By Claudia Raven
There have been many women’s strikes: 26 August 1970, the United States; 2 October 1975, Iceland; 3 October 2016, Poland; 19 October 2016, Argentina.
On each occasion, thousands of women went on strike to protest against inequality in the workplace and at home or fight for reproductive justice.
In Poland, 98,000 people gathered on Black Monday to protest a near-total ban on abortion, and won a stay on the far-right and Catholic Church-led plans.
Now, in Ireland, Strike4Repeal have taken inspiration from the Polish feminist movement and called a women’s strike on 8 March 2017, International Women’s Day. They are campaigning for the repeal of the Eighth Amendment, a section of the constitution which equates the life of a pregnant person with the life of a foetus, limiting abortion in Ireland to circumstances where there a “real and substantial risk” to the life of the mother exists.
A significant majority of the Irish population are in favour of repeal, but the government are currently unwilling to hold a referendum. Twelve Irish women travel for abortion every day, predominantly to the UK, where provision is beginning to be restricted due to high demand and pressures in the NHS.
There have been high profile deaths, but also many hidden ones. Getting and taking abortion medication carries a 14 year sentence.
As the strike will be held on International Women’s Day, there has been a significant international solidarity response. In the UK, there will be demonstrations in Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge, Durham and Glasgow. A global postal campaign #post4repeal has also begun, with the aim of bombarding Enda Kenny.
How to support #Strike4Repeal
• Buy a postcard from where you are and a stamp for Ireland
• Address it to: Enda Kenny, Department of the Taoiseach, Government Buildings, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
• Write Enda a message – is there access to abortion where you are? Let him know! Tell him why you want abortion rights in Ireland, and demand he calls a referendum to repeal the 8th amendment • Take a picture of your postcard and message then share, share, SHARE it!
Post it here, post it on your own Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, wherever – use the hashtag #Post4Repeal so we can find it easily • Post that postcard! #Post4Repeal • Share it again on International Women’s Day, the 8th of March.
Use #Strike4Repeal and #Repealthe8th to link in with the wider movement
• Check out http://www.facebook.com/repeal8global/ to see what other action you can take