DON’T BUY ME FLOWERS

8th of March is one of the peak days for flowers sales across the world. The advertisers work tiressly to make men understand how important it is to buy flowers, chocolates or something else to show the true appreciation they have for the women in their lives.

But the International Women’s Day is something quite else than yet another market success for the chocolate and soft toy industries. For hundred years the International Women’s Day has been held point out and to press for the demands of the international women’s movement. From right to vote, to equal pay, to end gender violence or gender segration, there are still much to be fighting for.

Women in Europe are still more likely to have higher education, but lower pay than their male collagues. Women are generally less likely to be in employment, and when they are, they are almost four times more likely to be working part-time. This leads to lower pensions, and higher poverty rates for women. Women are less represented in politics, in parliaments and governments, and in leadership positions in business, where the change could be started. According to the  New York Times, there are less women CEO’s of major companies than men named John!

Globally one in three girls and women have experienced violence. Female genital mutilation is on the increase in parts of the world, and forced marriages are the every day reality to millions of girls across the world. As the UN Women have pointed out, there are grave reasons not to celebrate on the 8th of March, but to continue to campaign, educate, and demand.

The pay gap remains at 16 per cent in Europe, and the labour market segragation continues to feed to that. Women are more likely to work in the public sector, making them the more likely victim of austerity measures; lay-offs, downscaling and pay cuts. Today, in Europe, we look especially closely to Greece, where the austerity policies have hit the hardest. The cleaners that became the symbol of the austerity and the Syriza victory, have now returned to work, but the real effect of the change on the public services and women remains to be seen.

We, as the Young European Socialists, continue to call for the end of the austerity policies for they betray those of our societies who are disadvantaged as it is. The women, young people, those in need of the services are affected the worst. We call for strong policies to target the gender inequality in employment, education and economy.

We want more women in leadership positions both in business and in politics, and we want more men to participate in the care work and child care to create more balance between the public and private spheres.

We want to celebrate the 8th of March and the great achievements of the international feminist movement, but we will only do so with reference to the fight that must go on until we have achieved our ambition of fair, equal societies. The fight we need every woman – and man – to join us in today, tomorrow, and every day until it is won!

So don’t just buy us flowers, but join us for a fight!

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