by D*** M***, Workers Solidarity Federation, 1997
There is a mistaken view that women’s issues are no longer relevant at the turn of the century. Yet it has never been more relevant to make sure that the changes made concerning women’s issues are proper and equal.
It cannot be denied that there has been some improvement in the status of women particularly in this century, but they are obviously not enough since violence against women has skyrocketed and we still earn statistically less than men do.
The basis of this inequality is not just about men disrespecting women, but it stems from the capitalist system which divides the working class because the bosses need a cheap labour force and they can maintain this by keeping women at home to cook for and raise a new working class at no extra cost of the state. This obviously prevents us from improving ourselves educationally and thus financially, so our dependence on men leads to the “justified” oppression of women.
It is unrealistic particularly in South Africa to claim that this is no longer relevant during the 90s. The majority of people in this country are working class and still adhere to the traditional “patriarchal breadwinner” structure.
The families that do have women working are mostly employed as domestic workers and hawkers. This is because they are not equipped to do anything else because of the continuing educational imbalances which deny them to earn a decent living.
Not to be concerned about women issues is not to be concerned with 50% of the human population, and for women particularly, not to be concerned with ourselves, something which affects us directly.
Nothing will change by waiting for the bosses to change things for us. The bosses are not working class women so they obviously don’t know what it feels like. Don’t expect them to sympathise with us.
For this reason we have to fight our own battles. We can only stop discrimination in the workplace and violence against us by organising ourselves and engaging in a joint fight against capitalist systems which oppress us and our daughters.
by D*** M***