International Women’s Day leaflet from Socialist Action (CWI supporters) in Hong Kong
- Fight against discrimination and violence against women
- For equal pay and strong public services
Socialist Action will join thousands of others fighting for women’s rights on 8 March. We are part of the Committee for a Workers’ International, a socialist organisation that campaigns for workers’ and women’s rights in more than 40 countries worldwide. Every improvement in women’s rights over the years, from the right to vote to rights at work and in education, have been won by mass struggle by women and the labour movement.
Migrant workers – a victory for all women
This year we saw the landmark guilty verdict against the employer of Indonesian domestic worker Erwiana. This advances the struggle of migrant workers against injustice, but also strengthens the position of workers and women as a whole. It shows that mass protests can win results and put the government under pressure. The struggle must be stepped up to abolish the live-in rule and two-week rule that imprison migrant workers in a slave-like system under the total control of an employer. The vampire agencies should also be closed down with their functions transferred to a democratically run and government-funded public authority.
But in the capitalist society we live in all kinds of gender inequality still exists and women’s rights are under renewed attack. The Hong Kong government would rather put billions of dollars into unnecessary infrastructure projects to fill the bank accounts of the business tycoons. They resist calls to spend more on public services to build up elderly and childcare services that would mean much greater freedom and economic security for women.
We will no longer tolerate their idea that “staying at home to take care of the family is a woman’s duty.” These out-dated sexist ideas are used to pursue a pro-rich agenda of privatization and squeezing public services.
Women in Hong Kong earn 22 percent less than men. We want to end this unequal system! Many married women are forced because of family burdens to take unstable temporary, part-time and other low-paying jobs commonly known as “4C” industries (Cleaning, catering, care-giving and cashiering).
Stop violence against women – End the commercialization of women!
The unequal labour market reinforces women’s economic dependence on a man, an important factor in incidents of domestic violence and sexual violence. Women often cannot afford to leave a bad relationship and get little support from the government and downsized public services.
Woman’s bodies are also widely marketed as commodities to make money for big business. In the mainstream media the portrayal of women is distorted by size, age, and appearance, to spread the message that “a woman must be pretty” in order to achieve social success. This also fuels the explosion in cosmetic operations, now a multi-billion dollar industry that is poorly regulated and prone to unsafe, even lethal, practices.
Socialist Action fights against sexist attitudes that feed discrimination and violence against women. We demand more government-funded shelters for victims of domestic violence. We stand for united struggle against capitalism and sexism – for an equal and socialist society!