International Women's Day - the stark reality for women beyond cupcakes and symbolism

Women's liberation depends on the collective fight for justice of all women. Today in Parliament Abigail called on the NSW Government to take tangible action to dismantle the capitalist patriarchy and realise women's rights across the world.

Abigail gave notice of the following motion:

I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move: 

(1) That this House notes that 8 March is International Working Women’s Day, which is today recognised by many as “International Women’s Day (IWD)”, a result of years of white corporate sanitisation to make it more acceptable to those previously threatened by the fierce and radical history of class struggle and intersectional liberation of working class women. 

(2) That this House further notes that:

  • Australia’s first International Working Women’s Day was marked in Sydney in 1928, organised by the Militant Women’s Movement with working women fighting for equal pay for equal work, an 8 hour work day and paid leave; 
  • women across the globe have increasingly called out the sentiment that this day has become marked by and how far it has strayed from its origins, with many arguing that pink frosted cupcakes won’t empower the millions of women displaced and oppressed every day across the world by a capitalist patriarchy that cannot be reformed. The concept of IWD has been superficially reduced to an instrument of virtue signalling by the system and institutions it was originally created to take down; 
  • according to the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences, Reem Alsalem, and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Francesca Albanese, women and girls are being subjected to increasing human rights violations in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with Palestinian women and girls deliberately targeted and executed, often while seeking refuge or while fleeing. Hundreds of Palestinian women and girls including human rights defenders, journalists and humanitarian workers have been subjected to arbitrary detention, inhumane treatment and sexual violence, and many have reportedly gone missing; 
  • true intersectional feminism relies on the solidarity and liberation of all women, everywhere, and the dismantling of the current white neoliberal patriarchal system which actively seeks to stifle the voices of women of colour, First Nations women, women affected by war and conflict, women with disability, transgender women and women living in poverty; 
  • according to the NSW Gender Equality Key Economic Indicators Index, as at May 2023 in NSW, the gender pay gap is currently at 11.8%, with men on average earning $1924.80 a week while women earn $1697, and women on average each week undertaking approximately 30.3 hours of unpaid labour; and
  • in NSW, all levels of government and decision-makers must take far bolder action as a matter of urgency, to improve the lives of women across the state, by listening to the countless expert recommendations given by peak organisations, advocacy groups, independent statutory bodies and agencies, and more. 

(3) That this House calls on the NSW Government to genuinely listen to the calls of the community, who have for years been demanding real action to achieve tangible outcomes for all women, everywhere, including those beyond state borders, and dismantle the capitalist patriarchy that prevents women from achieving true liberation and equality.

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