For the first time in French history, unions have called a two-day general strike that will last until March 8, International Women’s Day. The general mobilization began this Tuesday (7) and has given rise to widespread protests across the country. There is yet another novelty: since May 1968 the unions have not launched a joint appeal for a general strike that will last more than 24 hours.
Although actions around the date have grown in strength in recent years, these mobilizations are expected to be particularly powerful. Now it is the social movements as a whole, and not just the feminist movement, that are calling for the strike on International Women’s Day.
In recent weeks, there has been an unprecedented proliferation of initiatives and assemblies, as well as meetings to try to broaden the scope of claims.
Links between women’s rights and health
This year, the actions of the International Women’s Day in France will be aimed at workers who will be the first to experience the effects of Macron’s pension reform, many of whom are women – the majority are in informal jobs, without a career plan and inadequate wages. .
A joint press release from eight French trade union confederations and the five student unions is calling for action on the inequalities women are still experiencing in the workplace. “Even in 2023, salaries remain on average 25% lower than those of men”, warn the associations in their statement.
The income gap also persists after retirement, according to unions and student associations. “Twice as many women [em relação aos homens] work until age 67, the maximum retirement age, but they receive pensions that are 40% less. In addition, 40% of women are forced to retire early and therefore receive only a partial pension,” they said.
Trade unions and popular movements are also calling for recognition of the link between the rights of women, workers and health. In a document produced by Solidaires Unitaires Démocratiques (SUD), the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), the National Coordination of Hospital Defense Committees, as well as maternity hospitals and collectives such as Printemps de la Psychiatrie, the organizations call for unity against pension reform.
“On March 7th and 8th, we joined together to block unacceptable pension reform and policies that are destroying our health and social security systems,” the associations declare in their press release.
On the occasion of March 8, the national collective Nossa Saúde em Perigo and 25 other organizations launched a call for various actions.
“Let’s mobilize together to fight harmful policies and fulfill our demands for access to health and social support for all, across the country, and without financial, geographic, cultural, digital, social, gender, origin or administrative discrimination”, summon.
Society’s global approach to women’s rights
A national collective of 31 feminist and social associations, including the French People’s Health Movement, reminds all those who will join the protests that “March 8 is not Mother’s Day or Women’s Day – it’s international day fight for women’s rights”.
The collective’s perception of women’s rights is supported by several local associations and 11 leftist parties. In this way, March 8 of this year has grown to become a key moment to demand an end to social and economic inequalities as a whole.