A total of 80 women from 16 countries jointly concluded to defend the Rojava women’s revolution in the face of Turkey’s attacks at the ICOR Women’s Conference. Arzu Demir recounts the highlights of the conference for Özgür Politika. The full article follows.
The International Coordination of Revolutionary Parties and Organisations (ICOR) recently convened the First Women’s Conference in Germany.
The conference brought together 80 female delegates from 18 organisations in 16 countries, including Mexico, Argentina, Bangladesh, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Britain and Afghanistan. Women shared experiences of struggle while revealing the economic, social and political situation in their countries.
Although each country has unique circumstances, an increase of male violence against women, and an acceleration in government policies that aim to slash women’s gains, are common themes from Mexico to Bangladesh.
Male violence is also on the rise in capitalist centres. For example, men murder at least two women in France every month. Violence and sexual violence cases are also on the rise, and the situation is worsening in other European countries too.
Delegates from Argentina, describing their struggle for the right to abortion, summarised the situation of women, saying, “We struggle to survive.”
After a long fight, women in Argentina have legally secured the right to abortion, giving them the right to make decisions about their own lives, and bodies. Abortion is at the forefront of women’s rights in governments’ cross-hairs. In the United States, the Supreme Court recently overturned a ruling that formed the basis of the federal right to abortion, providing a victory for the conservatives. Women took to the streets to protect their rights.
Child marriages are another aspect of increasing hostility against the female sex. The Bangladeshi delegate underlined this point, saying that 47,000 child marriages were registered on official records alone in the South Asian country in the last few months.
Female circumcision, or genital mutilation, is another critical issue frequently brought up by African delegates.
In the global south, exploitation of women’s labour deepens as women and children are forced to work in environments resembling the primitive, savage period of capitalism. The Chair of Bangladesh Textile Workers Association said: “We are the most oppressed workers in the world. Thousands of workers died in the workplace in my country. We die working. We work at least 60 hours a week.”
In addition to the exploitation created by the capitalist system, women’s labour is also exploited due to the sexist wage system. Women, including in capitalist centres, are still paid less than men simply because they are women. The gap between men’s and women’s wages is expanding instead of narrowing. For instance, in France the difference is 25 percent.
The video message from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) left its mark on the conference. With the Taliban taking over the country completely after the US withdrawal, women lost all their rights, including the rights to education and work. Taliban gangs attacked women who took to the streets in the capital city of Kabul just a few days ago. The situation for women in the country is so imperious that RAWA is reorganising underground schools for girls, just like it did 20 years ago when the Taliban first came to power.
Although the level differs from Mexico to Afghanistan, the Ukraine war also affects the conditions. The Argentinian delegate explains that the country’s economy has worsened with the war. A significant energy crisis also awaits Europe this winter.
The First ICOR Women’s Conference took place ahead of the Third World Women’s Conference of Grassroots Women in Tunisia, scheduled on 3 to 10 September. Conclusions of the ICOR conference will be presented at the 3rd World Women’s Conference as part of the women’s global struggle agenda.
One of the resolutions is to defend the Rojava women’s revolution against Turkey’s attacks. ICOR components will take this conclusion to the World Conference and ask for a tangible resolution on the matter.