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Issue #1907      March 16, 2020

International Working Women’s Day – Sydney

On Sunday 8th March, over twenty members and friends of the Communist Party of Australia gathered in the party national headquarters in Sydney to celebrate International Working Women’s Day. This occasion was marked by an address by Comrade Anna Pha, a subsequent discussion facilitated by Comrade Dorothy and an afternoon tea contributed to by the male party members of the Sydney District. This event was organised by the Sydney District Committee.


Participants heard about the significance of IWD to the socialist movement, the progress made by historical struggles to advance gender equality and increase women’s rights and the need for further struggle. It was noted that International Working Women’s Day has been hijacked and watered down in recent years by representatives of the ruling class; exemplified in the dropping of ‘Working’ from the name of this day in most liberal and mainstream commemorations of International Women’s Day. The problems of a “class-blind” bourgeois liberal obfuscation of this kind were criticised by the Communist Revolutionary Alexandra Kollontai, who was the first woman to be a member of government following the Russian revolution and the first woman to hold the position of Ambassador in a diplomatic posting. She said in her work The Social basis of the Women question that “so long as the bourgeois women and their [proletarian] ‘younger sisters’ are equal in their inequality, the former can, with complete sincerity, make great efforts to defend the general interests of women. But once the barrier is down and the bourgeois women have received access to political activity, the recent defenders of the ‘rights of all women’ become enthusiastic defenders of the privileges of their class, content to leave the younger sisters with no rights at all.”

Simultaneously it was noted that there is a long way to go in achieving full equality. Resolutely eliminating the scourge of domestic violence from society is a crucial area for further work. As was previously reported in The Workers’ Weekly Guardian by Anna Pha, “one woman dies every week at the hands of her partner or former partner. This is not acceptable. One death is too many. The recent tragic death of Hannah Clarke and her three young children by her estranged partner brought home the failure of governments to take the need for preventative measures seriously.” In this context the cutbacks by governments to women’s refuges and other support services, and the collusion with religious conservatives to subvert the family court and increase economic inequality are criminal and sexist attacks on the working class and particularly women workers.


International Working Women’s day was first initiated by the Socialist movement in 1910 by notable socialists including Clara Zetkin, and later rose to great prominence during the February Revolution that led to the collapse of the Russian empire and opened the way towards the socialist revolution that led to the establishment of the first socialist country, the Soviet Union. International Working Women’s Day was celebrated throughout the socialist countries and is still celebrated by the International Communist Movement. It will continue to be celebrated by the workers of the world for a long time to come.

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