Photo: Dominique Botte
Every year, International Women’s Day is a key moment to highlight feminist struggles against patriarchal capitalism, which looks ceaselessly for new ways to oppress and exploit us. With the health crisis provoked by the Covid-19 pandemic, added to the economic crisis and the attacks by conservative governments on women’s rights, the international mobilization around March 8 has even more importance and urgency.
The pandemic has triggered a crisis in several dimensions of human life and has shown clearly, when public health measures of physical isolation have been imposed, that the jobs necessary for survival are the really essential ones. With physical distancing, women were confined to the domestic space of the home and were deprived of jobs that, although precarious, provided them with an income.
At the same time, the burden of care work done for the family increased considerably, along with violence and femicide, as a way of imposing this burden on women. The pandemic crisis has shown that the work of social reproduction is at the center of alternatives for managing this crises and finding solutions, but it also poses the risk of deepening and crystallizing the role of women in its realization.
As a counterpoint to this, women around the world have been creating and reinforcing networks of solidarity and reciprocity, of forms of protection and denunciation of this type of violence, and also of forms of resistance against hunger, poverty and deprivation of rights aggravated by the pandemic. The cultivation, production and distribution of food, the sharing of materiel to protect health, the replacement of face-to-face meetings with virtual ones, the creation of mechanisms of self-protection, among other initiatives, were carried out in local areas on the initiative of women.
In addition, the active struggles that women have continued during the pandemic have achieved important victories, such as the legalization of abortion this year in Colombia and previously in Argentina and in some Mexican states. Similarly, women, who make up a large part of “essential workers” (health workers, teachers, etc.), have not hesitated to engage in strikes to defend their working conditions.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has hit women particularly hard. Women and their children are the overwhelming majority of the more than a million refugees who have already fled the country. At the same time, young women, in particular, are taking an active part in the armed and unarmed defense of their country. Women also play a key role in mobilizing the diaspora communities and are prominent in the antiwar movement in Russia.
On this March 8, we must preserve the alternatives created during these years of deprivation, highlighting in this context the role that the women’s strike has played in giving visibility to the work of social reproduction.
We will occupy the streets, social networks, and all the spaces where our struggles can take place. We want to live, without machismo, without violence, with recognition of our work, and with equality! Long live International Women’s Day!
This motion was adopted by the International Committee of the Fourth International on March 5, 2022. It appeared on the Fourth International website here. We have revised the English translation for clarity.