Monday, August 03, 2020

The Women Against Violence Network, Labris - Organization for Lesbian Human Rights, Reconstruction Women's Fund, ASTRA, Roma Women's Network, Woman in Black Serbia Network, Women's Network of Rasina District, Left Summit of Serbia, Lesbian Consultation and Women's Plenum for Strike call for a protest march on March 8th in Belgrade, at Republic square at 5pm.

The protest march will be preceded by a press conference to be held on March 7th from noon to 1PM in front of the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans' and Social Affairs in Nemanjina, 22-26. The conference will include demands on women's labor rights, double burden, women's reproductive rights and violence against women.

Death to fascism - freedom to women!

osmi mart2This year again, we are marching against the oppressive policies of the patriarchy and capitalism which, as women, endanger us. The long-established rights and freedoms left to us by the Anti-Fascist Women’s Front and socialist modernization, which worked to create conditions for the dignified life of women, are under constant strikes of retrograde tendencies of right-wing politics. Since its inception, the Women's Movement continues to oppose all practices that keep women in a suppressed position.

This year, we are joining the initiative of women all over the world, from Argentina to Poland, from Ireland to Mexico, which under the slogan "Women's Strike" are gathering to counter decades of economic inequality, criminalization and police oppression, racial and sexual violence, and an endless global war and terrorism.

Women's work is poorly paid or unpaid, often occurs in worse working conditions and women are constantly exposed to sexist practices within the workplace. They also represent a labor force in a highly unsafe position, forced to do jobs characterized by overtime work, often for a lower wage and without social security. The high unemployment rate and low productivity in Serbia, as a country of capitalist periphery, lead to the re-radicalization of society and the return of patriarchal women's roles.

In times of crisis, women are the first to get fired, while the application of austerity measures also reduces the number of jobs precisely in those sectors where women make up the majority of the workforce, and the services of the same public sector that concerns care, which returns the burden of care to women. An unequal position of women in the labor market leads to their particularly disadvantaged position as the elderly - women over 65 are significantly more exposed to poverty. On the labor market, women with disabilities and Roma women are endangered on multiple fronts.

The capitalist system we live in needs work that is not recognized or acknowledged as such. It's work on the reproduction of labor - everything that is happening in the so-called "private" sphere of home work - taking care of children, the elderly, cooking, ironing, cleaning, washing, etc. Through socialization, these obligations are imposed on women as a domain reserved for them, this division of labor is becoming more and more the only possible and ever-present.

The re-radicalization of a society that is recognized through the strengthening of right policies both in the world and in Serbia makes the violence to which women are exposed to legitimate. Only one form of violence is the constant impact of the retrograde tendencies of the Church and the state on our reproductive and sexual rights. And in this plan, the progressive trends of socialism in the form of family planning policies were destroyed by the restoration of capitalism, which, along with the rise of nationalism, strengthened traditionalist ideas. In the given context, it is not surprising to promote the concept of population policy, which by treating individuals as objects also allows for their abuse. Women, therefore, are reduced solely to their biological, reproductive role, and under the constant pressure of propaganda about the "white plague" and "extinction of the nation". Such policies are primarily nationalistic, and exclude all women who do not fit into the idea of ​​"heterosexual Serbs" - women from non-Serb ethnic groups, especially Roma women and Albanians; lesbian, bisexual, transgender and disabled women.

Instead of providing free and all-available healthcare, education and the possibility of establishing a family, the possibility that individuals really plan the future in accordance with their wishes and allocate their money for this purpose, the state chooses to spend budget funds on financing campaigns with the sole goal, lacking any real basis for planning and creating a family, of in fact only the humiliation of women.

At least 251 women have been killed in Serbia in the past 8 years by a partner or family member. Every third contacted the competent institutions for assistance. In the past few years only a few days after the implementation of the new Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence, two women and one child were killed in front of the eyes of institutions. This data indicates a high degree of society's tolerance of male violence against women, the absence of a timely and comprehensive response from institutions. Male violence against women is a crime! Believing a woman who reports violence to institutions or a person they’re close to is the first step in stopping violence.

That is why today we are marching in the face of international solidarity, anti-fascism, and against all the policies that endanger our - women's - lives. Death to fascism, freedom to women!