Mar 082023

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, 2023 Covid continues to take a toll, inflation and wage restraints attack the ability of working people to maintain their standard of living, and higher interest rates will increase unemployment and poverty.    

During the pandemic women lost jobs at a higher rate than men, along with lost hours of work, lost wages and pay increases, and lost future pension income because of those reduced incomes. Not all those losses have been made up, particularly among those who work in female dominated industries and among older women. 

The period of sharp inflation that followed the pandemic is forcing women, like all workers, to struggle to care for their families, to make ends meet.  Working people are being gouged by rising rents, food costs, and gas prices. Wage increases have fallen short of inflation, exposing the frequent claim that “rising wages cause inflation” as a self-serving lie by the corporations.   Women continue to receive lower wages even when doing the same or similar jobs.  Women continue to be most represented in the lowest wage categories of employment.  Women are still the majority of part time workers. 

First the pandemic, then inflation, and now a looming recession fuelled by high interest rates. Once again workers, and women workers in particular, face job losses, foreclosures, eviction, food banks, hunger and homelessness.

While we struggle to keep a roof over our heads, to put food on the table and the car filled up to get to work, governments across Canada use the crisis to advance policies of privatization and deregulation. Universal health – one of the most important equalizing features of Canadian society – is under attack. Long-term care, social service delivery, public transit, parklands, child care and even education, are all threatened with sale to private, profit-making corporations. 

While the women and the workers of the world suffer, the rich get immensely richer.  During the pandemic, the wealth of all US billionaires grew by 1.3 TRILLION dollars, that’s one million times 1.3 million dollars.  In Canada, the Centre for Future Work reports that since 2019, profits have grown 3 times faster than wages. The profit increases were obscene in oil and gas (up 1000%), mining (up 700%) and in sectors such as banking, food manufacturing, real estate and groceries.

The capitalist system isn’t working. The proof is on display for everyone – unconscionable wealth inequality; poverty, homelessness, and food insecurity; racism, sexism, and misogynistsocial media attacks; a rising tide of homophobic and transphobic hatred; police violence; unending wars and acts of aggression against small, impoverished states; health care systems on the verge of collapse; food systems destroyed by monoculture cultivation and the pressures of multinational seed companies and pesticide producers; global warming;  environmental destruction by corporations which place profits above everything, even the world itself.

But throughout the pandemic, inflation, and now the threatening recession, women and workers have found ways to fight back.  They have organized to demand better wages, paid sick days, and well-funded health care.  They have demonstrated in defense of a better world for themselves and their children. 

The struggle has not ended.  Now we must demand a roll back of prices and rents, an end to attacks on our standard of living.  We must defeat the push to gut public health care and replace it with a two-tier system that favours the rich and provides profits for the business buddies of the politicians they endorsed.  We must struggle for quality, affordable, social housing, for better pensions and social security systems.  We need full employment and living wages.  One job should be enough to provide a living.

While new federal funding is making childcare more accessible in some places, there is still a huge shortage of spaces. Women need to fight for an expansion of free, high quality, public, not-for-profit childcare.

These are the demands of the Communist Party of Canada, and we call upon others to take up these demands.  We will support every effort to advance these demands.

In 2023, Indigenous women keep up the struggle to regain their rights and to stop unwelcome intrusions into their land.  They continue to struggle to end the violence and the killing of their mothers, sisters and daughters, and to protect their children from the continuation of “the scoop” imposed by child welfare systems.  The Communist Party of Canada will support their struggles.

Women in Canada in 2023 need to unite to ensure that reproductive rights are extended, not curtailed.  The rollback of these rights in the US makes it clear – our rights are not eternally protected, and we must remain ready to defend them.  Moreover, we must go beyond the ”right to choose”. Abortion services must be available for reproductive rights to exist (just as the right to vote requires a ballot box or a polling station).  The Communist Party supports the struggle to maintain and extend the right of choice across the country.

Suffering from the impacts of environmental degradation and climate change, women in Canada, and around the world, must struggle to protect the planet from destructive activities. This includes the disastrous effects of militarism – war, death, social collapse, displacement, environmental destruction, and the diversion of social funds from human needs to profits and greed.  Women in Canada in 2023 need to unite to oppose war and participation in NATO imperialist military excursions.  Women need to stand in solidarity with the women subject to sanctions and blockades in Cuba, Palestine, Venezuela, Syria, and Iran (where women are leading the heroic “Jin, jiyan, azadi!, Woman, life, freedom!” movement). Women must voice their support for those in other countries who struggle to achieve what we want – a better future for ourselves and our children, in a world safe from environmental and climate catastrophe and war.

The Communist Party of Canada will support all efforts to unite the forces for peace and environmental and climate protection.

Women in Canada in 2023 will fight back, to regain what has been taken from them, to win what they need and what they deserve.  And the Communist Party will support their fight and it will be part of the fight. 

That is how we honour those who have struggled and continue to struggle for women’s equality.  On International Women’s Day 2023, the Communist Party of Canada pays tribute to the glorious history of struggles for the full equality of women, by committing once more to the struggle for the rights of working women in Canada and around the world.

Central Executive Committee, Communist Party of Canada