8 March: International Day of Working Women
Year after year the 8 March - International Day of Working Women - is responsible for a small commercial boom in shops selling clothes, makeup, flowers and all those other products aimed at us women; it often happens too that on this day, State and private institutions provide some sort of treat or reward for certain women, as if this act could lead to an improvement in the working and cultural conditions that both exploit and oppress women in Huancayo, in Peru, or throughout the world. This leads us to ask whether 8 March has been reduced to a 24-hours opportunity for shouting "Happy Women's Day!" to the four winds... [Castellano]
Certainly not, but we must remember the struggle that some textile workers launched on 8 March 1857, when they demanded the right to work and more dignified conditions; the same way that in the year 1908, the struggle began for the 8-hour day, the abolition of child labour and female suffrage. The 8 March, then, is a day of action by and for women who are opposed to any form of submission.
However, it has to be pointed out that the conditions in which we women have to live and work have remained almost intact. Proof of this is the wage gap between male and female agricultural workers in Junín, who earn up to ten soles [US$3] less than their male comrades for the same amount and type of work. It is also important to mention young females, who are not protected by specific labour rights, and whose conditions (pay rate, hours, etc.) in their jobs as street vendors, domestic workers, nannies and so on, are unilaterally decided by the bosses, without any form of protection.
Furthermore, the free exercise of our sexuality is being limited by the State through its laws and by interference from the church authorities in the name of the protection of life, leading many women to die from haemorrhaging or infection as a result of poorly-performed abortions. It must be noted that in 2009, the Department of Health prohibited free distribution of the so-called "morning-after pill", restricting its use to women in the poorest sectors. On the question of education, we believe that this should not be limited to the presence of male and female students in the classroom. The gender equity that the Department of Education claims to promote must be based on relevant training for teachers, alongside increased spending on education and the establishment of secular schools, free of interference from the Catholic church or the military culture that upholds radical male chauvinism.
Thus we recognize the need to fight, today more than ever, against the exploitation of labour by the State (now governed by the APRA government) and the multinational corporations, against the daily oppression experienced by women, and in order to promote the cultural and sexual diversity both men and women alike are deprived of.
Clearly, then, our struggle is a triple one and one that our cultural diversity, our gender and our unity as an exploited class demand of us. For this reason, we will be demonstrating on 8 March: