women's strike

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Wed Mar 8 11:50:06 PST 2000

[better late than never...]


Stop the world and change it. Join the


for a millennium which values all women's work and all women's lives.


Women and girls do 2/3 of the world's work for 5% of the income. So when women stop everything stops.

Stop the world and change it. Join the GLOBAL WOMEN'S STRIKE 8 March 2000

For a millennium which values all women's work and all women's lives.

Why Strike?

Women in Ireland called the strike and women all over the world are taking up the call.

While $700 billion a year is spent on military budgets world-wide, less than $20 billion is spent on the essentials of life (accessible clean water, health, sanitation and basic education)! The gap between the rich and the rest is "grotesque" and growing: the wealth of the three richest families is greater than the yearly income of 600m people in the poorest countries. 1/3 of the world's population depends on firewood for fuel which is collected by women and children.

In Africa, women and girls grow 80% of the food consumed there. In Asia, many women and girls spend up to five hours a day gathering firewood.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, 25% of the population - up to 90% among Native people - have no access to safe drinking water. In industrialised countries, women doing waged work still earn only about 50% of what men earn.

Women's yearly unwaged contribution comes to at least $11 trillion. Society, and even the market, would not survive without the unwaged work of women, in the home, on the land, in family businesses, in places of worship, in neighbourhoods, villages, towns and cities.

Women are working harder doing both traditional and non-traditional jobs. Even women with professional careers are having trouble juggling the market's ruthless demands with personal needs. Women are expected to be flexible and to compete with men, and told that we must put our jobs before our children.

Women and girls deserve a reduction of our workload and financial recognition for our enormous contribution.

There are many ways for the money to come to us. For example:

The abolition of "Third World debt". The work women do - massively increased by structural adjustment programmes imposed by the International Monetary Fund - has more than repaid the debt. In any case, how can "loans" a few decades old compare with 500 years of colonialism and theft?

Accessible clean drinking water and ecologically sound technology for every household - we all deserve cookers, fridges, washing machines, computers . . . just because we're poor doesn't mean we have fewer needs.

Affordable and accessible housing and transportation.

Protection against all violence - at home, in the factory, in the office, on the farm, on the street . . .

Pay equity for all - equal pay for work of equal value internationally.

Wages for caring work, whether in the family or not. What work is more valuable than raising children and caring for others?

Paid maternity leave, breast-feeding breaks and other benefits that recognise women's biological work rather than penalise us for being women.

Pass the word to family, friends, organisations, unions, places of worship and communities in villages, towns and cities. Mobilise by word of mouth, phone, e-mail, fax . . . and stay in touch with us. Send us your reasons to join the strike, the actions you wish to take and the contact name and address in your area. <

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