ON 8 March 1908 15,000 women garment workers marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. In 1911 socialist women chose to commemorate this day, calling it International Women’s Day. “Official” celebrations of IWD are now so mainstream that you could be forgiven for not knowing that it was founded by the militant struggle of women fighting the system.
The reality is that women remain oppressed, and the history of IWD holds real lessons for us today. It is true that significant gains have been made. Sexuality has become more open, we have rights to divorce, fertility control and abortion and access to childcare. But there have also been attempts to roll back these rights. The Howard Government abolished the Office for the Status of Women, a highly symbolic move as part of their general attacks on women’s rights.
British Stop the War Coalition Convenor and leading socialist Lindsey German’s new book Material Girls points to the crucial role of women in the modern economy and uncovers a way forward for women’s liberation.
All women remain oppressed by the way society is organised and dominated by the capitalist class and the market. Working class women shoulder an incredible workload. They