Strike A Better Balance

Last year, the first Global Women’s Strike mobilized women from 64 countries. From sex workers in London to grandmothers in India, women stopped working to protest the growing inequities of women’s work. On the streets of Kaabong, Uganda, women carried pots on their heads and babies on their backs to protest the unwaged work that women do in the home.

One year later, on March 8, 2001 (International Women’s Day), women will strike again, thanks to London-based feminist activist group The International Wages for Housework Campaign. The strike was inspired by Irish women’s groups who have long called for a strike to address unfair labor practices. The reality is that women do about two thirds of the world’s work for only 5 percent of the world’s income. “If the business community is going to globalize, so are we,” says campaign founder, Selma James. “We’re asking women everywhere to stop working for as much of the day as they can manage. Our priority is not corporate greed but human need.” Organizers have listed reduction of developing nations’ debt, accessibility to clean water and housing, and protection from violence among their demands. Meanwhile, more than $800 billion is being spent on military budgets worldwide, while only $80 billion is needed to provide the world with basic life essentials, according to the U.N. Development Program.

Strike organizers realize that all women cannot afford to take the day off, but every woman can participate symbolically. Last year, Argentine women placed brooms outside their homes to signify solidarity with their striking sisters. At the very least, try to take a long lunch break and leave a note stating that you’re not out to lunch, you’re out to strike. For the latest events, contact the campaign > P.O. Box 11795, Philadelphia, Pa. 19101 > (215) 848-1120 > http://womenstrike8m.server101.com

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