International women’s day should be a time to reflect the achievements for women but to also remember the stark inequalities that women still face. 40 years after legislation to allow legal abortions – the rights are under attack; 30 years after equal pay legislation – the gender pay gap is at 17% for full time working women and 38% for part-time; on representation, participation in postgraduate education, and treatment in the criminal justice system the inequality continues. The agenda for women's equality must be a truly international one, woman across the world still suffer most from illiteracy, ill health, low wages, domestic violence, HIV and poor representation.
This weekend Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), NUS Women’s Campaign and Amicus the Union are teaming up to hold a rally in solidarity with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions who are campaigning against the regressive regime for President Mugabe. The campaign is calling for Dignity for Zimbabwean women who have had their right to sanitary protection removed after tax hikes on tampons and the like. Women in urban areas are using newspaper instead, in rural areas bark or nothing at all, sentenced to sitting outside for days at a time. This indignity means women’s role in civil society is seriously diminished, women are becoming infected my the alternatives they are using and as a result being beaten by their husbands who believe the infections to be sexually transmitted.
The demonstration and rally is from 1pm to 4pm in Trafalgar Square, this Saturday (10th March 2007). Speakers include:
- Lovemore Matombo, President, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
- Lucia Matibenga, Vice President, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
- Baroness Amos, Leader House of Lords
- Frances O'Grady, Deputy General Secretary, TUC
- Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London
- Joan Armatrading, Singer
- Gillian Anderson, Actress
- Glenys Kinnock, MEP
- Kat Stark, NUS Women's Officer
- Ruqayyah Collector, NUS Black Students’ Officer
- Kate Hoey, MP, Chair APPG Zimbabwe
- Anna Chancellor, Actress
- Henry Olonga, Cricketer and Musician
I look forward to joining other progressive women and men this weekend. For more information see: http://www.actsa.org/Pages/Page.php?pID=1022&title=WomenDignity!Period.