Feminism Now!

15 Oct

Hey Sister and Fellow Agitators! Feminism Now at OWS!

The occasion is momentous: For  the first time in decades we feel the breath of a mass uprising against our ears, a possibility taking on mouth, eyes, limbs.  The moment is ripe for broadening our understanding for the sake of justice.  For we will only truly know that a different world is possible when we know what this world now truly looks like.
As feminists we call for clarification of the fact that neoliberal capitalism is also patriarchal to the core. The poorest of the world’s poor are women who also do two thirds of the world’s work and own 1 per cent of the means of production. Women are the other 99%–the vast majority of whom “hold up half the sky” mostly on their under or un-paid backs.
Myth of the Man-cession and Reality that Women are the hardest hit by recession and other economic crises.  
It is true that men suffered 70% of the job loss during the Dec 2007 to June 2009 downturn(Calculations from US Dept of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics).  Well you have to keep in mind the fact that men were already over-paid relative to women. The facts of the ‘recovery’ (June 2009 to September 2011) tell a clearer story. The unemployment rate for women has increased from 7.7 percent to 8.1 percent while for men it has dropped from 9.9 percent to 8.8 percent.  Women-headed households have about one-half the income and less than one-third the wealth of other American households; and further, women are 35 times more likely to be poor than men.
The Capitalist System Depends on Women’s Unpaid Work
Like all “austerity” measures across the globe the Wall-Street sponsored Obama spending cuts loot the public sector (education, health care, human services, government) while bailing out the private corporate sector. Women are hardest hit as unpaid primary caretakers for not only children and elderly but healthy adult men.  Global capitalism is made possible by women’s unpaid work in the household. In the U.S. among ages 25 to 34, women spend about twice as many hours per week (31.7) doing unpaid household work as men (15.8). In Canada unpaid work is estimated to be worth up to 41% of the GDP.  The shifting the burden of domestic labor from elite women to the domestic laborers (maids) culled from subordinate groups of women (immigrants; women of color; poor women) is another part of this same process of exploitation.
The Capitalist System depends on controlling Women’s Reproduction
The reproduction of capitalism’s work force – as in the reproduction of bodies as workers – is a large part of women’s unpaid work.  The erosion of women’s reproductive rights (U.S.) in the past decade# is an assault on women’s bodies that suppresses our economic independence.

The Failing Health Care System is on Women’s Backs
When the nation suffers from the corrupt private health care industry, women are the ones shouldering the care of children and dependent elderly. Getting medical care for their children is the number one motive for women’s need for state subsidized assistance (“welfare”).

Women of Color Hit Hardest by Predatory lending
Deregulation of the market has lead to decades of preying upon the most vulnerable populations, with women of color being the worst impacted.  Women are 32 percent more likely than men to receive sub‑prime mortgages and black and Latina women borrowers are the most likely to receive sub‑prime loans at every income level#.

Domestic Violence Intensifies in Unstable Economy

In a startling new decision by  in an effort to save money, the city council of Topeka, Kansas recently voted to repeal the law that makes domestic violence a crime! Minimal resources meant to help protect women are being sacrificed when domestic violence is actually worsening. Rates and severity of domestic violence increase in times of economic struggle. Financial strain often compels women to stay in abusive relationships. Women whose male partners experience two or more periods of unemployment in a five year period are 3 times more likely to experience abuse.*

Sex Trafficking is Reality for Women in Poverty
“Trafficking occurs in a context of global economic inequalities and a failure to respect the human rights of a majority of the world’s population. Enormous amounts of people find themselves unable to provide for their families and are forced into situations of extreme desperation. The impact of structural adjustment policies is worsening the feminization of poverty; women make up 70% of the worlds’ poor. Women are more vulnerable to exploitation as they are often supporting families, work in unregulated sectors of the economy, have little or no access to education, employment and options for migration. They are often seeking to migrate due to war and internal conflict, poverty, statelessness and domestic violence, but face strict immigration policies and are unable to migrate legally. Often their vulnerability is exploited and they fall into the hands of traffickers”*
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2 Responses to “Feminism Now!”

  1. Katie C. December 7, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    This is really great information, thank you. I was wondering if you could share some sources for your statistics–particularly for women of color as victims of predatory lending and the increase in domestic violence.

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  1. Feminist Call to Action: Occupy Dudeville | Radfem Hub - October 22, 2011

    [...] off this information from FeminismNowOWS and tack it up around your local encampment. Hand it out. Leave it at the info booth. Talk to other [...]

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