International Women’s Day became an annual event at the suggestion of two socialist leaders, Clara Zetkin and Luise Zietz, during the International Socialist Women’s Conference in 1910.
Tag: Eleanor Crossey-Malone
International Women’s Day this year must be a massive protest, bringing together working-class people, activist groups and trade unions to win the right to choose. A united, cross-community and organised movement of women, workers and all the oppressed can not only challenge and repeal backward laws, but fight to transform society.
On 23rd November, the decriminalisation bill will have its second reading. We must mobilise to ensure that the government allots the bill time and allows it to progress to the next stage where it can become law. We must make it clear that a majority in Northern Ireland, across the community divide, support decriminalisation. The trade unions must also stand in solidarity and bring the collective power of workers to bear in this fight, and in the struggle for marriage equality.
On 9th August, the Argentinian senate rejected a bill to legalise abortion up to 14 weeks into pregnancy. That the vote took place was testament to the mounting pressure on politicians from a growing wave of women’s struggles against oppressive laws and social norms, in Argentina and around the world.
We have to maintain and increase the pressure on Westminster and our local politicians to guarantee real abortion access in Northern Ireland. This cannot wait for the sectarian parties to resolve their disagreements and catch up with ordinary people in the 21st century. We demand free, safe, legal abortion, here and now!
In Spain, “I Believe Her” became “Yo Te Creo”, with thousands protesting the acquittal of five men accused of gang-raping a young woman. Less than two months earlier, 5.1 million workers had spilled onto the streets of Spain to strike against sexism on International Women’s Day. In Latin America the Ni Una Menos movement has refused to tolerate endemic murders of and violence against women. Millions globally have used the #MeToo hashtag and have broken a collective silence, sharing their experiences of sexual assault and harassment.
During the trial in which Ulster and Ireland rugby players are accused of raping a young woman at a party, there has been fury at many of the comments made by the defence in court. When the young woman told the court she had consented to a kiss from Paddy Jackson but had not given consent to anything else, the defence barrister accused her of “teasing” Jackson, and asked her, “if you didn’t like him, why were you kissing him in his bedroom?”
Western powers stand opposed to the the Assad regime in Syria, but not for its crimes against the Syrian people: they have no fundamental objection to the brutal Saudi regime, for example. Assad is allied to their rivals Russia and Iran and represents a barrier to their domination of the region.