“Our Proposal Is to Hold an International Conference of Working Women”:
MARCH 8, 2021 — Call Issued by Christel Keiser (France) and Rubina Jamil (Pakistan)
All around the world, women are mobilising more and more in the fight for true equal rights between women and men.
Subjected to double oppression and double exploitation in every domain, as working women but also as mothers and as women, women are standing up against all forms of oppression, discrimination and violence, and against patriarchal domination.
We, engaged as we are in those struggles and mobilisations in our respective countries, know that the particular demands of women are part of the more general struggle of the working class for its emancipation.
However, and this is not contradictory, women have specific demands: equal pay, professional equality, legal equality, the setting up of structures for childcare, the right of women to self-determination, the right to choose regarding reproductive rights, and an end to the harassment and acts of violence they are subjected to as women.
This is why we propose that an international meeting be held before the workers’ conference called by the IWC*, involving working women engaged in the struggle to defend their existing rights, to win new rights and to win back the rights that have been lost.
In 1910, the Second International Conference of Socialist Women, held in Copenhagen, decided to organise the first annual International Women’s Dayon 19 March 1911, to commemorate the Revolutions of 1848 and the Paris Commune. And on 8 March 1917, Russian women marked International Women’s Day by demonstrating in St. Petersburg to demand bread, peace and freedom. From 1920 onwards, International Women’s Day has been celebrated on 8 March.
We propose that on the occasion of the initiatives taken in each country to celebrate on 8 March 2021 (public meetings, demonstrations, rallies, etc.), the proposal to hold an international meeting of working women be put to the participants and discussed, and that delegations of working women begin to be formed and mandated to attend it.
signed / Rubina Jamil, General Secretary of the All-Pakistan Trade Union Federation (APTUF), Pakistan; and Christel Keiser, National Secretary of the Democratic Independent Workers Party (POID), France
* The International Workers Committee Against War and Exploitation, For the Workers’ International (IWC), was formed at the end of November 2016 in Mumbai, India, at an international conference bringing together 350 delegates, workers, trade union and political activists from some 40 countries. Website: coi-iwc.org
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This year again, in France, March 8 will undoubtedly be celebrated with long-winded speeches on the theme of equal rights between women and men. The fight for gender equality is always on the agenda —and it is not enough to salute it once a year to settle the issue. To achieve equal rights between the sexes, it is necessary to win demands that are specific to women, starting with equal pay and legal equality, the right to abortion, maternity rights, and an end to violence and harassment.
These demands have become particularly acute since the health crisis linked to Covid-19, during which women were on the front line because of the jobs they held (in hospitals, supermarkets, housework, home care, etc.). They were also on the front lines faced with the difficulties of “school at home” during the periods of confinement.
But, just like men, women suffer capitalist exploitation. The main obstacle to the emancipation of working women is the capitalist system, the root of oppression and exploitation. Women’s demands are therefore specific and, at the same time, they are part of the overall struggle of the working class to end this system of exploitation.
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For years, our trade union federation, the All-Pakistan Trade Unions Federation, has been celebrating the 8th of March by organizing meetings. The international appeal, which we are launching with my comrade Christel, from France, will give even more importance to our March 2021 gathering.
For us, this is not the fight of one day a year, but the fight of every day. In my country, women are the first victims of capitalist exploitation, but also of patriarchy, and are subjected to the most terrible violence. The place of women in the trade union movement is problematic. It happens – sometimes – that other federations talk about the situation of women. But they stay there. Our federation — which I preside — is proud to give one in the life of the organization.
In fact, we have an organization that is specifically dedicated to this task. With my comrade Ilyas, we are used to say that this tradition is a characteristic of our federation: in our country, women walk beside men and not behind them.
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INITIAL LIST OF ENDORSERS OF APPEAL ISSUED BY CHRISTEL KEISER (FRANCE) and RUBINA JAMIL (PAKISTAN)
Hasina Ghafar, Left Radical of Afghanistan (LRA)
N.G, UGTA Sonelgaz, trade unionist; M.A, UGTA Sonelgaz trade unionist; H.H, UGTA trade unionist, civil servant; H.B, UGTA trade unionist, IT; Ch. L., student; M.B student; A.H social worker; Ch.D retired; Nadia Sabry journalist; A.B, teacher
(Due to the repression, we are only publishing initials for some of the endorsers.)
Fatimata Motloatse, Gender Activist and Chairperson of Black Women Caucus; Busisiwe Seabe, Gender Activist, « Fees Must Fall»; Charlotte Tshabalala, Gender Activist and former EFF MP.
Shirin Akhter, Teacher, Teachers’ Association; Nadira Sultana Helen, women affairs secretary, SAARC Humanity Foundation; Salma Akhtar Shilpi, general secretary Dhaka district Democratic Workers Party; Rahana Rupa, Working women Association; Razia Khandakar, women’s editing, Bangladesh Jatiyo Sramik Federation (BJSF).
Muriel Di Martinelli, CGSP-ACOD ALR-LRB Brussels federal secretary; Marie Verselle, student; Camille Pieron, trade unionist, teacher; Laëtitia Coucke, student, Belgian delegate to the Mumbai Conference; Amal Kadiri, CGSP member, teacher and worker; Anne Vanesse; Pauline Joly, student; Nathalie Colson, CGSP-Vivaqua delegate.
Omonyémi Yvonne Okpeicha (married name, Gbaguidi), teacher, trade unionist; Liliane Gnonlonfoun, trade union officer healthcare sector; Bake Gnire Sero, trade union officer healthcare sector.
Sarah Woolley, General Secretary BFAWU; Jane Doolan, UNISON NEC, Secretary Islington UNISON; Cllr Jane Gebbie, Bridgend, UNISON; Cllr Mouna Hamitouche, Islington; Fiona Monkman, chair, Islington UNISON; Margaret Kristin Taylor, Treasurer Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Trades Council; Doreen McNally Liverpool Unite Community Branch; Sophie Dodd, Liverpool-Wavertree CLP member; Sussan Rassoulie Khataie, Islington UNISON Branch Committee member ; Ann Green British Pensioner Magazine ; (all pers. Cap.)
Thaís Souza, Black Women’s Network, state of Paraná; Alessandra Cláudia de Oliveira, Curitiba municipal employee, former trade union officer SISMUC; Ângela Maria de Castro, teacher, Curitiba; Carmem Regina Ribeiro, sociologist; Clair da Flora Martins, labour lawyer; Juliana Mildemberg, teacher, former trade union officer SISMUC; Marina de Godoy, primary school teacher Curitiba; Soraya Cristina Zgoda, Curitiba municipal employee, former trade union officer SISMUC; Mônica Giovannetti, member of the Jornal Resistir editorial board; Valéria Villalba, student; Amaraji Ubiracira Pires da Conceição, teacher, Rio grande do Sul, Núcleo sindical 39; Vera Lucia Moreira Garcia, financial advisor, union of municipal employees, Pelotas (Rio Grande do Sul); Neide da Cunha Pinto, teacher, member of ATEMPA trade union; Maria Torii, school staff, member of the trade union CPERS.
Aline Havyarimana, shopkeeper, PTD (Workers and Democracy party) member; Liliane Kayuku, bank employee, PTD member; Alice Irambona, teacher, OK trade unionist; Alice Nininahazwe, accountant employee, private sector, trade unionist.
Rachel Tremblay, Agent Customers Representative, Transportation sector, Ottawa;
Christelle Buzubona, teacher, Windsor, Ontario.
China (Hong Kong)
Yuk Yuk, Worker Empowerment.
Camille Adoue, Student (Hauts-de-Seine) ; Lilla Ahmed, Secondary school technical staff member, trade unionist, (Seine-Saint- Denis) ; Nadia Amara, secretary of the CGT branch of CROUS Clermont-Ferrand (Puy-de-Dôme); Marie-Christine Aribart, CGT trade unionist Monoprix (Ille-et-Vilaine) ; Céline Augès, member of APF, France handicap Association, trade unionist (Hauts-de- Seine) ; Houria Bailiche, employee adviser (Seine-Saint-Denis) ; Maïa Bahloul, student (Hauts-de-Seine) ; Brigitte Baudran, militant for the defence of unsupported minors (Loire-Atlantique) ; Malika Benslimane, ATSEM, [public nursery school support staff] trade unionist (Paris) ; Jacqueline Berrut, trade unionist social worker (Vendée) ; Béatrice Bique, ATSEM, trade unionist (Paris); Claire Bletterie, teacher, FO trade unionist (Bouches-du-Rhône) ; Cllr Caroline Boucaux, mother, teacher, senior councillor Néron (Eure-et-Loir) ; Nathalie Callanquin, trade unionist social worker (Puy-de-Dôme) ; Cllr Aude Canale, Communist Party Cou- lommiers (Seine-et-Marne) ;Cllr Sandrine Chaigneau, mother, senior councilor in charge of education, Amilly (Eure-et-Loir) ; Brigit Cerveaux, retired teacher, trade unionist (Val-de-Marne) ; Cllr Victoria Chakarian-Bavage, Méry-sur-Seine (Yvelines) ; Cllr Françoise Cottin, Fontenay-Trésigny (Seine-et-Marne); Géraldine Delaye, FSU trade unionist (Bas-Rhin) ; Cllr Stéphanie Desclot, Terraube (Gers) ; Manon Dorat, student (Essonne) ; Martine Dupuy, POID [Independent Democratic Workers’ Party] (Bouches-du-Rhône) ; Lydie Fentzel, CGT trade unionist (Bouches-du-Rhône) ; Irène Galitzine, ceramist (Seine-Saint-Denis) ; Helen Grasso, teacher, trade unionist (Isère) ;Pauline Guinard, professor-researcher (Paris) ; Lucette Hohmann, general secretary CGT trades council Haguenau (Bas-Rhin) ; Sylvie Hamitouche, trade unionist (Seine- Saint-Denis); Gabrielle Houssin, Student (Seine-Saint-Denis) ; Angélique Huet, trade unionist Dreux hospital (Eure-et-Loir); Béatrice Jaffrenou, FO trade unionist, pae- diatric assistant nurse Dreux hospital (Eure- et-Loir) ; Céline Jastrzebski, trade unionist URSSAF [social security] (Côtes-d’Armor) ; Gabrielle Joseph, teacher, FO trade unionist (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence) ; Christel Keiser, national secretary of the POID (Seine-Saint-Denis) ; Glareh Khadjé-Nouri, CGT trade unionist at the FNAC (Paris) ; Vanessa Lanteri, teacher, trade unionist, POID (Val-de-Marne) ; Geneviève Marchal, CGT Committee of the miners’ wives and widows (Moselle) Isabelle Michaud, La France Insoumise, [Unbowed France] CGT trade unionist (Yonne) ; Aurélie Morin, teacher, trade unionist mother of two children (Rhône) ; Donatille Nierat, mother (Rhône) ; Anne Pernice, retired teacher, POID (Bouches-du-Rhône) ; Olivia Queysselier, teacher, trade unionist (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) ; Chantal Ribail, teacher, trade unionist (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence) ; Cllr Lucie Rodriguez, Maignault Tauzia (Gers) ; Isabelle Roudil, trade unionist, social worker (Tarn-et-Garonne) ; Chantal Rublon, CGT trade unionist, hospital worker (Ille-et-Vilaine) ; Christelle Simon, ASEM,[private nursery school support staff] trade unionist (Paris) ; Fatima Tacheboubet, employee adviser (Seine-Saint-Denis) ; Stéphanie Vezie, secretary of the CGT trades council Dinan and of the general hospital of Dinan (Côtes- d’Armor)
Justine Hauptmann, SPD member, ver.di trade unionist, former Works Council chair; Sidonie Kellerer, GEW trade unionist; Barbara Ludwig, SPD member, GEW trade unionist, Ober-Ramstadt DGB local Union; Heidi Schüller, IG BAU trade unionist; Anna Helena Schuster, Ver.di trade union delegate (all in their personal capacity)
Sotiria Lioni, unemployed (Nafplio); Irini Morou, teacher (Athens)
Olu-Fèmi Peter, teacher; Emma Baltus, teacher
Isabelle L. Papillon, Haiti Liberté newspaper; Marie Laurette Numa, Haiti Liberté newspaper; Mona Péralte, Haiti newspaper; Léonia L. Volmar (Peta)
Horváth Mihályné, teacher; Dr. Artner Annamária, economist; Morva Judit Közgazdàsz,economist; Somi Judit, labour activist
Sujata Mody, President, Penn Thozhilalargal Sangam (Working Women’s Union), Chennai; Palani Bharathi Gen. Secretary, Garment and Fashion Workers Union, Chennai; Sabina Martins, women activist, Panaji, Goa; Juliet Theresita, activist in the informal sector, Tuticorin (Tamil Nadu)
Karen Gearon, Mandate, Ex Dunnes Anti-Apartheid striker of the ‘80s; Denise Curran, Mandate NEC, Shop Steward and member of the Tesco EWC; Karen Burke, Mandate Shop Steward; Sandra Stapleton, Mandate Organiser ; Jane Crowe, Mandate ; Lisa O’Connor, Mandate ; Liz Tomlin, Mandate ; Gillian Denby, Mandate ; Lorna Langan, Mandate ; Helen O’ Keeffe, Mandate ; Sandra Byrne, Mandate ; Muireann Dalton, Mandate.
Valeria Busicchia, teacher, trade unionist; Rosanna Capello, retired; Alessandra Cigna, teacher, trade unionist; Angela Fenocchio, teacher; Monica Grilli, teacher, trade unionist; Simona Marchese, nurse; Valentina Palma, teacher; Agata Pantella, teacher; Claudia Poggio, teacher; Betty Raineri, teacher, Tribuna Libera editorial board; Teresa Silvestri, teacher; Barbara Strambaci, teacher; Elena Troglia, teacher; Giulia Venia, teacher, trade unionist; Vanna Ventre, teacher, Tribuna Libera editorial board; Maria Grazia Viotto, retired
Liliana Plumeda, OPT member (Political Organization of the People and Workers); Alejandra Rivera, OPT member; Diana Arangure, “Mexicali Résiste” coalition; Vanessa Lira, lawyer (former worker, fired from the company Rockwell); Catalina Miranda, teacher, trade unionist SNTE local 37; Irma Moran, “Lower California Résistance ” Collective; Andrea Valladolid, IAYS (International Alliance of Youth for Socialism) – Mexico; María Consuelo Sánchez Lora, neighbours’ committees of the Villa del Álamo district, Tijuana ; Ana Miranda, UABC student, Tijuana; Maidaly Martínez Sosa, student and worker at Subway (fast food restaurant); Margarita Ávalos Salas, Ollin Calli; Neryda Gaspar Castillo, Ollin Calli; María Rivera, Tijuana; Julieta Morales, veterinarian school student, “Aquelarre Cachanilla” Collective; Dana Dominguez, stay-at-home mother, “Aquelarre Cachanilla” Collective; Monica Vazquez Vargas, student in International Relations, “Amicushgo” Collective; Miriam Edith López González, sociologist; Miroslava Callejas, journalist; Hassly Moreno Montoya, student in International Relations, Feminine Collective RIFUA (Red Anáhuac); Tania Espinoza, psychologist; Jocelyn Gamboa, historian; Ana María de Paz de la Cruz, trade union officer SNTE- CNTE CCL local 40; Claudia Berenice Serrano, SITAACOBACH trade unionist (Chiapas); Claudia Ibeth Aguilar Cruz, former candidate to municipal elections in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, OPT sympathizer; Mirna Cruz Díaz, OPT sympathizer, Cintalapa (Chiapas); Karla Janeth Aguilar Cruz OPT sympathizer, Cintalapa (Chiapas); María de Lourdes Sánchez Liévano, Real el Bosque, AEOS; Ana Lilia Escalante Orantes, OPT Women’s Commission,LCI-OCRFI activist (Chiapas); Laura Lidia González Cedeño, retired, SUTERM trade unionist, Democratic Front for Malpaso, Mezcalapa; María Antonieta Bertoni, “Bertha Von Glummer y Leyva” delegate; Margarita Zepeda López, trade union leader in the administration (Chiapas); Jovita Aurora Vásquez Hernández, Communist Proletarian and Popular Coordination CCPP-FREDOC; Ana Laura Ruíz Ozuna, SNTE-CNTE section 40 trade unionist (Comitán); Rosario de María León Aguilar, indigenous teacher, SNTE- CNTE section 7 trade unionist.
Sakina Jardim, local government employee, FNOFCL-UMT trade unionist; Sanae Ahayek, student; Kaoutar Lemkadmi, social worker
Khalida Ashraf, Garment Worker; Saeeda Ilyas, Home based workers; Shahida Jamil, Factory Worker / Workers Union Longman; Zainab Gulistan, Factory worker/US apparel; Sadia Rashid, Emmi Garment; Shumaila Abdusattar, Pepsi Cola workers union; Dua Fatima, Student; Farzana Shaukat, HICO Ice cream; TayyabaAbdul Majeed, Longman Workers Union; Nazia Mushtaq, Nisar Art Press/ Workers Union Nisar Art; Khalida Nazir, United foam Employees Union; Irshad Mushtaq, Hamdard Waqaf Employees Union; Rubina Afzal, Stalco Employees Union; Sabrina Younas, Punjab Teachers Association; Shamim Akhtar, Domestic Workers; Hameeda Shabbir, Cook; Mussarrat Ilyas, Stiching Tailore; Farzana Hameed, Domestic Workers; Ayesha Hameed, Student; Asia Hameed, Botique; Akbar Khan, National Bank Employees Union Punjab; Anwer Gujjar, Railway Workers Union; Nasim Latif, Food Seller; Abida Parveen, ShahKom Garment Factory; Khalida Parveen, Food Seller; Faizaan Latif, Eagle Mobile worker; Shamim Bibi, Worker in Jawa Pharmeutical Co; Malik Jabbar, Workers in Automobile Co Sakhi Khan, Railway Workers Union; Tasneem Waseem, Parlor Worker; Kamran Sagheer, Workers Union Nisar Art Press; Rehmat Ullah Khan, Democratic Youth Association; Dr. Ashraf Nizami, President, Pakistan Medical Association; M. Ilyas, Joint Sec APTUF; M. Parvez, Rickshaw Driver Union; Khatija Parvez, Student Democratic Youth Association; Sonia Ilyas, Student, Democratic Youth Association; Saeed Gujjar, Retired Workers association; Samina Amin, Teachers Union; Samina Fayyaz, Pink Rickshaw Union; M. Zahoor, Gulzar Welfare Society; Nisar Khan, Gulzar Welfare Society; Allah Diddat Bhatti, Gulzar Welfare; Nusrat Bibi, Domestic worker association; Shabbir Hussain Shah, Wasa Employees Union; Salah Uddin Ayubi, CWD Employees Union; Malik Humanyun, Local Bodies Employees Union; Zulfiqar Ali, President Power Loom Workers Union-Kasur; Mubarik Ali, RWS- Rawalpindi; G.N. Barohi, APTUF-Balochistan Seemi Gul, Parlour; M. Salim, Longman Workers Union; Khursheed Ahmed, WAPDA Hydro Electric Central Workers Union.
Judy Ann Miranda, Secretary General, Partido Manggagawa (Workers Party – Philip- pines)
Beata Firoń-Bencolurska, Polish activist
Clara Tur, coordinator of the Assemblea Nacional Catalana for Portugal
Olga Okuneva, Group of OCRFI supporters
Alang Sene, JIF’AFRIQUE (Nguekokh); Awa M’Baye, Senegalese Revolutionary Studies Group (Dakar); Mounima Dialo, student nurse, activist against woman abuse (Kaolak)
“Women from IKEP/Workers’ Own Party”
Donna Dewitt, President Emerita, South Carolina AFL-CIO (id. only); Desiree Rojas, President, Sacramento, LCLAA (id. only); Nancy Wohlforth, Secretary-Treasurer Emerita, OPEIU (id. only); Andrea N Williams-Muhammad, Nzuri Malkia Birth Cooperative, Ujima Peoples Party (id. only); Galina Gerasimova, AFT local 2121 (id. only); Colia Lafayette Clark, Steering Committee, International Workers Committee; Millie Phillips, Labor Fightback Network (id. only); Marlena Santoyo, Philadelphia Federation of teachers (id. only); Mya Shone, Editorial Board, The Organizer Newspaper; Kathy Black, Treasurer, Philadelphia CLUW (Coalition of Labor Union Women) (for ID only); Linda Ray, Delegate to the San Francisco Labor Council from SEIU 1021 (for ID only); Connie White, LCIP-L.A. (for ID only); Lita Blanc, Past President, United Educators of San Francisco (id only); Kilaika Shakur, George Jackson University; Coral Wheeler, LCIP- L.A. (for ID only); Sheryl Bruce, Ujima Peoples Progress Party; Betty Davis, New Abolitionist Movement; Suzanne Ross, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal (for id. only)
Mafa Kwanisai Mafa, chairman of Chimurenga Vanguard a Zimbabwe section of the OCRFI; Arasiah Phiri, Secretary of Women Affairs in the Chimurenga Vanguard; Isabel Shumba, Secretary for Gender in Zimbabwe Movement of Pan African Socialists.
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