Statement of the Secretariat of the INITIATIVE on the "International Women's Day"

  • 3/7/14 9:40 PM

The emancipation of women cannot be achieved without a firm struggle against capitalism and imperialism.

March 8 is the international day to honour women in all countries who strive to achieve full equality.

Yet the capitalist system still discriminates against women by paying lower salaries, imposing longer working hours and unsecured jobs. Women workers, both blue collar and white collar, face the threat of dismissal when they decide to be mothers. Domestic work, which is so critical for the reproduction of the labour, is seen as the natural responsibility of women and is not regarded as a valuable economic activity. Capitalism as a system rests on gender inequalities and thus discrimination against women is a structural component of capitalist exploitation.

In countries where the working classes and the poor strata bear the burden of the capitalist crisis, women suffer from poverty and the consequences of the anti-labour austerity measures. Nowadays women have to struggle even more in order to access basic services such as education and health, which have been subordinated to the market rules. In countries targeted by imperialist aggression, women experience all forms of violence. They face deportation and are forced to survive as refugees. In almost all countries today, even those boasting about the level of their political development, women’s political participation is restricted by formal or informal impediments or obstacles. In the meantime, we are witnessing a rise in sectarianism and reactionary politics. In particular, the rising influence of religion, which is a global phenomenon, threatens the rights of women. The attempts to ban abortion, which recently occurred in Turkey and Spain, exemplify how the rights of women to take decisions about their own lives can be violated by the authorities under the influence of sectarian and religious taboos. 

In today’s world, capitalism does not provide any prospect of a better life for humanity. The capitalist class abandoned even the false premises it used to disseminate. This means that capitalism will further rest on ruthless exploitation and cruel wars, which will cause dramatic changes in women’s life conditions.

It has been proved once again by recent developments that the injustice against women cannot be abolished under capitalism. A system based on private property is the main reason for women’s second-class position. In the capitalist system, independent from the level of development, women cannot become partners of a free and equal society. Therefore, it is demonstrably clear that women’s emancipation cannot be achieved without a struggle for socialism. All other options which aim at reforming capitalism to improve the conditions of women will not be able to end the second class status of women which is a structural result of capitalist inequality. 

We celebrate International Women’s Day for all women. Once again we reiterate our belief in the possibility and the necessity of a better and equal world. This can be achieved only by the participation of women themselves in the joint struggle for gender equality against capitalism and imperialism.

Therefore, we salute the working class women, who ignited this struggle almost a century ago and revolutionary women figures, such as Clara Zetkin and Rosa Luxemburg, who continue to inspire our struggle against injustice today.