Struggle for Women's Emancipation

marxism poster women 1 Image public domainA growing feeling of alienation, injustice and oppression is feeding a general movement of rebellion among women against the existing state of affairs. The awakening of millions of women, especially the younger generation who feel a burning indignation about the discrimination, oppression and humiliation to which they are subjected under an unjust system is a profoundly progressive and revolutionary phenomenon that we should celebrate and support with the utmost enthusiasm.

It goes without saying that Marxists stand one hundred percent in favour of the complete emancipation of women. There cannot be the slightest hesitation, ambiguity or doubt about this. We must fight against the oppression of women at all levels, not just in words but in deeds. Under no circumstances can we allow the impression that this is somehow a secondary issue that can be subsumed under the general category of the class struggle. It would be fatal for the cause of Marxism if women believed that Marxists are prepared to postpone the struggle for their rights until after the victory of socialism. That is entirely false and a vicious caricature of revolutionary Marxism.

While it is true that the complete emancipation of women (and men) can only be achieved in a classless society, it is equally true that such a society can only be achieved through the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism. Women cannot be expected to put to one side their immediate, pressing demands and await the arrival of socialism. The victory of the Socialist revolution is unthinkable without the day-to-day struggle for advance under capitalism.

– From Marxism vs Identity Politics

Protests erupted across Turkey on Saturday 20 March after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a decree withdrawing Turkey from the Istanbul convention, an international treaty to prevent and combat violence against women. The withdrawal has sparked anger, thousands have taken to the streets at protests throughout the country. 

In the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard, and the subsequent police suppression of a vigil in her memory, protestors have taken to the streets across Britain. We must mobilise to overthrow this entire oppressive, violent, and repressive system. Speakers from Socialist Appeal (British section of the IMT) will address these events at a free public rally today at 7PM GMT, register here.

Over the past week, Britain has experienced an outpouring of anger and indignation after the body of 33-year-old Sarah Everard was discovered in Kent. She had been abducted and murdered while walking home from a friend's house in South London. An off-duty policeman has been arrested and charged with this heinous crime. On the weekend, a peaceful vigil in Clapham Common was brutally broken up by police, using COVID-19 restrictions as an excuse.

Marxism has always been at the forefront of the cause of women's emancipation. The 8th of March (International Women's Day) is a red letter day for us as it symbolises the struggle of working class women against capitalism, oppression and discrimination throughout the world. In this article, we outline the first steps given by Marxism to fight for women's rights, what the first successful revolution meant for the emancipation of women, conditions of women under capitalism both in advanced and Third World countries and pose the question of how to eliminate inequality between men and women for good. Originally published 8 March 2000.

To mark this year’s International Working Women’s Day, the International Marxist Tendency is organising events across the world over the next two weeks (starting today), to discuss the history of women’s oppression and the need for a revolutionary solution based on class struggle!

With the rise of the feminist movement and the struggle against women’s oppression, sections of both the left and the very same feminist movement have revived the idea of “wages for housewives”. They classify housework carried out by women as “unpaid” work, claiming that capitalists cut costs by relying on this unpaid labour. Where does Marxism stand on this issue?

In the evening of Friday 7 November, 20-year-old Bianca Alejandrina, known to friends as Alexis, did not return home after she had gone out to sell electronic cigarettes in the suburbs of Cancún, in Quintana Roo, southeast Mexico. On Sunday, her dead body was found. She had been quartered. Her remains had been put in plastic bags. Thousands of youths took to their streets of Cancún and other cities to protest against this brutal murder.

A woman belonging to the lower-caste Dalits died in a Delhi hospital on Tuesday 29 September after being raped and tortured by four men in the Hathras district of Uttar Pradesh (UP). Public outrage is sweeping the nation. This gruesome and inhuman attack has once again highlighted the barbarity poor and lower-caste women face on a daily basis in India, which is rooted in the rotten capitalist system.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all parts of society and has thrown hundreds of millions out of work globally. However, a closer look reveals that women have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Women workers play a key role in health care, child care, elder care, and teaching while experiencing low wages, insecure employment, and domestic and sexual violence—all of which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

The pandemic and the economic catastrophe it has triggered are threatening to roll back decades of gains in terms of women’s liberation. Capitalism in crisis can offer only counter-reforms. To end oppression, we need socialism.

The following was written by a comrade whose sister tragically became a victim of femicide, which has become a plague on Mexican society. The comrade demands justice for her sister, and every other victim of the rotten capitalist system, which has violence against women written into its DNA. Not one more woman murdered! Justice for Sara Abigail and all victims of femicide!