One hundred twenty-eight years after the first protest of New York city’s women garment workers, against sweatshop work, the life and working conditions of women in most parts of the world are still the same and thanks to capitalism have worsened in some ways.
In recent years, due to World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund and World Bank regulations and various free-trade agreements that are being forcefully imposed upon nearly all nations, exploitation and modern slavery is rampant and hits more vulnerable parts of society – women and children – harder.
For instance, in Quebec (Canada), some women workers are forced to work ten-hour workdays and are harassed during work time. This has caused stress, body and back pain and other side effects.
For another example, due to the detrimental effects of unemployment on women and particularly on single-parent mothers, many of them are forced to become homeless and hence abandoned.
In December, ABC News reported that many new homeless people are women and children. The report showed women participating in a draw every night to win a place in a shelter. Those who do not win are those who die in the streets in cold weather. In Minneapolis, 92 such people died in the streets last fall, and this merely in autumn weather conditions.
In eastern Europe and the so-called developing countries, living conditions of many women are really sad. A BBC report last year told how unemployment and poverty are making many girls and young women easy prey for cheap labor and sex-traders. A United Nations report says that each year more than one million young girls are sold to multi-billion dollar sex-trade operators, ending up in prostitution.
These are only a few examples of the ever-worsening human life under capitalism. To restore and promote a decent life for all humankind, we have to unite and struggle against capitalism, the main culprit in endless human misery.
H. Salari is a doctor and a member of the Communist Party of Canada (Quebec). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org