The right to be paid a just wage, have union rights and job security are basic rights of working people all over the world. A decent wage ensures that workers can earn enough to meet all their expenses, and to be able to plan for a secure and comfortable future. The fight and struggle for workers for social justice was at the center of many Risings in the last four years, and the Revolution and Solidarity campaigns further escalated a call for equal rights and just and humane treatment for all workers globally. All over the world women workers rose against exploitation of labor and capitalism. They rose for their right to employment, humane working conditions, liveable wages, and their right to form unions for the protection of their rights. They rose to implement laws to ensure their right to work in conditions and spaces that accord them dignity, respect and safety. Apart from economic violence caused by poverty and bureaucrat capitalism that has seen the share of global wealth going to the most powerful corporations on the back of labor forces around the world, women workers everywhere, in particular, are also subject to specific exploitation and abuse because of their gender – specifically sexual harassment, sexual abuse and rape. The Workers Rising initiative is fueled by the collective actions of grassroots workers around the globe who are fighting against the most severe forms of exploitation and inequality. People around the world are Rising against social discrimination and stigma given to workers, and the de-valuing of their integral contributions to society.
The 2017 Risings continued to focus on sexual and physical violence but because of the inclusion of “exploitation” as our global theme, many more Risings escalated their focus to include and delve deeper into neo liberal issues and policies creating and escalating poverty that gravely affect women and girls. While the rise of right wing conservative regimes everywhere began to see the curtailment of hard won rights of women in the sphere of reproductive health, and other fundamental rights for women that were under threat this year, the inclusion of other lesser seen but just as deeply felt socio-economic attacks and deprivations of basic rights of women came more sharply into focus.
2017 saw a much more pronounced and concentrated focus on workers, including migrant workers, domestic workers, factory workers, restaurant and shop workers, farmworkers, garment workers, vendors, nurses – and women in other service industries and informal sectors. The Rising events became an opportunity to highlight the intersecting issues that condone, promote, escalate and sustain worsening exploitative conditions for all workers, from the roots of poverty, to the sustained endemic abuse of workers in all economic, political and social spheres. This also included environmental abuse and plunder and the effects on indigenous communities (who are also farmworkers in many regions of the world). As well as the massive problem of human and sex trafficking of women and girls whose roots also lie in poverty.
The Risings all over the world that highlighted exploitation as their theme not only exposed the attacks on basic rights of workers everywhere, but also began to reveal the multi-layered violence against women workers – the particular sexual and physical violence women experience because of poverty and pushed by desperation and need. The Risings also created more awareness and understanding of the recognition of these multi-layers and the connections of the physical violence, to the equally serious economic and social violence women experience.
OBR 2017 reflected a significant call from grassroots, minority and marginalized women for their demands. OBR 2017 also highlighted in a much more serious way, that the fight against Violence Against Women is rooted in many more insidious forms of violence apart from patriarchy and misogyny – which includes capitalism, neo-liberalism, racism, neo-facism and imperialism. And these systems working together create continually dominating oppressive and exploitative situations for women everywhere on the planet – including worsening poverty, trafficking, joblessness and forced labor, among others.
OBR 2017 globally highlighted that the fight against Violence Against Women, is reflected on the fact that VAW persists because of sustained impoverished situations that continually breeds and aggravates violence towards women and girls. Grassroots women around the world, including those in more developed Western countries, who are oppressed and exploited in other ways but under similar social structures are victims of violence precisely because they are from the most exploited, oppressed and excluded sectors based on class, race and gender. This also includes the massive exploitation caused by economic and environmental violence. OBR 2017 became a platform and catalyst to address the current neo-liberal capitalist structure – where global socio-economic policies cause and perpetuate poverty, discrimination, exclusion, oppression and exploitation that result in the escalation and normalization of violence against women.
EXAMPLES OF WORKERS RISINGS IN THE FOLLOWING REGIONS AND COUNTRIES:
INDIA, PAKISTAN, NEPAL, SRI LANKA, AFGHANISTAN, MALDIVES, BANGLADESH
- Rising to end exploitation of women workers
- Rising to end exploitation of women’s bodies and work
- Rising for vendors and domestic workers rights
- Rising to end exploitation in the garment sector
- Rising to end exploitation of domestic workers and migrant domestic workers sent to the Arab world
- Rising against neo-liberalism, bureaucrat capitalism and US imperialism which leaves the country poverty-stricken and exploits classes and sectors
- Rising for workers rights to end contractualization
- Rising against slavery and exploitation of migrant domestic workers.
- Rising to highlight attacks on basic rights of workers such as low wages, extremely long working hours, erosion of benefits, declining standards of living from skyrocketing increase in prices of food commodities.
- Rising to end abuse and exploitation of migrant domestic workers
- Rising for migrant domestic worker rights
- Rising for land and jobs
- Rising for the rights of migrant workers
SERBIA, BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA, MONTENEGRO, KOSOVO and CROATIA:
- Rising to demand the implementation of domestic laws and measures to prevent VAW which would reduce exploitation, economic dependence and unequal position of women in society
- Rising to end modern day slavery of domestic workers
- Rising to end exploitation of women at the workplace
- Rising to end the cultural and economic exploitation of women and girls
- Rising to end poverty which is the cause of exploitation
- Rising to end economic, social and political abuse of women
- Rising to end gender based violence; and exploitation of women in the informal sector
- Rising for domestic workers
- Rising to demand that women workers be seen, heard and treated with dignity, specially by the new Presidential Administration
- Rising to demand and end to workplace violence and harassment -Rising to promote pay equity, one fair living wage, paid leave and labor rights at work
- Rising to resist the bullying, attacks on workplace standards, and politics of exclusion practiced by the administration.