Friday, March 15, 2013

International Women's Day rally

The Green Left TV video above is from Perth's International Women's Day rally on 8 March 2013.

The theme of the rally was "Justice, Equality, Freedom from violence: we want it all". This was, in part, a response to Julie Bishop's comment a month or so earlier that women can't "have it all". Bishop was commonly understood - and no doubt intended - to mean that women should not expect to be able to have both children and a career. This comment was an attack on women's rights because nobody ever says that men cannot have children and a career.

Issues of equal pay for women were strongly taken up at the rally with Tessa Coleman and Sanna Andrew speaking respectively about the successful campaigns by nurses and ASU members. The nurses won a 14.75% pay rise over three years in the face of vicious intimidation by the Barnett government during the election campaign. The ASU won a five year long battle at Fair Work Australia for equal pay in the community services sector.

Kaila De Cinque spoke about the ongoing prevalence of rape culture on university campuses and the need to campaign against violence against women. Another theme was opposition to the federal government attacks on sole parents.

WA police celebrated international women's day in their own special way by arresting a young woman who was in the rally pushing her young child in a pram. The rally responded by chanting "stop police attacks, on gays, women and blacks".

The rally took place on International Women's Day itself, which this year fell the day before the WA state election. Perth Area Feminist Action felt it was important to go ahead with the rally even though some political forces were prioritising the election the next day.