A hundred years ago in Russia, huge numbers of women used International Working Women’s Day to strike for food and better conditions, and sparked a movement that would ultimately overthrow the tsar and completely reorder Russian society. This year, there are many events being organised in the spirit of 1917, calling for mass action from below to change conditions for women living in poverty or without access to basic rights and services. We collect together below some radical actions you can get involved in, from demonstrations against austerity and anti-abortion laws to film screenings and readings from revolutionary women’s history. All events, unless otherwise stated, are happening on Wednesday 8 March.
Throughout the day in a town near you (including Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, Durham, Manchester Oxford, Cambridge and Ashbourne, see all locations here)
Women across the UK and Ireland will be striking to demand the repeal of the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution, which gives explicit recognition to the right of an unborn child to life, effectively constituting a ban on abortion.
“The Strike for Repeal is a direct action that will take place on the 8th March 2017. Our demand is that the Irish government call a referendum to repeal the 8th Amendment by the 8th March. If not, we will strike.”
International Women’s Strike
“The call for this International Women’s Strike (IWS) follows mass protest in 2016 against men’s violence in Argentina and the criminalisation of abortion in Poland, and the women’s marches against Trump which mobilised millions in the US and 60 other countries, including 100,000 in the UK. Women in over 40 countries are taking part so far. We will take time off from waged and unwaged work – the whole day, hours or minutes – to protest, march, flash mob, put a broom outside our door, hang a banner from the window. To join, call a huddle where you are or come to ours, work out your demands and actions, publicise them – we can help.”
Death by a Thousand Cuts – Women Under Austerity Demo, Downing St, London, 4 – 5:30pm
“Fourth Wave: London Feminist Activists are organising a demo on International Women’s Day, drawing attention to the impact that cuts have had on women. Although the big ticket items getting everyone’s attention are Trump and Brexit, it’s important we don’t forget the consequences of austerity; the harm that’s been done and the harm that will happen as a result of future cuts.
This International Women’s Day, women are being encouraged to attend corporate events with the aim of reaching equality in the boardroom. But many women don’t have the luxury of worrying about becoming CEO – they’re trying to decide between eating and putting the heating on. Thousands of women in the UK face unimaginable pressures every day and reaching leadership positions under capitalism is far from a priority. In solidarity, we’re planning a demo against unjust, ideologically-driven cuts to public services that are disproportionately felt by women. Join us!”
‘Norma Rae’ screening and discussion, 88 Fleet Street, London, 7 – 8pm
“Join London IWW GMB and Feminist Fightback to celebrate International Women’s Day with a film sceeening, discussion and some food and drink. We’ll be talking about the past, present and future of women in the labour movement – on strike at work and in the home.”
Syria’s Rebellious Women film screening and discussion, Rethink Rebuild Society, Manchester, Sunday 12 March, 6.30 – 9pm
“As part of International Women’s Day, Rethink Rebuild Society would like to invite you to a film screening of Syria’s Rebellious Women by award-winning journalist, Zaina Erhaim. Filmed for over 18-months in war-torn Aleppo, the film shows women who have been fighting on the front line alongside men, or are responsible for food and essential supplies or stitching up the wounded in field hospitals.
Erhaim’s series shows that far from being victims, Syrian women are fighters in the struggle for a free Syria. They battle, not just the destruction brought about by the Assad regime, but also the patriarchal attitude in some segments of their community towards women on the frontlines. Also meet and hear from Syrian women who will share their personal battles, struggles and the challenges they have overcome while the conflict ravages around them. “
(See more events in Manchester here).
Women Against the State meeting, Ron Todd House, London, 6 – 8pm
“Unite London & Eastern Women’s Committee invites you to celebrate International Women’s Day 2017 – and hear how, in a context of inequality, the state goes to any lengths to spy on, slander, frame (through smears and accusations of violence) beat, torture and murder those forces which challenge its protection of a privileged group.”
Oxford International Women’s Festival, locations across Oxford, 22 February – 11 March
A range of events across Oxford “celebrating women’s strengths, successes and solidarity”. Includes author events at Waterstones, wellbeing sessions and discussions on topics including the housing crisis and working class movements in Oxfordshire.
A Celebration of International Women’s Day, Marx Memorial Library, London, 7.30 – 8.30pm
An evening of ‘Revolutionary Readings’ written by and about women, by The New Factory of the Eccentric Actor.