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From The Socialist newspaper, 23 November 2011

Women: sick of sexism, discrimination and cuts?

It doesn't have to be like this!

Eleanor Donne, Socialist Women steering committee
1500 marched on the Fawcett Society demonstration 19 November to tell the government

1500 marched on the Fawcett Society demonstration 19 November to tell the government "Don't turn back time" on women's rights, dressed in 1950s clothes, photo Sarah Wrack   (Click to enlarge)

On 30 November millions of workers will participate in what is likely to be the biggest coordinated strike action since the 1926 general strike. We are saying enough is enough! Two-thirds of workers in public services are women and will bear the brunt of the job cuts.

In 2011 women are on the march to defend our jobs, benefits, pensions and vital public services, which are under attack. We gained legal rights to equal pay and against sex discrimination through past campaigns and struggles in the workplace. Yet the gender pay gap remains and so we are still fighting on this issue too.

Young women

Young women were on the frontline of the fight against the increase in tuition fees and abolition of EMA student payments. Half of graduates are currently women but many would-be students, especially mature students, will now be put off higher education, asking themselves if it is worth a lifetime of debt, as the chances of a job at the end are diminishing. 20% of graduates were out of work last year.

The situation will get worse as jobs in the public sector - social work, education, local government and health - where the majority of women graduates found work in the past, are cut to the bone.

'Big society'

Where care services are cut, day centres closed and meals on wheels costs go up, it is women family members in the main who will have to step in as unpaid carers. It's a myth that vital frontline services can be run simply by volunteers.

Voluntary sector organisations such as the Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) will fold without adequate government funding. Women's refuges and rape crisis centres are under threat of closure as local authority grants are cut.

Protesters at St Paul's are questioning the greed and inequality inherent in a capitalist economy. Increasing numbers are unhappy with how things are and want change.

Capitalism

A capitalist economy relies on the exploitation of the working class. Women are used by the system both as cheap labour in the workplace and as unpaid cooks, cleaners and carers in the home. A multi-billion pound 'beauty' industry profits from promoting anxiety and insecurity about how we look and hammers home the message that what we say or think is much less important.

Earlier in the year thousands of women and many men took to the streets on the 'slutwalks' to protest against rape and the reactionary idea that women are partly to blame if they dress 'provocatively'. Rape, domestic violence and sexual harassment are symptoms of a deeply unequal society. This is reinforced by women's material inequality in society.

1500 marched on the Fawcett Society demonstration 19 November to tell the government

1500 marched on the Fawcett Society demonstration 19 November to tell the government   (Click to enlarge)

We demand change! We need a socialist society where society's huge wealth and resources are collectively owned. We want a society where women have financial independence, where everyone has a decent income in their own right.

Reactionary attitudes to women are very deeply ingrained and would not disappear overnight. But in the longer term a socialist society - one which is based not on exploitation but cooperation and genuine democracy and which has freed the family from its role as a social and economic institution - will develop a culture and ideology that removes women's oppression.

Say no to violence against women - Reclaim the Night demonstrations taking place across the country see www.reclaimthenight.org

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In The Socialist 23 November 2011:


Pensions' strike, N30

Enough is enough! Make N30 the start of a fight to stop all cuts

Reasons to be on strike


Socialist Party feature

Capitalism is crisis - there is an alternative - fight for socialism!


Socialist Party news and analysis

Con-Dems worsen the housing crisis

Massive job cuts undermining NHS

Millions unemployed - workers and students must unite and fight!

Them & Us


The Socialist - Readers' comments

Tragic effect of recession

Why I became a socialist


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Jarrow marchers put forward an alternative

No answers from politicians on Newsnight

Save Coventry Sure Start

Update: Occupy

Support the anti-cuts election challenge

State intimidation of young protesters

Tories and Labour fail to give 'Any Answers'

Women: sick of sexism, discrimination and cuts?

Mansfield - build houses, create jobs

Pensions protest in Maude's constituency


International socialist news and analysis

Why Europe's capitalist leaders cannot save the floundering eurozone project

Ruling PSOE battered in Spanish general election

Syria: Eight months of mass protests met with bloody brutality

Egyptian masses fight for real change


Socialist Party workplace news

Greece and Italy get unelected technocrats - Southampton gets chief executives!

Construction workers fight pay cuts

Fire service cuts

Bus drivers strike over pay

Workplace In brief


Obituary

Obituary - Geoff Atkins


 

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