Puducherry: On March 8, Puducherry units of AIPWA, AICCTU, RYA, AISA jointly took out a massive street corner campaign in urban and rural areas of Puducherry. The campaigners demanded the following from the Narayanasamy Congress government:
(i) Strict implementation of Supreme Court orders to shift liquor shops in Highways (beyond 500 meters)
(ii) Waiver of Micro finance loans to all self-help groups in order to alleviate the sufferings faced due to disastrous rain of last year, continued drought of the current year and loss of livelihood due to demonetization.
(iii) Stop moral policy against women students in educational institutions
(iv) Equal wages to women workers as that male worker
(v) Implement the minimum wages and stop compulsory employment of 12 hrs.
(vi) Abolish the inhuman contract Labour systems
(vii) Immediate implementation of MNREGS in drought hit Puducherry and Karaikal districts.
(viii) Discontinue night shifts to women workers in factories.
Delhi: In Delhi, a joint International Women’s day march was called by several women’s organization including AIDWA, AIPWA, Purogami Mahila Sangathan, NFIW, RAHI foundation, Saheli, Jagori, Nari Shakti Manch, National Alliance of People’s Movement and others. Several women, students and youth marched from Rajiv Chowk to Jantar raising slogans demanding freedom of women and against patriarchy. The streets reverberated with slogans of – “International Women’s Day Long live”, “Patriarchy down down”; “women want azaadi- from moral policing, from patriarchy, from inequality, from exploitation, from violence and sexual harassment”; “Down with anti-women and anti-labour laws”. Slogans were also raised against state violence and Section 377 that continues to criminalise homosexuality. The march culminated in the form of a public meeting at Jantar Mantar. As people gathered in Jantar Mantar, reports were received about arrest of women and activists participating in women’s day march in Ahmedabad. This action of the Gujarat government was strongly condemned by the organizing committee of the march. Several women activists from various organisations addressed the public meeting. Com. Shivani speaking on behalf AIPWA said that even as the governments and corporates conspired to erase the history of women’s struggle for equality that signified 8 March, the slogans of equality that were raised during the march-demanding equal rights including equal pay and recognition of domestic work as labour and against patriarchy, showed that these efforts will not be allowed to succeed. She talked about how while on one hand the central government raised the slogans of Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao, on the other hand, the members of the ruling party were indulging in trafficking of girl children. While on one hand it was being projected that capitalism would bring in women empowerment, the state of women workers in several factories like the garment factories in Tamil Nadu or cloth factories in Kanpur was deplorable with there being severe curbs on their freedom and they were subjected to strict surveillance and policing. The government talked of women empowerment but continues to refuse to hear the demands of ASHA workers, mid-day meal workers and Anganwadi workers who work for pittance amounts in extremely difficult work conditions. Speakers from various organisations emphasized on the need to strengthen women’s movement against the fascist powers in today’s time. Activists from various organizations sang songs of protest and a group also performed a street play on women’s issues.
Bihar: In Bihar, AIPWA observed 8 March as ‘Sankalp Diwas’ and sankalp diwas programmes were organized in several villages and mohallas. The sankalp diwas was to resolve to strengthen the struggles for right to education for girls and for fighting against increasing attacks on women and especially girl students. During the sankalp diwas, the women demanded that perpetrators of rapes must be punished and not provided political protection as seen in some cases. They also demanded that the government must ensure quality and accessible education for all girls and that campus be made free of fear. Women also organized marches carrying banners condemning attacks on education, safety and freedom of girls.
Jharkhand: On 8 March, a massive march was organized by AIPWA in Sariya (Giridih) against the increasing attacks on women’s freedom, safety and rights under the Modi-Raghuvar governments at the centre and the state.
In Ranchi, AIPWA organized a meeting of AIPWA activists in CPI (ML) office on the 107th International Women’s day and also to observe the 100th year of the Russian Revolution. The activists recalled the historic significance of 8 March 1917, remembering the historical strike by women workers demanding food, raising calls for bread and how this movement against war and demanding food spread across Russia. Drawing inspiration from the historic struggles, the activists resolved to mobilise and organize all working women against increasing attacks on women and against the anti-democracy fascist rule. A march was also taken out against violence on women, against rape of girl students in Ranchi, Deoghar, Garhwa and against patriarchy at Firayalal Chowk.
International women’s day programmes were also organised by AIPWA in Rajavommangi in East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh.