Feminist struggles in a Europe of austerity

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Feminist mobilization has taken off in recent years in Europe (and worldwide). The improvement of the organisation of the movement (decentralisation, diversity of modes of action, internationalisation), the strong mobilisation of the new generations, the rise in general awareness on the theme but also the violence of neo-liberal and authoritarian attacks targeting women, should reinforce this dynamic.

By Alter Summit

The feminist struggle raises many questions: the right to life and against sexist violence and choice over one’s own body, the sexual division of labour (subjection of so-called "reproductive" work to so-called "productive" work), women’s economic conditions (salaries, pensions, discrimination at work).

A social struggle...

Women are at the forefront of precariousness. They are therefore the most exploited workers, to the great benefit of employers. Many of them work part-time and in poorly paid sectors (hotels, cleaning, care assistants, etc.).

In its hegemonic version, the feminist struggle is a tool to defend public services (education, health). However, thanks to the importance of mobilization, right-wing and liberal sectors claim to be demanding women’s rights. Before seeing this as mere opportunism, it is in itself a victory for the movement. Accentuating its anti-liberal/anti-capitalist approach will be the way to marginalize formal and opportunist postures.

... but also political and cultural

By denouncing an institutional and cultural patriarchy, the feminist struggle questions the very foundations of the Europe of yesterday and today, its history and its myths. Through its militant practices (non-mixing, benevolence at the heart of the organisation), the feminist struggle questions the very heart of organisations and social movements and pushes them to change. More broadly, feminist thinking is becoming more and more articulated each day with ecological issues and the fight against racism.

A constant mobilization

The international mobilization is centred around two dates: 8 March, World Women’s Rights Day, and 25 November, World Day against Gender-Based Violence.

This year, 8 March, which falls on a Sunday, will be an opportunity to criticize Sunday work, which is becoming more and more widespread (retail, culture, health). It will be a day that advocates the strike of work, consumption, care and study.

Some figures for EU countries

- 3000 women killed each year in Europe
- The wage difference between men and women for the same job: 16%.
- The difference in terms of pensions: 40%.
- Hundreds of thousands of clandestine abortions despite the legalization of abortion
- On average, 80% of women do household chores compared to 35% of men.

Information on March 8, 2020
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