Sunday, March 7, 2021

International Women's Day 2021 — Statement by the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU)

On the occasion of the 2021 International Women's Day on March 8th, the Secretariat of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) issued the following statement:

Women’s equal rights in health and safety at work and in society

The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), the oldest trade union international representing 105 million workers in 133 countries on the five continents, offers a warm internationalist greeting to the working woman, the female trade unionist, the female militant of each country and continent on this International Working Women’s Day, March 8, 2021.

The class trade union movement has always stood alongside the just demands of the women of the working class; it has been the one which turned the claims of women into claims of its own; the one which fought by implementing in its ranks the true equality between the male worker and the female worker. In fact, thousands of working women have offered the most valuable thing they possessed, their own lives, to the cause of the true emancipation of the whole society from the chains of capitalist exploitation; the emancipation of both working men and women. The WFTU is proud of its women martyrs, offered by its affiliates to the struggle for a more just society.

Although 164 years have passed since the day that the textile workers of New York shed their blood for the demand for better working conditions, hygiene and safety, even in 2021 the women of the working class and the other popular strata have to face the same barbarous capitalist system; a system that wants women to be unemployed or poorly paid slaves at home, while at work they continue to be exposed to non-existent hygiene and safety measures or even to be attacked by the bosses, whatever the form of this abuse may be.

The coronavirus pandemic and the new world crisis of capitalism have deteriorated the position of working women, of women from the popular strata. The new forms of work that are gaining ground have placed a greater burden on the shoulders of working women who, in addition to “domestic slavery”, are now forced to work under flexible hours, without labor or union rights. Moreover, at the same time that international capitalism re-promotes racist theories with new intensity and puts weapons in the hands of racist murderers, working women of color are triply exposed to the barbarism of the system.

At the same time, in the midst of this new crisis, the imperialists and the transnationals are sharpening their offensive, they continue to shed the peoples’ blood through the escalation or the beginning of new interventions; interventions that uproot millions of people from their homes. Women and girls from the popular strata, female refugees and expatriates are once again paying the highest price.

The capitalist system neither wants nor can provide solutions to the problems of working women. On the contrary, through its false theories and  mechanisms, it seeks to convince the female worker that her enemy is the working man; that supposedly the solution to popular problems is found in the so-called theories of “gender struggle”, “feminist strikes” and so on. It seeks to hide that the fundamental contradiction of society is not between male and female workers, but between capital and labor; between those who produce everything and those who produce nothing.

The WFTU, paying tribute to the militant traditions of the radical women’s movement and placing in the front line the demands of contemporary manual and intellectual workers, claims:

  • Global protection of all women and men of the working class against the pandemic, with safe and free vaccines for all, guaranteeing universal and free access to the healthcare system
  • Fully guarantee the right of girls to a free and qualitative educational system, which will teach them the laws of motion of nature and society
  • Effective hygiene and safety measures in workplaces
  • Support for unemployed women, young mothers and couples, guaranteeing the right to motherhood without any employer intimidation or precondition
  • Effective support measures for refugee and immigrant women who are doubly exposed to imperialist wars and criminal networks of traffickers

The great family of the WFTU is committed to continue on the path of struggle and disobedience for the victory of the struggles and the achievement of the demands of the female workers of the class-oriented trade union movement; for the true emancipation from the chains of double exploitation against women, for a world without capitalist exploitation.

Long live March 8!