On behalf of the New Communist Party of Yugoslavia and on my own personal behalf, I would like to thank the organizer, sister Communist Party of Greece for the invite and effort they put into organizing of this meaningful seminar.
The question of women’s rights and their position in society is one of the oldest questions that mankind has to answer, and one that has remained unanswered till this day. In his work "Woman and Socialism" August Bebel has stated "women were slaves even before the establishment of slave society". We can say that despite the efforts made in many parts of the world, a woman still hasn’t overcome her slave status.
Today is certainly a fine occasion to remind ourselves of great examples of women like Jenny Laura Marx, Clara Zetkin, Rosa Luxemburg, Alexandra Kollontai, fighters and revolutionaries, whose example inspires even today and encourages us to keep on fighting.
Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and socialist European bloc, position of all the workers has worsened considerably. On many levels working class has been pushed back to the state similar to the one from the period between the First and the Second World War. In all these tragic occurrences female population suffered immensely.
In socialism, women assumed and assume important positions in each sphere of a society. A woman in USSR stepped into space, and today a woman only steps further into uncertainty.
Women still make up the biggest part of the 1.3 billion poor in the world, three quarters of female population older than 25 in Asia and Africa is illiterate, and women earn approximately 30-40% less than their male counterparts for doing the same jobs. Women are still more often victims of abuse and women and children perishing due to imperialist wars all around the world makes up the dominant part of gloomy statistics of civilian casualties.
The revival of capitalism in our region resulted in women becoming a cheap and almost unprotected workforce. Data indicates that one out of three women in Serbia is a victim of physical abuse in family and one out of two victims suffers from psychical abuse. The number of employed women in Serbia is officially 16% below the number of employed men (42% i.e. 58%). Women rarely have jobs with full working hours unlike men and on average they work 5 years shorter than men do. A larger number of the unemployed in Serbia consists of women (52%). The difference between how much men and women earn is around 3.7% in favor of men. Women receive smaller pensions than men (22%).
Marx and Engels wrote "The degree of the emancipation of women is the natural measure of general emancipation".
Unfortunately, many communist and working parties and movements distanced themselves from fight for women’s rights which comes as no surprise since we know that many of them distanced themselves from principles of Marxism Leninism.
By the means of extracted decisions on participation of women, their roles are leveled down to those of supernumeraries of bourgeois democracy. How much attention is actually drawn to female population is apparent from data which states that the largest number of the unemployed comprises female gender, not to speak of virtually non-existent rights of pregnant women and mothers. I will say only that the government of Serbia measures the position of women through statistics of the so-called "club of businesswomen", thus including women who are on important positions in the sphere of economy. Whether the holder of the capital is a woman or a man neither changes the essence of exploitation nor does it humanize it…. Capital has only one face – that of an exploiter. Let’s remind ourselves of the iron lady – Margaret Thatcher, as one of the best examples of this statement
Ten days ago, the current Prime Minister of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic attacked women in Serbia on the basis that they give birth so that they don’t have to work, while simultaneously the government of Serbia advocates increase of birth rate. Not to mention that position of women and especially mothers is leveled down to that of beggars.
The solution to female question depends on economic and class relations in the society, i.e. in order for women’s position in society to improve, exploitation of both genders should be abolished first, and in that way the need for women subordination will be abolished. Such changes have no effect if education isn’t carried out at the same time as enablement of the active role for females in all social processes. A woman should lead an active role in all forms of fighting for the right to build a new society, to replace the role of an extra in a "silent film" with a role of a female fighter. That is our important task to which we must dedicate completely.
The question of equality of women and fight for establishment of that equality is inseparable from the struggle of working class to abolish exploitation of a man conducted by a man. It has yet to happen that bourgeois gives away any right freely. All acquired rights of women and workers alike were achieved only through many years of struggle. Holding on to that spirit, let us fight together until victory – onwards!
True equality of genders is impossible without social revolution!