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Our answer: Resistance!
International Women’s Day 2018
For over a hundred years, millions of women worldwide have been taking to the streets on March 8 to fight for their rights. It is thanks to the second women’s movement, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, that many rights have already been gained – but we are still a long way from real gender equality in society.
In our society, women are still materially discriminated against, for example through lower pay, discrimination in the labor market and the double burden of wage- and reproductive labor. Care work, whether in households, nursing, geriatric care, education or social work, is far too often underpaid and invisible. It is still largely carried out by women.
Women are affected in different ways due to the interaction of various forms of discrimination, e.g. care work is increasingly carried out under precarious and often legally unclear conditions by women in destitute conditions and women of colour or migrant women. The fact that women are not a homogenous group was repeatedly stressed considering these circumstances.
Traditional role models of how men and women „have to be“ legitimise these conditions. These role models are constantly reproduced, for example, in sexist advertising, television programs, children’s books, at school and at university. Very often alternative role models do not even exist. Women are turned into sexual objects and are often thought to be less intelligent or capable. At the same time, black women, women of colour, women with disabilities, trans- and intersexual persons are hardly represented/visible in these media.
So we are all constantly faced with the need of having to assert ourselves – be it at school, at university or at work.
My body! My choice!
Our bodies are ours. We want to be free to decide on them!
Even today many women and girls are not free to do just that.
They are exposed to sexualised and sexist violence on a daily basis. The male perpetrators (and in much rarer cases the female perpetrators) are mainly family members and from their close social environment. The unwanted touching of the body at a party, the boss’s sexist ‚come on‘ – we all know that! Sexist violence against women exists all over the world. It is sometimes a symptom of role models that make women into weak objects and teach men to exercise dominance and power. Women with disabilities are often denied gender and sexuality. At the same time, they are specifically affected by sexual violence. Through hashtags such as #aufschrei and #metoo, which was initiated as early as 2006, sexism and violence against women have recently received more media attention. It made it clear to many people: It is time to act! We want to carry this movement from the net to the street.
Feminism remains anti-racist!
The anti-feminist headwind is getting rougher: nationalism, racism and sexism are growing in Germany and many other countries, right-wing ideas are boyant.
Feminists are defamed and threatened, feminist demands and achievements are fought or exploited for right-wing populist and racist arguments. In recent years, it has often been attempted to define sexism as a problem of „other cultures“ and thus wash one’s hands of it. We have to deal with self-proclaimed „women protectors“ who recommend „an arm’s length of distance“ or „pants instead of short skirt“ thereby blaming the women. Among them some rightwing populists such as Horst Seehofer, who voted against the punishment of rape in marriage in 1997. They want to make us believe that we need to mobilise against refugees to live without violence. Under this pretext, the asylum law was tightened in 2016. We reject this racist instrumentalisation.
Women, lesbians, trans and inter persons are fleeing from wars, climate disasters, poverty, discrimination and violence all over the world. Their escape conditions are complicated because they often take care of children and the elderly. On the way and also in refugee accommodations in Germany, they are frequently victims of sexual violence. Often they live in daily fear of deportation and are left alone with existing traumas.
However, racism affects not only refugees, but all those who are discriminated against in Germany because of their colour of skin, origin, language, religion, etc. At the same time, racism also affects those who benefit from it, for example by being priviled in the housing-, job or training market. We want to overcome these inequalities.
Stop the backlash!
Nowadays, feminism must not only mean that we fight for our rights, but also that we mobilise against the global shift to the right because this is accompanied by the rise of anti-feminist positions. The Alternative for Germany (AfD) stands out with its racist, anti-Semitic, anti-feminist and homophobic family policy, in which the ‚ethnic German women‘ must serve as breeding machines for the ‚indigenous population‘. Single parents must not receive any support because they do not represent the ‚traditional family image‘. Sexual assaults and misogynist positions have not just become acceptable since the election of US President Donald Trump!
Within Germany, we are confronted with a massive backlash, a step backwards in feminist achievements. However, developments such as unequal pay, the ’stay-at-home‘ bonus, the protests of the so-called ‚unborn-life protectors‘, homophobic and trans-hostile mobilisation against sexual education and anti-discrimination work in schools as well as the acceptance of sexism (example: Brüderle Affair) are only a small selection.
Feminism means resistance!
We celebrate the fierce women and women in combat that show that a free and liberated future is possible worldwide. For example, the women who started the movement „Ni una menos“ against feminicide (murder of women) in Argentina, Peru and Uruguay in 2015, the women who realised the Women’s March in the U.S. against Trump at the beginning of 2017, the women who participated in their hundreds of thousands in the „Black Protest“ against abortion bans in 2016, the women who actively opposed paragraph 218 in 2017, the women who had the courage to become involved in the MeToo campaign as survivors of sexual violence and thus triggered a new discussion on the subject and the women who are active in the revolution in the Kurdish city of Rojava in northern Syria and many more …
We celebrate all those who work daily in women’s and girls‘ support facilities or support refugee women, lesbians, trans and inter persons – individuals who defy a hierarchical gender order, who have overcome borders and have momentarily shaken the fortress of Europe.
We want a society without exploitation, without exclusion, without the sexist and racist status quo. People must have the opportunity to live family- and relationship life as is appropriate within their living circumstances. We want solidarity with and respect for each other.
As part of the International Women’s Day we want to take our protest and our demands to the streets of Düsseldorf: Feminism is Resistance!
We invite you to demonstrate together with us!