Monday, March 8, 2010

International Women’s Day, March 8, 2010: Time to Recommit to Equal Rights -AFL-CIO

by James Parks, Mar 7, 2010

Credit: Solidarity Center

Women make up more than half the American workforce and are approaching half of union members. On International Women’s Day, March 8, the AFL-CIO is recommitting itself to continue the struggle for equal rights, dignity and respect for all working women.

This past week, the AFL-CIO Executive Council pointed out that much needs to be done for women workers to gain equal footing. For example, the council cites a United Nations report, which shows the majority of the world’s 1.3 billion absolute poor are women. On average, women receive between 30 percent and 40 percent less pay than men earn for the same work. Women also continue to be victims of violence, with rape and domestic violence listed as significant causes of disability and death among women worldwide.

Noting that International Women’s Day began a century ago when women workers in New York City marched for better wages, the council said in a statement:

Just like women 100 years ago, women in America-and around the world-are fighting back. On this year’s anniversary of International Women’s Day, we recommit ourselves to continue to the struggle for equal rights, dignity and respect for all working women while paying close attention to women’s concerns in our fight to create jobs.

Click here to read the council statement.

Here’s some of what’s going on in conjunction with International Women’s Day:

  • In a survey, women members of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) pointed to times when they felt a lack of respect on the job because of their gender. You can read some of the comments here.
  • Some of the nation’s entertainment unions will unite on International Women’s Day to give voice to the women of Afghanistan with a presentation of “Out of Silence: Readings from The Afghan Women’s Writing Project,” in Los Angeles. This will be an evening of dramatic readings of selected essays and poems written by emerging Afghan women writers who often face estrangement, beatings, and even death for creatively expressing themselves through the written word. Presenting the readings are members of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), Screen Actors (SAG), Writers Guild of America, West with Producers Guild of America and the Women In Film International Committee.
  • LabourStart, the global labor news service and PSI, the global union federation for public-sector workers, have launched a campaign to free Seher Tümer, a Turkish public-sector union leader. She has been in prison for her union activities for more than a year. You can join the effort to free this brave union leader by clicking here.

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