International Women’s Day 2022
We are the Resisterhood
The left is carrying forward a heritage begun by feminists who fought for anti-fascism, workers’ rights, political participation and reproductive & sexual rights.
In 1910, German socialist-communist politician, peace activist and women’s rights activist Clara Zetkin established International Women’s Day. Together with the International Women’s Alliance, Zetkin tried until the end to prevent WWI, when the male-dominated social democrats SPD had long since agreed to the war credits. For this, she ended up in prison.
Today, women in Russia demonstrating against war are arrested again. Militarism as an ideology is hierarchical and embodies masculinity that undermines equality by reinforcing the rigid division of gender roles, a hallmark of patriarchy.
Women who fight for the right to sexual self-determination are threatened and persecuted. One in three women in the EU has been subjected to physical or sexual violence, and every week an average of 50 women die as a result of gender-based violence. This is a structural problem and it is one of the most serious human rights violations we face. The fight against gender-based violence cannot be seen separately from the fight for gender equality, the struggle for women’s rights in all parts of society. Gender-based violence is intimately linked to patriarchal structures, to inequality between women and men, to the lack of economic independence for women, to the lack of justice.
Women have to fight for everything, everywhere. Where their rights are equal to men’s on paper, they always have to go the extra mile.
Some 30 years ago, neoliberalism promised that the market would bring gender emancipation. In the end, however, neoliberalism and patriarchy turned out to be accomplices that complemented each other particularly well in the exploitation of women. This is because it was mainly women who had to absorb the consequences of neoliberal social cuts. Gender justice, like prosperity, does not simply trickle down from the top.
For the Left, feminism has always been more than just the demand for gender equality. Feminism is perhaps the greatest social movement of the 20th century. It has politicized generations of women and girls.
Our feminism is…
Anti-fascism and feminism ultimately have not only a common goal, but also common opponents. Sexism, racism, patriarchy – as feminists we fight them because they discriminate between people and deny certain groups their universal human rights.
Our firm belief in a better world unites us. For over 100 years, women have been fighting for a better world in which equal rights apply to all. Their struggles are our legacy, our mission.
We are fighting for a care revolution that aims for nothing less than a society of solidarity for all. In other words, a society in which the focus is no longer on profit maximization, but on human needs and caring for each other. A society in which we have the right to control our bodies, and our sexuality; the right to free abortion, contraception, and other essential sexual and reproductive health services. A society in which we have legislation that is based on consent. We are fighting for a judicial system that delivers convictions so that we actually put the blame where it belongs – on the perpetrators. We are fighting for a just transition – the future will be green, social and feminist. It is about creating new commons: public goods accessible to all, beyond the market, with good working conditions, democratically organized and ecologically sustainable.
What the future looks like will not be decided tomorrow, but today. We have more to lose than our chains, but still a world to gain.