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Volume 45 Number 5, March 14, 2015 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

International Women’s Day 2015

Workers' Weekly Internet Edition: Article Index :

The Fight for the Affirmation of Women - Women are at the Forefront of the Fight for a New Society

Building the Workers’ Opposition is a Central Question Facing Women in Society

Activities on International Women’s Day

The Impact on Women of Recession and Austerity

TUC Warns of Low-Paid Jobs Recovery for Women

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International Women’s Day 2015
The Fight for the Affirmation of Women
Women are at the Forefront of the Fight for a New Society

This year, International Women’s Day comes two months before a General Election in Britain. The role of women in society is being hotly debated. It is a fact that women have been taking the lead in many struggles against the fraudulent austerity agenda, which is devastating society. The proponents of this agenda are imbued with philistinism, arbitrariness and irresponsibility. Women have been taking a stand in opposing this agenda. Women are fighting for democratic renewal, enlightenment and a new society in which the role of women is second to none and the rights of all are recognised simply by virtue of being human. Women’s dignity, security and future lies in the fight for the rights of all.

Today’s society attempts to downgrade women as human beings, to put them in subordination to men, to reduce their participation to so-called women’s roles. And yet despite this, and in direct contradiction to this promoted view, women are very much at the forefront of all the struggles going on in society. In fact, women as a collective are a force in society who are taking up and leading the fight to defend the rights of all. Women lead the fight to defend the NHS, women are at the forefront of the anti-war movement and in fighting for an anti-war government, and women are demanding that social programmes be defended and placed centre stage. Women are showing what it means to be political by being at the forefront of the various struggles being waged. Women are at the forefront and the centre in all aspects, and women are taking their place as second to none.

Women are fighting for a just society and in all areas they are taking a just stand. Women are showing what their right to be actually is, and are showing that it is consistent with opening the door to progress, to a new society.

Those that are exercising the dictate over society in imposing the anti-social offensive, which is today expressed in the form of the fraudulent austerity programme, are mouthing words that they are listening to women, or are concerned about the violence and abuse against women and young girls. Yet these forces stand for escalating the conditions which give rise to all the abuses against women. In fact, women are bearing the brunt of this anti-social offensive.

Women are giving the lie to this propaganda through their very actions in fighting for the rights of the whole society. They are taking a courageous stand against the perspective which is being pushed that the issue is to realise individual women’s ambitions to break the “glass ceiling” and take their place as equal partners in the exploitation of society by the big monopolies and the warmongers. Women are taking a crucial stand that No means No! not just on the abuse and exploitation of women and women workers, but on all attacks on society and the public good. The fact is that all over Britain women are taking up leading positions in the struggles of the people against the anti-social offensive and for the victory of a pro-social programme.

In a modern age and a modern society, the most enlightened thinking is needed and this enlightenment demands that women are at the forefront of solving the problems of society alongside everyone else. What is needed is democratic renewal where the new conditions bring commensurately new arrangements. It is wishful thinking to think that societal change can be made without resisting the neo-liberal agenda; and this is why the affirmation of all the struggles to fight this agenda and to take up the building of the new is so important. And this is why, within this context, that the affirmation of fight of women to take up their place in the fight for an anti-war government and in the fight for the rights of all, is so important.

The conclusion is that women must create the conditions for them to take their place in all spheres of society, and in practice, against all the odds that the status quo of capitalist exploitation places on them, they are doing so. In the political battle represented by the present election campaign, women are getting organised at the forefront of the struggles to block the agenda of the big monopolies which have usurped power by force and to put a stop to governments which are in their service, such as that of the Coalition. And in taking up these struggles, women are also fighting for a change in the direction of society, they are demanding a decisive say in the running of society.

Defeat the Coalition and the Austerity Agenda on May 7!

Solidarity with the Role of Women in Taking a Stand for their Rights and the Rights of All!

Article Index


Building the Workers’ Opposition is a Central Question Facing Women in Society

Today, what is being increasingly recognised in the movements of the working class and people is that because there is no serious organised political opposition in Westminster to the “austerity” agenda of the cartel party system people have to take matters into their own hands. This necessity is to build an organised Workers’ Opposition out of the resistance that the working class and people are waging. This means that to be political the workers have to take up their own politics. Which means not that they have to support one party or another, but the workers have to fight for their own interests, they have to fight for what is characteristic of their collectives, the public good, the interests of society as against monopoly right which imposes the rights of a handful of individuals, of the financial oligarchy, above all things.

Essentially, this also means the necessity for the working class to affirm and uphold the rights of women as a collective at a time when women are not only bearing the brunt of the anti-social offensive but are more and more engaged in, and increasingly taking a lead in, the resistance of the working class and people. At the centre of this is the necessity to put the question of the rights of all at the centre of all struggles. Whether in the health service with the right to health care, in education with the right to education, in the rights of all regardless of religion, race, and so on, and in the recognition of the claims the people have on their economy and to make the decision in society, this is the case.

Building the Workers’ Opposition is a central question facing women as it is for every other collective of the working class and people. Women are at the centre of the resistance and taking a leading role, especially in the public services and in health and education. At the same time, women are also fighting within the trade unions and other organisations of the people to affirm themselves. They fight for their rights and for the public good under the most difficult circumstances. The class oppression affects them deeply in society with the anarchy and violence and exploitation that is meted out against women in the most barbaric form, which is reflected in the way women are portrayed in the monopoly media and culture which champions the medievalist retrogression and degradation of women in every way. Women face huge obstacles within the working class movement itself to affirm themselves against the influence of this medievalist retrogression imposed by the ruling elite on society. In the health service for example the vast majority who work in the service are women yet the class oppression continues to discriminate against the right of women to participate fully in the health service and society by refusing to fully recognise their right to child care and all their needs for themselves and their families. First to go in the Coalition government’s fraudulent “austerity” and massive cuts to health budgets has been most of the few concessions won over many years for child care and special leave. On top of this, women who fight to take a lead in the struggles at work in the trade unions are subject to the diktat imposed on society by the ruling elite and have obstacles placed in their way by the old consciousness within the working class movement itself that often applies double standards against women who take up leading positions and who make the decisions that affect their lives and those of their members.

Today, women are entering into the battleground of the election by preparing to stand genuine anti-austerity candidates that stand for the rights of all, to defeat the Coalition government and bring about a situation in favour of their rights and interests and of the whole of society. Women making their contribution to building the Workers’ Opposition as a genuine opposition to the cartel party system of government is the way forward in settling scores with the old consciousness, and affirming the collective rights of women in the whole movement. Building the Workers’ Opposition is a powerful front of work at this time!

Article Index


Activities on International Women’s Day

All around the world on March 8 this year, there was a buzz of excitement and a celebration of International Women’s Day that marked a heightened consciousness of the struggle for women’s affirmation and of the achievements of women at the forefront of the struggle for the rights of all.

The website of listed 362 events for the UK. In many and various ways, events were held marking the struggle against the austerity agenda, including women’s unemployment, underemployment, and precarious and poor quality, as well as low paid, work. There were book launches, meetings, discussions, socials and other events which affirmed the right to be of women.

On March 8 the World March of Women began its 4th International Action. Under the slogan "Women On The March Until We Are All Free" women of the 96 countries where the movement is present were organised to continue denouncing the causes that oppress and discriminate against women around the world. Activities are planned from March 8 to October 17, 2015 (International Day for the Eradication of Poverty), and to build collectively a much needed just world with alternatives. The International Action has numerous activities and actions to be developed in countries and territories in which the March is present that can be followed through the website of the International Action:, and facebook: wmw-mmm-mmf 2015.

In London, a broad discussion and social for women was held on March 8, at the initiative of RCPB(ML), under the title, “Women, Society and Enlightenment”. Following this initiative, further discussions will be held in the future highlighting what it means for women to affirm themselves and be at the forefront in the fight for the rights of all.

The problem remains that while women aspire to a world of peace, security and justice for all, they are excluded from control over the decisions that affect their lives. In this context, it is significant that women are leading politically in standing in the May 7 election to take responsibility for the future of society and to hold governments to account.

Article Index


The Impact on Women of Recession and Austerity

This report, prepared for TUC Women’s Conference 2015, takes stock and looks at how women have fared through recession and austerity. It finds that while progress on some headline measures of gender equality has continued - the employment and pay gap have continued to narrow, for example - some women are facing new hardships and barriers to equality.

These are just some of the findings of this report. It is intended to shine a light on how women have been affected by the changes to the labour market and the cuts in public spending in the past seven years and to help trade unions prioritise action to defend the most vulnerable women in the workplace and society.

To order a copy of the report go to the online publications shop. To receive discounts for bulk orders, download the order form and return it to

(TUC briefing issued: 11 March, 2015)

Article Index


TUC Warns of Low-Paid Jobs Recovery for Women

Around half of the net growth in female employment in 2014 came from women moving in to lower-paid part-time jobs, according to new analysis published by the TUC today (Monday) ahead of its annual Women’s Conference.

The analysis shows that while full-time employment accounted for all of the net growth in male employment last year, for women full-time employment accounted for just 47 per cent of net female jobs growth.

The TUC analysis comes just a week after Price Waterhouse Coopers revealed that the UK has the third lowest proportion of women in full-time employment out of the 27 OECD countries.

The TUC says that women who moved into part-time jobs during 2014 were typically employed on much lower rates of pay than women moving into full-time work.

Over four-fifths of the net growth in women’s part-time employment in 2014 was in jobs like clerical, caring and cleaning work.

The average hourly pay for women working part-time in administrative and clerical occupations in 2014 was £9.34 an hour. And for those working part-time in caring and elementary occupations such as cleaning it was just £8.12 and £6.70 an hour respectively.

By contrast, just over half of the net jobs growth in female full-time employment was in managerial and professional occupations where average hourly pay for full-time women is £17.73 and £18.28 respectively (although around four in ten new female full-time jobs were still in predominantly low-paid occupations).

The TUC says the contrast in pay rates between full-time and part-time work highlight the lack of well-paid jobs for women who do not work full-time, and that across the economy new jobs for women are still far too concentrated in low-paid sectors.

In the past year, the number of women working part-time in professional jobs fell and the number of women working part-time in managerial jobs accounted for just 3.3 per cent of the net growth in part-time employment for women.

In 2014, women were also more likely to move into self-employed jobs than men. Women’s self employment accounted for 88 per cent of net female jobs growth last year and all of that was in part-time self employment.

The most common part-time self-employed jobs for women in 2014 were hairdressers and cleaners which are roles that typically pay below the living wage.

The TUC says that while many women choose to work part-time, there has been a marked increase in the number of women moving into part-time jobs since the recession because they couldn’t find full-time employment.

There are still 300,000 more women working part-time who would like a full-time job than there was at the end of 2007.

While the number of involuntarily part-time workers has begun to fall, it fell at a much faster rate for men (-11.5 per cent) than it did for women (-5.5 per cent) in 2014.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “There is a big divide between women working full-time and those working part-time and far too many new jobs are in low-paid sectors.

“A large number of part-time women are moving in to sectors like social care and cleaning where wages are low and contracts are often insecure.

“Unless we create better-paid part-time and flexible work opportunities, far too few women will see any real benefit from the recovery.”


Change in employment for men and women in 2014

Men Women
Full-time Part-time Full-time Part-time
Change in employment 311,000 -22,000 149,000 170,000
Proportion of net growth 108% -8% 47% 53%

Source: ONS Labour Force Survey. Oct-Dec 2013 - Oct-Dec 2014

Change in employment for part-time women in 2014 by occupation

Change in employment Proportion of net growth
Administrative and secretarial occupations 55,179 31.9%
Caring, leisure and other service occupations 46,423 26.9%
Elementary occupations 43,261 25.0%
Process, plant and machine operatives 9,568 5.5%
Associate professional and technical occupations 9,397 5.4%
Skilled trades 9,264 5.4%
Managers, directors and senior officials 5,652 3.3%
Sales and customer service occupations -2,404 -1.4%
Professional occupations -3,488 -2.0%

Source: ONS Labour Force Survey. Q4 2013 - Q 2014 (not seasonally adjusted data - obtained via spss)

Change in employment for full-time women in 2014 by occupation

Change in employment Proportion of net growth
Managers, directors and senior officials 54,344 33.0%
Sales and customer service occupations 35,797 21.7%
Professional occupations 33,074 20.1%
Caring, leisure and other service occupations 16,206 9.8%
Elementary occupations 15,639 9.5%
Skilled trades 13,619 8.3%
Associate professional and technical occupations 2,333 1.4%
Process, plant and machine operatives -1,215 -0.7%
Administrative and secretarial occupations -5,019 -3.0%

Source: ONS Labour Force Survey. Q4 2013 - Q4 2014 (not seasonally adjusted data - obtained via spss)

- The TUC’s Women’s Conference took place between Wednesday 11 March and Friday 13 March.

(TUC Press Release, March 9, 2015)

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