International Women’s Day celebrated by the Maharashtra State Electricity Workers Federation (MSEWF) in Pune

Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent

International Women’s Day was celebrated with great enthusiasm in Pune by the activists of the Maharashtra State Electricity Workers Federation (MSEWF). Com. Bharti Bhoyar, President of the Women’s Front of MSEWF, presided over the function. A large number of women from different departments of the electricity sector in the state took part in the event.

The meeting started with the inspiring history of the International Women’s Day. The speaker explained how the Day has a militant history of women fighting for their right to vote. A massive strike was organised by working women in New York, America in 1907 to demand better working conditions and increased salaries. At the same time women were also fighting for their right to cast votes. In 1908 a fire broke out in a garment factory in New York, killing hundreds of works. Workers rose up in struggle against the horrible working conditions, and women participated in it in large numbers. It was the biggest strike till that point and was called “the rising of 20,000”. In 1910, more than 100 women delegates from 17 countries attended the Second International Conference of Socialist Women in Copenhagen, Denmark, where it was decided to celebrate 8th March as International Women’s Day every year. The rendering of the militant history of International Women’s Day got a thundering applause from the participants.

Women representatives from different departments of the electricity sector came up to the stage and presented their views and expressed their respect for all the women who have come to the fore and fought for the rights of women. Excellent poems were recited and slogans echoed during the entire meeting. Few women also read out self-written poems to celebrate their friendship and the long association that they have shared as members of the MSEWF. A few cultural performances were also arranged and performed.

The Chief Guest, Sheena Agarwal from Purogami Mahila Sangathan (PMS) gave a detailed slide show on the women’s movement and importance of participation of women. Beginning with the militant history of IWD she went on to give examples of recent struggles where women participated in great numbers and took up leadership roles, like the struggle against NRC-CAA, the kisan struggle, fight against privatisation, etc. The power that unity of workers and the strength that it further gains with participation of women was highlighted through the examples of the struggles of the RINL and Electricity Workers in Vishakhapatnam and J&K respectively.

The speaker further explained that the existing system and economy is oriented towards implementing the agenda of the capitalist class, towards maximising their profits. As a result, workers have to keep fighting against the anti-people and anti-worker’s policies. The important lesson declared at the Second International Conference of Socialist Women that, “Liberation of women is not possible without the liberation of the society” was reiterated. Importance of women fighting along with men and coming together in the spirit of “An attack on one is an attack on all” was very well received by the audience.

Com. Bharti Bhoyar, President of the Women’s Front of MSEWF, congratulated all the women present for organising this wonderful event. She appreciated the speakers and encouraged them to come ahead and speak. She talked about the need to organise to fight against privatisation. She highlighted the importance of active of and participation of women and even their taking up leadership roles in struggles.

The encouragement given and the effort taken by Com. B Pohekar, Vice President, Com. I Vabale, Joint Secretary and other leaders of MSEWF to organise this important event is worthy of emulation!

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