LIBERTARIAN SOCIALISM/ ANARCHO-SYNDICALISM:

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

What causes women's oppression?


HOW ARE WOMEN OPPRESSED?

Women are exploited and face oppression every day. In the workplace women are forced into low paying, insecure and unskilled jobs. Women's problems do not stop at the workplace.

When we come home they have to face another shift of housework with little help from their husbands or boyfriends.

If this is not enough, women have to deal with violence. Thousands of women a year are raped, beaten or emotionally abused.

WOMEN ARE EQUAL TO MEN

Conservatives argue that women's oppression is natural. They say that women are biologically inferior to men. For example, right- winger's say that women are less intelligent than men are or less capable of doing certain tasks.

There is no evidence that women are inferior to men. This argument is a lie pushed by the bosses!

WHAT CAUSES WOMEN'S OPPRESSION?

The root of women's oppression lies in the division of society into classes.

Women's oppression is in the direct interest of capitalism and the State. By giving women the worst work, with no job security and low wages, the bosses create a super- cheap workforce, which they can hire and fire at will.

Bosses keep their labour costs low and their profits high by hiring women as casual or part- time workers and denying them rights and benefits- such as maternity rights.

Bosses use women's oppression to divide the working class and keep all wages low. Cheap women workers can be used to threaten male workers.

Male workers are warned not to fight for higher wages and better conditions because if they do the bosses will hire cheaper women workers. This causes resentment between male and women workers and prevents them from organising against the real enemy- the boss.

Women's unpaid work in the household supplies bosses with the next generation of workers at no extra costs. Women do the cooking, cleaning and child rearing for free. Women workers also take care of the sick and the elderly in the same way.

The bosses' say that paying women low wages is fair because men are the main bread- winners in the family. But most working class women work as well as do all the housework.

Because women are paid lower wages they are often dependent on men. This can be very serious if women find themselves in abusive relationships.

HOW DO SEXIST IDEAS SPREAD?

Because bosses benefit from women's oppression they want to ensure that sexist ideas spread to the rest of society.

The bosses' powerful media (newspapers, radio, television, books, and advertisements) promotes sexist ideas by providing hateful and exploitative ideas and images of women. The media promotes ideas that say women are inferior and those women's oppression or abuse is justified.

Many working class men start to believe these lies told by the ruling class. They believe that women are inferior to themselves and treat women badly.

DOES CULTURE JUSTIFY OPPRESSION?

Some people say that women must accept their inferior position in society because it is part of their culture. This is very problematic.

Women play an important part in their culture. Women have the right to strive for liberation within in their own cultures. Women have the right to shape and change the cultures to which they belong.

If something in a culture oppresses women, we oppose it- just like we oppose anything that oppresses women.


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