A referendum on the 8th or #strike4repeal on March 8th

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Feminists in Ireland are upping their game against the 8th amendment and indeed against the Irish state. The newly formed group, Strike for Repeal, are preparing to ‘strike’ if a date is not set for a referendum to repeal he 8th Amendment by International Women’s day on March 8th.

In a press release the group has said “The strike will not be an industrial strike in the traditional sense but could include taking an annual leave day off work, refraining from domestic work for the day, wearing black in solidarity or staging a walkout during your lunch break. We also encourage any business owners in a position to close their services at no cost to workers, to do so for all or part of the day as a solidarity action.”

In the context of the farcical attempt of the government to delay any efforts to Repeal the 8th through the Citizens Assembly a strike should certainly cause concern for our anti-women TD’s. The strike is the greatest source of leveraging power that workers have; as workers we are exploited, as women workers we are exploited further. A gendered pay gap of 20% currently exists in Ireland, meaning that for every euro a man makes a women earns 80 cent. Outside of the workplace women still do the majority of the house and care work. This work is unrecognised, often termed an invisible form of work and it means women are working a double shift for the wage of one.

The 8th Amendment is barbaric, forcing 9 people a day to travel for an abortion, countless more taking illegal pills at home, one women given a forced c-section at 24 weeks, another who was brain dead being kept on a life support machine despite her families wishes because she was pregnant, and resulting in the deaths of Bimbo Onanuga and Savita Halappanavar. It is a tool used by the state to control women and pregnant people; to force either pregnancy or exilt upon them. Having control of our reproductive systems, choosing if and when we have children is fundamental to our freedom. Having control over our bodies is essential to gaining control over our lives, not having them dictated to us by bosses or politicians.

Support for the Repeal the 8th has grown exponentially in recent years. Aoife Francis from the group stated: “We call upon the Government to take direct responsibility for what is a violation of human rights. We believe a national strike is not only possible, but an incredible opportunity to show the sheer power of our movement, and to put pressure on the government to call a referendum. In the past 5 years, support for repeal has grown to a level that the government can no longer ignore.”

We have them surrounded, now imagine winning!

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