The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Mobilizations for International Women’s Day

Mar 16, 2020

Sunday, March 8, was International Women’s Day. Thousands of women around the world participated in demonstrations and protests. The demonstrators went out to protect rights under attack, and demand new rights including higher pay and job security, as well as the right to get an abortion. In many countries, especially in Latin America, this meant facing the resistance of the Catholic Church and the various evangelical sects.

This year, many women came out in countries where it was a considerable risk even just to demonstrate and make their demands heard, because they faced threats from government, military, right-wing forces and thugs. This was true in the Philippines, Pakistan, and throughout Latin America.

The largest demonstration was in Mexico. Hundreds of thousands of women marched on Sunday, declaring they would not consent to be victims of “femicide,” the on-going brutal murder of women and girls by their boyfriends or husbands, by violent gangs, or by the police. In 2019, according to official data, 3,800 women met violent deaths, averaging 10 per day. The demonstrators also protested layoffs, the lack of regular jobs, and the cuts to public services.

The following Monday was “A Day without Women.” The streets were empty, as hundreds of thousands of women disappeared, refusing to go to work in factories, offices, or anywhere else—including at home! Some bosses were even forced to make a show of siding with the women, giving the day off in advance.

As capitalist decay pushes society backwards around the world, women’s rights and safety are coming under increasing threat. But a backwards slide is not inevitable. On March 8 and 9, women showed it is possible to organize to defend ourselves and each other.