage in people’s war for liberation.