International statement from various anarchist organizations – some being members of the Anarkismo network – about the situation of women in this global health crisis of capitalism.
Originally published by Anarkismo.
“We, women, endure the social and economic global crisis which unfolded as the novel coronavirus emerged and evolved into a pandemic, and yet we suffer from sexist violence too. This is not a novelty in the system of patriarchal domination we live under, nevertheless, it has adopted particular new forms in our actual context. We have found the COVID-19 pandemic has relegated us more and more to the “domestic sphere” and has subordinated us more and more to the masculine figure.”
Sexist violence has increased with the world under lockdown. Away from our families and friends, us female victims of abusers, often our significant others, have been trapped in an infernal situation. The initiatives imposed by multiple governments worldwide to stop domestic violence have been ineffective, and the issue, far from lessening, has been increasing! Lockdown prevents female victims of domestic abuse from abandoning their homes and obtaining help from outside, mainly because they cannot place calls while sharing the same space as their abusers. The increase in femicides has been a reality both in Latin America and elsewhere. Street harassment, on the other hand, was not put under lockdown! Although streets are empty, mandatory confinement did not limit or put a stop to sexist and sexual assaults in public and open places, quite the contrary. With or without a protective mask on, shopping for groceries, visiting the doctor, or going to work, have become ideal activities for sexual offenders to approach, harm, and harass women.
Unpaid domestic work performed by us women daily also increased during the mandatory lockdown. Besides making sure our children are well-fed and do their homework, we have had to work from home, increasing the emotional work we ought to perform. In the countries where social measures were adopted to allow people to remain in their houses, it is women who earn less than men working from home. Therefore, as men become almost the only breadwinners, the distribution of household responsibilities has disappeared completely.
Some women are more affected than others due to the ongoing crisis. The current situation faced by female refugees (who are crammed into their accommodations or refugee centers), WOC (women of color), and women from working-class districts, who are the most exposed to the virus, is worrying. Having mostly informal jobs, they cannot stay confined and keep a stable income. Equally, they cannot have an income if they assume all household responsibilities. Besides this, the militarization of everyday life has exposed both our children and us to police brutality.
Patriarchy and capitalism take advantage of women’s unpaid or underpaid work under the banner of national unity. We are particularly vulnerable to this crisis because we hold more precarious jobs than men and work in the “essential” sector of the economy. Therefore many of us workers, working in grocery stores, as nurses, or as teachers are in the front line, facing the epidemic directly. These economic sectors, where we are the majority of workers, typically have underpaid jobs. However, women working in these sectors have historically fought for higher wages, against discharges and precariousness.
It has been also us, women, who have put in practice solidarity and mutual aid through grassroots organizations. State institutions have not responded to the crisis adequately, so grassroots organizations, mainly composed of women, have created different strategies to cope with the crisis. Among these strategies, there is the creation of supply networks, the opening of soup kitchens and, the fabrication of protective masks, among others.
To the State, to our bosses, to the police, to sexist violence, to racists, to homophobes we say: we won’t give up and we will always fight to make our words and our struggle, against all forms of oppression, visible. We are not in the front line with capitalists, we are in the front line to change society!
☆ Federación Anarquista Uruguaya – FAU (Uruguay)
☆ Federación Anarquista de Rosario – FAR (Argentina)
☆ Grupo Libertario Vía Libre (Colombia)
☆ Union Communiste Libertaire (France)
☆ Organisation Socialiste Libertaire – OSL (Switzerland)
☆ Libertaere Aktion (Switzerland)
☆ Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement – AWSM (Aotearoa / New Zealand)
☆ Anarchist Unión of Afghanistan and Iran – AUAI
☆ Die Plattform – Anarchakommunistische Organisation (Germany)
☆ Organización Anarquista de Córdoba – OAC (Argentina)
☆ Alternativa Libertaria – AL/fdca (Italy)
☆ Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group – MACG (Australia)
☆ Workers Solidarity Movement – WSM (Ireland)
☆ Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira – CAB (Brazil)
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