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International Women's Day in Asia 1998
Speakers alerted that because of unhygienic conditions at the time of pregnancy, almost 25,000 women died during child delivery.

Solidarity messages were given by representatives of All Pakistan Trade Union Federation who emphasised the importance of women participation in unions. They put the reason plainly, "How can workers can get their goals if women who make up half of the total population are isolated from the mainstream struggle." Talking about the joint struggle against imperialist and exploitative powers, they stressed that male workers had to understand and accept the value of work and services which women are paying as woman and as workers.

On this occasion, several resolutions were passed, which called for an end to discrimination meted out to women at work place and passing of laws concerning day care centers, sexual harassment and the right to form unions for women workers in factories, service sector, brick kilns and as well as agricultural workers and women at home who are working as domestic workers.

The resolutions also called for the enforcement of labor laws, a monthly minimum wage of Rs 6,000 (US$140) for women workers, 35% of seats in assemblies and all decision making bodies be allocated to women, and devising of ways to put the country's economy on the right track other than privatization and related policies.

The resolutions were passed unanimously.

The seminar was also a social event. Women's needs, issues and

hardships were expressed and shared in skits and songs. Later the participants staged a demonstration in front of the Punjab Assembly building and raised slogans against unemployment, high inflation rate and other social injustice particularly inflicting women in Pakistan.

Thailand

Celebration of IWD in Thailand was a concerted effort of a wide range of labour and women groups including Labour Council, Labour Federation, District Labour Unions, Labour Unions of State Enterprises, Women Workers' Development Group, etc. It was also joined by scholars in the field of labour issues.

Hard hit by the financial crisis and IMF bail-out, Thai workers are threatened in all aspects of life. The IWD rally, which was attended by 2,000 women and men workers from various industrial areas, carried strong messages concerning the crisis of mass lay-off. The workers marched

from Democrat Monument areas, past Rajadamnern Avenue, the historic street of fights fro democracy, heading towards the Government House to submit a proposal to Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai. The proposal included the following requests:
  1. Set up a committee with government and women worker representatives which has the right to disapprove unreasonable plant closure and lay-off. The Labour and Social Welfare Ministry should be responsible for job placement for laid off workers, and a social security fund has to be put in place. To solve immediate crisis, an initial fund should be set up with about 20,000 million baht from the World Bank loan. An additional 3% will be collected from employers, employees and government to expand on the said fund.
  2. Stop privatising the state enterprises because workers and the poor have already suffered a lot from currency depreciation and higher cost of living. Further

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Vol. 17 No. 2 April 1998