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International Women’s Day: Labour Demonstration in Jakarta

International Women's Day: Labour Demonstration in Jakarta
International Women's Day: Labour Demonstration in Jakarta

Thousands of workers will demonstrate in front of the Indonesian Parliament Building on Tuesday 8th March 2022 to coincide with the commemoration of International Women’s Day.

“The mass action comes from various organisations such as labour unions, farmers’ unions, domestic workers, and women’s organisations,” said Labour Party President Said Iqbal in a written statement, issued Monday 7th March 2022.

Iqbal stated that the oppression of working class women continues in various forms. In Indonesia, this suppression can be seen from the increase in the contract work system, outsourcing, and other freelance work systems.

This phenomenon is still one of the main problems faced by the working class, including female workers. These issues include a work system filled with uncertainty and vulnerability, wage uncertainty, the basic rights of workers not being guaranteed, as well as various barriers to association.

“In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, these problems are getting worse,” he said.

Iqbal said that women also had to bear the domestic burden which was multiplied in the midst of having to earn a living due to the increasingly difficult economic situation. The impact of the absence of state protection in the form of adequate social security is also increasingly felt.

He added that many workplaces do not provide adequate protection to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The increasing number of layoffs also makes it difficult for female workers to maintain their daily lives.

Moreover, the Omnibus Law, or the Job Creation Act, and its various derivative regulations will only complicate the life of the working class,” he said.

Labourers are also urging the government to immediately control the prices of basic necessities, food sovereignty for the people, implement agrarian reform, ratify ILO Conventions No. 183 and 190, and provide equal political space for women.

Gender equality to eliminate discrimination 

The United Nations announced the theme of International Women’s Day for 2022 as “Gender equality today for a sustainable future”. According to the BBC, this will recognise how women around the world are responding to climate change. However, there are also other themes.

The International Women’s Day website – which says it is designed to “provide a platform to help shape positive change for women” – has chosen the theme  #BreakTheBias and asks people to imagine “a world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination”.

Celebrations around the world

International Women’s Day is a national holiday in many countries, including Russia, where flower sales double for three or four days around 8th March. In China, many women are given a half-day leave on 8th March, as suggested by the State Council.

In Italy, International Women’s Day, or la Festa della Donna, is celebrated with the giving of mimosa flowers. The origin of this tradition is unclear but it is believed to have started in Rome after the Second World War.

In the US, March is Women’s History Month. The presidential proclamation issued each year honours the achievements of American women.

This year, celebrations will look a little different due to the pandemic and virtual events are expected to take place around the world, including this one hosted by the United Nations.

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