In a few days, the world over will gather to celebrate and honour the memory of women through various activities.
The effort to recognise and honour women is not a new phenomenon. It traces as far back as the 1900s from socialist inspired movements across the globe. On February 28, 1909, the Socialist Party of America organised a Women’s Day in New York City, and the following year in August 1910 in Copenhagen, the International Socialist Women’s Conference declared 8 March as an annual commemoration in memory of working women. Since then, March 8 has constituted a significant day in the socialist movement calendar to celebrate and honour the working women of the world. Celebrated victories may also be traced from the women’s suffrage of 1917 in Russia, the 1920 women’s suffrage in the United States, and to the rise of the movement for women’s liberation of the 1960s. From the mid to end of the 1960s, the feminist movement, and consequently the United Nations in 1975 adopted March 8 as the International Women’s Day.
Despite the victories and advances to push for women’s rights, what has, however, been evident is the growing class divide, increasing oppression and challenges experienced by women. Globally, and on the African continent, the condition of a number of women remain largely unchanged. For example, the rising gender-based violence in Zambia points us to the root of women’s oppression as largely embedded in their nuclear families, and in their biological roles as producers. This has resulted in their oppression and unnatural subordination roles within the home space, and at societal level. In the second quarter of 2019, the Zambian police recorded 6,139 gender-based violence cases country wide. Of the 583 child defilement cases reported, 573 were against girls.
Thomas Sankara once noted: “There is no true revolution without the liberation of women.” To address the struggles of the working class, the Socialist Party (SP) has at its fore revolutionary programmes seeking to advance the liberation of women. The party promotes values of Justice, Equity and Peace (JEP) as key to uplifting Zambian women, and to extending a hand of solidarity to the working women across the world.
The SP has identified literacy programmes as one of the many ways to begin to uplift the Zambian women. The United Nations data notes illiteracy as more glaring among women than men. In Zambia, almost a quarter of women (about 25.7 per cent) reached secondary school in 2015.
Through the Fred M’membe Literacy programme, the party is advancing knowledge and political education that targets both urban and rural women. The literacy programme – hailed as one of Party’s critical and detailed programme – points to the history of class struggles, to women’s struggles, to the present day conditions of the working class, and ways to truly, and collectively struggle for a better Zambia.
In the days to come, the Socialist Party will join the rest of the world to commemorate the International Women’s Day. The Socialist Women’s League has lined up activities across the country to celebrate and honour the memory of the working women. Leon Trotsky once said: “In order to change the conditions of life; we must learn to see them through the eyes of women.”
Issued by the Socialist Women’s League Team. 1 March 2020.