WASHINGTON -- March 7 -- Green Party members are marking International Women's Day March 8 by affirming the party's dedication to women's rights and protections in the U.S. and around the world.
"The rights and conditions of women, which have never been good, are declining worldwide, said Morgen D'Arc, Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Green Party's National Womens Caucus. "Without the most basic rights protections, the decline will continue. The U.S. has never passed ERA [Equal Rights Amendment], and is one of just a few countries that refuses to ratify CEDAW [Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women]. We must create the pressure necessary to get them passed."
"With Green Parties in over one hundred countries, we are in a unique position to organize for women beyond the borders of the U.S.," Ms. DArc continued. "Globalization has resulted in sweatshop labor, trafficking of women, and many other abuses. It is vital to keep awareness for women alive here and around the world."
Many Greens are supporting the Global Women's Strike <http://www.globalwomenstrike.net> on March 8 and its demand for an end to poverty and to war, a call to "invest in caring not killing," and support for "A Living Wage for All Women's Work & Pay Equity in the Global Market."
Greens have spoken out recently on several issues affecting women:
American women still on average make 75.5¢ for every dollar made by men, down from 77¢ in 2002. Welfare reform under the Clinton and Bush administrations has blamed and penalized poor women and single mothers for their economic difficulties.
"This 'new economy' represents a decline for women who are working longer hours for less pay," said Starlene Rankin, Lavender Green Caucus delegate to the national party and National Women's Caucus co-founder. "Judging economic success by a Wal-Mart profit and loss statement misses the point. The Green Party welcomes the challenge to implement economic policies that will produce creative, meaningful and fairly compensated employment in a sustainable economy."
Pat LaMarche, the Green Party's 2004 Vice Presidential nominee, undertook a two-week national tour of homeless shelters during her campaign in order to draw attention to the homeless, the uninsured, and the poor, especially women, whose problems were ignored by the Democratic and Republican candidates.
Without Social Security, 53% of senior women would live in poverty. Under President Bush's privatization Social Security scheme, women, who have lower salaries and longer life spans than men, would be forced to stretch their smaller private accounts; Greens have called on Congress to reject the Bush plan.
Women in Iraq now face a future under repressive Sharia law, if Iraq reverts to a theocracy as a result of the U.S. invasion; women who live under theocratic governments and oppressive religious laws around the world are denied basic human rights and protection from violence.
"The invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and Israel's treatment of Palestinians have had a devastating effect on the lives of women in those areas, and suffering will spread if President Bush makes good his threats against Syria and Iran," said Julia Willebrand, Co-chair of the Green Party's International Committee and member of the National Women's Caucus. "With American troop casualties now surpassing 1,500, the Iraq war has also killed at least 31 women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces."
Recent news of increased HIV infection rates among women of color in the U.S. has paralleled skyrocketing rates among women in Africa, Asia, eastern Europe, and other developing areas around the world. Greens urge Congress and international bodies to reject the Bush Administration's attempt to limit women's access to HIV prevention education.
Greens call for comprehensive sex education, needle exchange, assistance for poor women, and access to AIDS medicines at minimal or no cost, as well as full reproductive rights for women.
"The Bush Administration deserved the jeers that greeted U.S. delegate Ellen Sauerbrey when she pressed the U.N. to delete access to abortion during the global women's conference on March 4," said Nan Garrett, Spokesperson for the National Women's Caucus. "We urge all Americans, especially legislatures and the courts, to rebuff the Bush Administration's efforts at home and abroad to repeal reproductive rights. Our priority must be to restore access to abortion, contraception, and family planning assistance for young women and women of limited financial means. This is especially important among Greens now, since it has become acceptable for Democratic Party leaders not to support reproductive rights."