International Women's Day Centenary Events
On the occasion of the centenary of International Women's Day on 8th March 2010, AIPWA held demonstrations in various states and districts across the country, raising the slogan - 'Salute 100 years of Women's Liberation Struggles! Onwards to Achieve Liberty, Equality and Dignity!' Women participating in these events protested against price rise, growing violence on women and state repression, and also against the shameful display of patriarchal disruption of the Rajya Sabha on the tabling of the Women's Bill.
In Delhi, AIPWA along with AISA participated in a March to Parliament from Mandi House organised by a coalition of several groups under the banner of the Centenary Celebration Committee. Women from various jhuggi clusters, women workers as well as students from JNU, DU and Jamia Millia participated in the March. Health workers of the All India CGHS Employees Association (Women's Wing) led by the Women's Wing General Secretary Rajkumari Ujjainwal also marched along with AIPWA in the procession. The demonstration here was addressed by AIPWA’s National Secretary Comrade Kavita Krishnan and JNUSU Vice President and AISA leader Shephalika Shekhar among others.
In Bihar, a huge rally was organised jointly by AIPWA and Parivartan Kendra in Patna on 8 March. The rally began from Gandhi Maidan and reached the Legislative assembly gate at R-Block crossing. Hundreds of women from Patna and Vaishali districts participated in the rally. The main demands of the rally were- (1) Pass the Women’s Reservation Bill without any further delay, (2) Police and Judiciary should be alert and sensitive towards the issues of violence against women, (3) Closing down the liquor shops opened by the State government in Bihar. The rally was led by comrades Meena Tiwari, Saroj Chaube and Shashi from AIPWA and Varsha Bela from Parivartan Kendra.
On 9 March, another protest demonstration was held by AIPWA in Patna to protest the disruption and violent attitude shown to the Women’s Reservation Bill in Rajya Sabha. The march started from AIPWA office on Birchnad Patel Marg and concluded at the Dak Bangla Chowraha.
The West Bengal unit of AIPWA organized a militant, well decorated procession on 8 March in Kolkata. Slogans like 'Pass the 33% Reservation Bill Now, Fight Against Price Rise, Violence and State Repression, Withdraw Operation Green Hunt' rent the air as hundreds of working women marched from College Square to Dharmatala.
In Jharkhand, more than a thousand women from AIPWA, Hul Mahila Ekta Manch and Mahila Ulgulan Sangh jointly held a militant demonstration in front of the State Legislative Assembly in Ranchi and blockaded the main entrance for 3 hours demanding passage of the Women’s Bill and an end to Operation Greenhunt. The AIPWA members for the protest here came from three districts – Ranchi, Lohardaga and Gumla. Several protest demonstrations comprising hundreds of women were held in Giridih district - in Bagodar, Saria, Birni, Rajdhanwar and Jamua. Demonstrations were also held at Garhwa and Ramgarh. In Dhanbad the AIPWA members sat on a dharna at the Randhir Verma Chowk.
In Lucknow 500 women members of AIPWA marched with their banners, flags and placards from City Station to Shahid Smarak raising slogans against the Mayawati’s rule under which attacks on women have increased. The AIPWA leaders held Mayawati’s Administration officials responsible for the large number of deaths of women and children in the stampede at an Ashram at Mangarh in Pratapgarh. This march was led by AIPWA’s National VP and UP Convenor of Tehrik-e-Niswan Comrade Tahira Hasan, CPI(ML) CC member Com. Krishna Adhikari and AIPWA State President Com. Vidya Rajwar. AIPWA’s UP State Secretary Com. Premlata Pandey led the 700 strong march in Gorakhpur. Comrades Kusum and Kripa Verma led the march of 350 women in Varanasi, Namrata Tiwari and Shubhra led the march of 400 women in Allahabad and Anita Rajput led the march of 350 women at Moradabad.
In Chennai, a demonstration was held on March 8, highlighting the issues of working women. The demonstration which was led by Comrade Devaki, State Vice President, AIPWA, Kuppabai, State VP, AIPWA, and Shenbagavalli of Villupuram.
In Tirunelveli 75 women held a demonstration demanding homestead patta among other demands. Thenmozhi, State President, AIPWA, addressed the demonstration. In Kanyakumari, a convention was held in which 200 unorganised women workers participated. Mary Stella, State Secretary, AIPWA, and Anthony Muthu, State Vice-President, AICCTU addressed the convention.
In Tanjore a demonstration was held in which dozens of rural women participated and demanded passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill and controlling price rise.
In Rajasthan, hundreds of AIPWA members from across the State- Udaipur, Banswara, Ajmer, Kishangarh, Pratapgarh, Chittaurgarh, Bhilwara, Tonk and Jhunjhunu – held a militant demonstration at the Chief Minister’s office in Jaipur. In the morning the women marched in a rally from Shaheed Smarak to the CM’s office where they raised spirited slogans and held a mass meeting. AIPWA National President Comrade Srilata Swaminathan along with other AIPWA leaders led the rally and demonstration here.
Later an AIPWA delegation also met the CM Ashok Gahlaut and presented their list of demands which include extending NREGA to all the districts and guaranteeing 50 percent employment for women with minimum wage at Rs.200/8hr, NREGA to be extended to town areas and urban centres also with 50 percent jobs for women, those living in unauthorised bastis be urgently provided land pattas and all eviction attempts be curbed immediately, old age pension and rations cards for all needy women, and urgent appointment of a Chairperson for the State’s Women Commission.
In Chhattisgarh, a rally and public meeting was organised by AIPWA at Bhilai in Durg district on 8 March. The rallyists demanded strict implementation of labour laws and re-inducting all retrenched sanitary women workers. The women also condemned the growing attacks on women by 'security' forces in the name of combating Maoism. A meeting was also held at Bungoli village in Raipur district and at Jagdalpur (Bastar district) on 8 March.
On 8 March in Assam, an AIPWA Rally was held at Guwahati with 1500 women from different districts of Assam. The procession marched through the city and culminated in a mass meeting addressed by AIPWA Assam leaders and leaders from tribal (Mising and Tiwa) women's organisations as well as CPI(ML) Politburo member Rubul Sarma. A seminar was then held at Guwahati Press Club on 'Globalisation and Women Movement' organised by Jonaki Bat (the AIPWA publication).
In Andhra Pradesh, a human chain was organized in Anantpur, West Godavari. In Vijaywada R Nagmani held a meeting with 50 ASHA workers. Women's Day protests were also held against price hike, violence on women and state terror at 8 mandals of East Godavari. On the eve of IWD a convention was held at Mylavaram on 7 March, in which nearly 150 women participated.
In HD Kote (Mysore district), as part of the Centenary International Women’s Day celebrations, a Women’s Struggle Day was observed by AIPWA and Samata Vedike on 14 March. A district level convention on “Agrarian Women Labourers and Gender Awareness” was held at Ambedkar Bhavan in HD Kote taluk of Mysore district. More than 300 women from Sogalli, Uyyamballi, Sathigehundi, Nanjanathapura and other villages took part.
Senior Samata leader Meera Nayak spoke about the relevance of International Women's Day for the rural toiling women. A gender awareness programme in the form of the game of musical chairs was co-ordinated by Dr Shanthi And Dr Roopa Rao.
Dr Rati Rao, Vice President of AIPWA, initiated an interactive session on 'NREGA- Experiences of Women’ highlighting their struggles for job cards, wages, projects and so on. Many women from AIPWA and AIALA shared their experiences of struggles related to NREGA. Women from Sathigehundi shared their struggles for opening a fair price shop and the subsequent struggles against corruption and irregular supply of rations. Mallige, Gowri and Nandini from ‘Mahila Horaata Okkuta’ also participated in the programme and rendered revolutionary songs.
Com Javaraiah, district secretary of the party spoke about the need for enhancing the political edge of the women’s movement and called upon the women to join the struggle against the communal BJP government in the state. The convention was concluded with a revolutionary song by Samata team.
The convention was preceded by preparatory meetings at Uyyamballi on Feb 27 with 80 women, at Sathigehundi on March 3 with 50 women, in which Dr Shanthi and Dr Rati Rao addressed the gathering. Com PA Kumar and Com Kemparaju and panchayat members also actively participated.
At Bangalore, Mahila Horaata Okkuta, an umbrella organization of more than 25 women’s organizations in Bangalore, has taken shape to carry out joint programmes during Centenary Women’s Day. As part of the Okkuta, AIPWA, led by Gandhimathi, State Secretary of AIPWA, took part in a convention on unorganized women workers in NGO Hall, Bangalore, on 7 March and a cultural evening at Samsa Bayalu Mandira in Ravindra Kalakshetra on March 8.