International Women's Day

A Day to Highlight Women's Fight Against Oppression

International Women's Day (IWD) is on 8th March and is an inherently political event that started in 1910 when Clara Zetkin proposed that it be celebrated every year around the world at the Second International Conference of Socialist Women.

This action was inspired by national women's days in the States during the women's suffrage and trade union movement that had been organised by socialist women including the Irish American Elizabeth Gurley Flynn. The types of actions and demands on IWD have varied over the years, including a massive strike action that fuelled the Russian revolution in February 1917.

There has been an institutionalization of the IWD, such as United Nations and many governments' recognition of the day yet IWD has avoided being commodified and many grassroots actions still take place. There still is a need for the day and for the issues that an international day like this pushes forward. There are issues of care work not being paid or underpaid. There are issues with single mothers and getting back to work, with immigrant workers and the abuses they face by being bound to their employer and working in isolated and often abusive situations.

Often international women's day is seen as a chance to highlight women's oppression around the world, while avoiding our own communities. In Ireland migrant workers, care work and exploitation of flexible work are compounded with Irish women not having the basic rights over their bodies and sexuality. With abortion still illegal in Ireland there are many fights to be had here at home.

This year in Dublin there were events ranging from anarchist society talks and films in colleges to Amnesty international and Global Women's strike. The range of issues being tackled are abortion, violence, poverty, war and living wage. This is on top of on going struggles in the libertarian community on issues of gender, sexual assault, FGM and anti-racism.

by Tobie

Further reading

Womens Liberation

Modern anarchist writings by women

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This edition is No85 published in March 2005

Workers Solidarity 85