The following international appeal was launched in mid-January with 278 initial signatories from 31 countries, including 11 signatories from Britain. We fully endorse this appeal and invite our readers to add their signature (contact details below) and circulate it as widely as possible for further endorsement.

Labour Internationalist

  “Our proposal is to hold an International Conference of Working Women”

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 Day on 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.

Rubina Jamil, General Secretary of the All-Pakistan Trade Union Federation (APTUF), Pakistan Christel Keiser, National Secretary of the Democratic Independent Workers Party (POID), France  

* The International Workers Committee Against War and Exploitation, For A Workers’ International (IWC) was set up at the end of November 2016 in Mumbai (India) at an international conference that brought together 350 delegates, workers, trade union and political activists from some 40 countries. Website: coi-iwc.org

Initial endorsers in Britain (all personal capacity):

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, member, Unite Community Branch, Liverpool; Sophie Dodd, member, Liverpool Wavertree CLP; Sussan Rassoulie Khataie, Branch Committee member, Islington UNISON; Ann Green, British Pensioner Magazine; Diana Leach, member, Brighton & Hove UNISON; Pauline Bradley, member, Unite Community Branch, Glasgow; Jackie Yems, Unite member; Charles Charalambous, Unite member and Editor, Labour Internationalist; Mike Calvert, Deputy Branch Secretary, Islington UNISON; Nick Phillips, Southwark Unite member; Henry Mott, Southwark Unite member; Stefan Cholewka, Secretary, Greater Manchester Association of Trades Councils; John Sweeney, UNISON and Labour Party member; Justin Trias;

  To endorse the appeal for the IWC’s International Conference of Working Women, please email owcmumbai2016@gmail.com (with a copy to labour.internationalist2019@gmail.com), stating your name and organisation in the form they should appear publicly, and indicating whether you are signing in a personal capacity or on behalf of your organisation  
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labour.interationalist2019@gmail.com

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