European coordinators of the World Women Conferences, 17.04.2018
From 13 – 15.4.18 60 participants met in Mannenbach/Switzerland for the
8th European Conference of grassroots women. Delegations from Albania, Bosnia, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey and the Ukraine were able to meet in the middle of nature with a view of Lake Constance and well supplied by many helping hands. Complemented by numerous written contributions from other countries such as Greece and Spain, the conference gave an impressive picture of the situation and struggles of women in Europe. Everywhere, the women’s movement faces a cutback of hard-won, democratic rights and freedoms. Governments everywhere are moving to the right and more and more women are standing up for their rights.
We learned of the brave industrial action of Bosnian women workers. They camp in front of their closed factory for their workplaces – “neither batons nor silence can break our resistance!” Of the wage struggles of employees in hospitals, day-care centres and nursing facilities in Germany. Only 15% of the women farmers in Switzerland are paid on family farms, 56% are not paid for their work and only 6% head a farm. From the difficult situation in Turkey where arrests and dismissals are commonplace. In Ukraine, where there is hardly any work, the young people have to go abroad. Women also receive 25% less pay, with an average pension of €42. On Women’s Day, the demand was “Protection of Women’s Rights”. In the Netherlands, the cleaning women are active thanks to the cleaning women’s union. In Russia, young women in particular protest despite the threat of arrest. Poverty, unemployment, poorer pay, fewer rights, are absorbed in the organization of everyday life, and that happens in the 21st century! And we heard from the trauma of mass rape as a weapon of war in the Bosnian war, which continues to this day. And the fight to punish the guilty! The national strike organised in Spain on International Women’s Day is the militant response to all this!
The conference positioned itself unanimously for the struggle for world peace and demands:
“Active resistance to the bombardments by the United States, France and Great Britain!
Active resistance to the dangerous escalation that threatens world peace.
Our contribution is to work actively to build a new peace movement. (decision)
The most important decision of this conference is to strengthen coordination and cooperation. We agreed that more effort must be put into building up the women’s movement in our own countries. Therefore we will visit each other and inform ourselves about the website.
The Bosnian workers start by coming to Germany to exchange ideas with workers from many companies. On the weekend at the workers’ platform of the Internationalist Alliance in Hildesheim near Hannover, Germany.
European coordinators of the World Women Conferences
Halinka Augustin/ Netherlands
Susanne Bader/ Germany
Zaman Masudi/ Germany