Socialist Alliance activist and feminist Liah Lazarou gave the speech below to Adelaide’s Reclaim the Night rally on October 26. * * *
Women and girls are among the hardest hit by the anti-working-class policies of Britain’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government. A report published in The Guardian earlier this year showed that rising taxes and cuts to social spending have hit women three times as hard as men. Women aged 50-64 have been hit hardest by rising unemployment since the coalition came to power. It is up 31% compared to an overall rise of 4.2% in the country (to 2.6 million people).
In what one longstanding Perth feminist activist described as the biggest Reclaim the Night march in Perth in 20 years, over 300 people — women, children and men — rallied and marched in Fremantle on October 26, for an end to violence against women. Gathering at Pioneer Park, participants heard incoming Murdoch University women's officer Amy Hoogenboom argue the need for consent education. “You need consent every time,” she said. “Consent is not ‘no’ or ‘not now’ or ‘maybe’”.
Globally, millions of women experience violence — whether in the form of intimate partner violence, rape and sexual coercion, stalking, trafficking, forced prostitution, exploitation of labour, or other violations of women's bodies and psyches. The high prevalence of violence against women both reflects and reinforces women's lower status in society. To end the violence against women, we need to confront both the violence directly and the structural causes of women's lower standing that makes women vulnerable to the violence.
Feminist and Socialist Alliance activist Margarita Windisch gave the speech below at Melbourne’s Reclaim the Night rally on October 20. * * * A big thank you to the Reclaim the Night 2012 collective for organising today and giving us the opportunity to get our voices heard in public Tonight is our night — we are here to reclaim the night and our right as women to fully participate in this society of ours without the fear of sexual violence — here on Sydney Rd, all over Australia and across the world.
Reclaim the Night Sydney released the statement below on October 24. * * * Reclaim The Night, an annual worldwide campaign against all forms of violence against women, will hold its annual march this Sunday October 28 at Hyde Park at 7pm. “In the wake of the Jill Meagher case, it is more important than ever that we highlight the effect violence against women has on our community,” Reclaim the Night spokeswoman Annabel Osborn said. Speakers at the rally this year include:
“Violence against women is everybody’s business, and it has to stop!” proclaimed Margarita Windisch, one of the speakers at the Reclaim the Night march in Melbourne on October 20. One determined heckler from the crowd could not stop her as she passionately defended the rights of women and children and “played the gender card” proudly for women everywhere who have been “forced into this gender game”.
Cuba’s ongoing socialist revolution has consistently shown it is adaptable and capable of renewal in the areas of feminism, environmental sustainability, political participation, health and education. Despite the constant and concerted campaign by the United States to undermine the Cuban Revolution, it has achieved many great outcomes, including universal health care, universal education, eradication of illiteracy, low levels of birth mortality and low levels of HIV and AIDS.
A debate about sexism erupted when female prime minister Julia Gillard attacked the opposition leader in Australian parliament for his misogynist attitudes. It was a reminder that even after all the advances in the past 40 years, many women still face high rates of domestic violence and sexual assault, they shoulder the burden of child care and housework, in the workforce they make up most casual and underpaid jobs while earning 70% of what men earn, and battle daily with sexism in culture and relationships.