El Dia De La Mujer/International Woman’s Day

By Yolanda Miranda

When the United Nations proclaimed International Women’s Day on March 8, 1975, to honor women internationally for their contributions to society. It had been celebrated by women around the world for many years before the United Nations proclamation was signed. A special day honoring women has been observed since the early 1900s, as women have fought for shorter work weeks, better pay, and struggled for universal suffrage.

Women have proven to be the first to fight against injustice, the right to vote in this country, to speak and take action against war, and have led fights against hunger, lack of education, quality medical care, inadequate, unaffordable housing, equal pay for equal work, affordable day care for minimum wage workers, union representation and better conditions in the workplace.

A historic moment in this fight took place in 1911 when fire killed 140 Jewish and Italian immigrant garment workers who were trapped in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory in New York City because the owner locked the doors while they worked. Bread, not Roses, became a women’s campaign theme to bring attention and focus on their horrendous working conditions.

From 1910 to the present the socialist movement has been in the forefront, holding international women conferences in Europe, organizing rallies, and campaigning for International Womens Day to be recognize as a global event. In earlier years, Women’s Day was celebrated in February in socialist countries, but as it became a worldwide celebration it was move to March 8. This special day is celebrated by most countries with special events and is more important than Mother’s day in many places.

In the U.S., women’s organizations, along with some universities, plan events which are growing in size every year. We are active in marching against the occupation of Iraq, fighting against violence against women, for gay rights, against homelessness and for affordable housing, to end hunger in America, for quality medical care and insurance for the working poor, and for drug treatment not prison for so many women incarcerated due to Meth addiction (meth addiction in this country is well over 1,000,000).

We still need to keep fighting AIDS in the forefront since women are at a high risk for HIV infection in this country with more than 1,500 teenagers are being infected yearly, according to Central of Disease Control. There is still no cure for this virus. In this country due to improved medication, AIDS victims are living longer in contrast to many other countries.

The rising racism, with fascist overtones, against the Mexican immigrants has incited violence and even murders by vigilante groups.

However you can’t walk down a street in Venice without seeing immigrants building these new McMansions for cheap labor or nannies pushing baby carriages for white working mothers. You can bet they are not paying union wages for these immigrant builders who work hard, doing an excellent job, comparable to a union journeymen who is paid $25 per hour.

Immigrant women who work as nannies receive whatever hourly pay their employer decides to give them, without any protection from the law and no where to complain to if paid unfairly? These women need to work to survive and support their families.

The alternative is to stay and work in the Maquiladoras (sweatshops) in Tijuana for $67 per week for ten hours work day while the product they make is shipped to our country where it is sold for a huge profit.

I ask you as a woman would you be willing to work 10 hours a day for $67 per week? Or would you seek an opportunity to make a better living across the border. A human being becomes hungry, with stomach pain and cramps. If starvation continues your stomach starts to bloat, and weakness and fatigue set in. Millions of children are starving and dying daily worldwide. Hunger in America is rampant also. Single mothers with children who work for the minimum wage often have to decide whether to pay the rent or feed their children. The highest poverty and homeless rates are single mothers with children.

Another great concern of women are the pedophiles that take advantage of young children or take vacations to Thailand where they can get away with exploiting girls as young as five years old. There is now an organization that is headed by a man who is attempting to stop this exploitation of children that is due to extreme poverty.

In 2007, there are still many issues, here and globally, that are still face women and their families. Women’s work is never done! It will not get done until women continue to hold the banner high for human rights, to end poverty, exploitation, war and help each other here in this country and stretch our solidarity to women worldwide. It’s not women who decide to start wars and occupy other countries. Most women seek, world peace and to save the children regardless of gender or color.

Posted: Thu - March 1, 2007 at 07:04 PM