A statement on behalf of the Young Communist League Executive Committee to mark International Womens’ Day 2017.
As International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world it is important for us, as communists, to acknowledge that the situation for woman in Britain remains one of rampant and systemic inequality and injustice. For the second time in our country’s history we have a female prime minister but this is no success for feminism. Equality and women’s liberation continues to be undermined and attacked. The Tories ideological destruction of the welfare state since 2010 has disproportionately affected women who bear the brunt of cuts and attacks on employment rights. On a national and global scale women continue to be the subject of economic and social oppression and remain a superexploited section of the international working class.
This Tory Government has continued the attacks on women and today we will see the ninth budget announced since Labour lost power. There is no doubt that this budget will contain more cuts than the last . This is of course bad news for us all but for women in particular. Women are more likely to live in low income households than men. On the whole, women compose two thirds of Britain’s low paid population. Women are also more likely to be employed on zero hours contracts which are exploitative and unfair. Furthermore, women rely on government benefits for, on average, 20% of their income compared to 10% in the case of men. The gender pay gap remains as relevant as ever and is still around 18% as of last November. All of these statistics go to highlight just some of the problems women face in terms of everyday poverty.
The plight of women is not just financial but emotional and physical as well.
85,000 women are raped every year in England and Wales alone according to Rape Crisis. Nearly 10 women every hour. 90% of young women aged 11-17 have reportedly been verbally harrassed in the street in Britain. It is estimated that over 200 million women and girls have undergone Female Genital Mutilation – one of the most systematic and barbaric forms of oppression on a worldwide scale.
International Women’s Day must also begin to address the problems faced by trans women across the world. A group of women more likely to attempt suicide and be victimised in society than any other. A group of women who according to some, such as Dame Jenni Murray, are “not real women”. A group of women who we as communists and feminists must reaffirm our solidarity to.
The proletariat will be able to attain its liberation only if it fights together without the difference of nationality and profession. In the same way, it can attain its liberation only if it stands together without the distinction of sex. The incorporation of the great masses of proletarian women in the liberation struggle of the proletariat is one of the prerequisites for the victory of the socialist idea and for the construction of a socialist society.” – Clara Zetkin
It is essential to highlight today, and everyday, that women continue to suffer under the devastating effects of capitalism to a greater extent than men. However, what is more essential than merely pointing out these facts is that we continue the fight for women’s rights and women’s liberation.
A women’s place is in the struggle – and this must always remain the case.
The struggle for socialism and the fight for women’s equality are interconnected, and one cannot take place without the other.
Forward to women’s liberation! Forward to Socialism!