As 8 March approaches, women in Turkey are again expressing their rage at violence and oppression and again demanding equality, freedom and peace. As DİSK Basın-İş, we salute these actions that will result in the liberation of women – and men.

As 8 March approaches, women in Turkey are again expressing their rage at violence and oppression and again demanding equality, freedom and peace. As DİSK Basın-İş, we salute these actions that will result in the liberation of women – and men.

DİSK Basın-İş engages in organization in a number of different areas. Printing houses typically employ men, but in the other press sectors in which we boast members, a significant percentage of employees are women. But in the history of Turkey’s press, the number of women editors-in-chief doesn’t even surpass the fingers on one hand. One of the rights that employers have stolen from media workers through the process of officially registering them with different companies is the right to daycare. As such, women who are crushed under societal mores that load all the responsibilities of parenting onto their shoulders are also forced to work without this right, which legally must be offered to every worker. Many women are threatened with dismissal if they do not relinquish their right to extended maternity leave. Additionally, changes to severance law that have been proposed by the government would strengthen the hands of employers to engage in such activity even more.

At the same time, new measures are planned to enslave women to an even greater degree by resorting to tired lines about the responsibilities of family and motherhood. Through practices such as flexible work and the like, women will be deprived of their right to paid labor, insurance, unionization and collective bargaining to instead be confined to the home, where they will be unable to earn their own wage but only make contributions to the family budget in such a way that they will have no recourse to ending their marriage if necessary.

Around the world, the working class and the poor have entered a process of feminization; the worst jobs under the most unbearable conditions are reserved for women. Under these circumstances, we note with sadness that women have been unable to assume their necessary place in the agenda or the ranks of the labor movement. Today, in terms of the arenas in which women suffer from insufficient representation, the management of unions is even worse than the Turkish Parliament. Our own confederation of DİSK cannot escape such criticism; in the confederation’s most recent congress, just 42 of the 396 delegates wore women, while proposals for a central women’s commission were rejected.

We celebrate 8 March World Women’s Day with the hopes that the next 8 March will arrive with less violence against women, more women members, more women administrators and more rights for all women.