Thursday, 8 March 2012

Reflections on International Women's Day

Today, March 8th, is International Women's Day.

And with a Tory Government making life harder for women at every turn - removing services and reducing benefits predominantly used by women while pursuing economic policies that are seeing unemployment among women faster than in men - it's sorely needed here in the UK.

Locally too, women are bearing the brunt of sexual violence, rising unemployment - and even protests outside sexual health clinics.

I'm really proud that, under a Green Party watch, Brighton and Hove has agreed to go further than the law requires on equalities issues, and that the impact on women is considered before every major decision is taken.

But of course that's nowhere near enough.

I think it's worth reflecting that feminism can never be politically neutral. International Women's Day itself was born of International Socialism, and I believe we can never rid the world of discrimination until we start to organise the world along co-operative, rather than capitalist lines: in other words, it's not who holds the power that's the problem, it's the power itself. It's not the lack of women of corporate boards that is the problem, it's the fact that corporate boards have so much clout over our lives in the first place. Far more women are discriminated against by capitalist structures than could ever benefit from making those structures more equal - something that's logically impossible anyway.

So to mark my commitment to International Women's Day I'll be doing two specific things: I'm proudly wearing my Fawcett Society 'This Is What A Feminist Looks Like' T-shirt, and I won't be shopping today.

Oh I'll also be tipping my hat to the punks and squatters of Copenhagen who have fought for the free social space that made IWD possible in the first place in the face of some pretty nasty Government and police repression.

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