International Women's Day 2012 in Hong Kong:
Women migrants march for rights vs social exclusion and eroding livelihood
March 11, 2012
|Photos courtesy of Asian Migrants' Coordinating Body (AMCB)|
11 March 2012
HONG KONG: JOINT LAUNCH OF WOMEN RESISTING CRISIS AND WAR POSTER AND BOOK
Speech by Cynthia Tellez
Women are in crisis. Women are victims of war and
violence. But women – us – also resist.
Women migrant workers are no strangers to the impacts
of the ongoing and intensifying global crisis. Women migrants feel it both
in the country of their employment and their country of origin.
In the country of employment, the labor rights of women
migrants are continuously eroded. Wages are either slashed or frozen,
working conditions are not improved, days-off are denied and abuses are
remain rampant. Social exclusion is the rule and laws and policies are
made to keep women migrants in the gutter and be second- or third-class
Opportunities and services are kept closed from women
migrants. They are contained in stereotyped employment such as domestic
work and service industry while many are forced to be sex workers. Many
women also become victims of trafficking and white slavery.
Meanwhile in the country of origin, widespread
landlessness and unemployment push women to extreme poverty. The economic,
political and socio-cultural structures in home countries maintain a
condition where women from the working, peasant and middle classes are
Millions of women are forced by this condition to go
abroad. Governments of sending countries capitalize on the vulnerability
of these women to keep the flow of labor for export flowing, increase
government revenues from state exaction, shortchange the right to services
of women migrants, and increase the dollar remittance that is needed to
keep the country’s economy going.
While the crisis rages on, war is used by powerful
countries to maintain control of the world and force other countries to
fall in line to their dictates.
The path of war that imperialists – chiefly the United
States – have taken has led to an increase in militarism, fascism and
repression of political and civil rights. Many have been killed, displaced
from their community, unjustly imprisoned, tortured and suffered from
physical and sexual violence. Some of the most heinous crimes in most
repressive of times are committed against women.
But women’s resistance persists and develops.
This action today being led by the International
Migrants Alliance – Hong Kong and the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body is
a testament to the growing militance of migrant women to confront the
condition that oppresses and exploits women. Our most militant salute to
all our fellow women who are here right now!
Today, as a contribution to the continuing resistance
of women, we launch the book “Women Resisting Crisis and War”. It is a
collection of experiences of women as we live in a world in crisis and
war. It is a collection of stories of how we cope and struggle. It is a
valuable source of inspiration as it contains lessons of organizing and
We are very proud to share with you this book from
women from various countries. From Philippines to East Timor, from
Indonesia to Australia and from various other countries, the stories
contained in this book are valuable weapons for the continuing struggle of
women for liberation and democracy against imperialism and national and