The National Federation of Labour, along with other affiliated federations in the National Confederation of Labour were also up in spirit on the theme of 'Women Workers: Face the Challenges of Globalization and
Politics!'. On March 18, songs, skits and poems were presented by participating federations and local unions. In the gathering, former executive director of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women spoke about the current challenges facing women workers in the country, and called for the economic and political empowerment of women workers.
Catching the tail-end of March, which in the Philippines has been decreed Women's Month, NFL undertook a facilitation & communication skills training for its women staff and chosen local leaders. Earlier, NFL sent eight participants, staff and local leaders, to a "Herstory" conference at the University of the Philippines on women and history.
BangladeshCommemoration of March 8 in Bangladesh started a few days in advance with a round-table meeting organised by Karmojibi Nari. From that meeting, a coalition of radical women's groups, Sammilito Nari Samaj, resolved to observe IWD with the voices of women workers.
Sammilito Nari Samaj formed a human chain in Dhaka with thousands of women, young girls and women workers from various industrial areas. It was followed by a march, a discussion meeting and cultural function. The coalition issue a 12-demand declaration, calling for:
1. Appreciation and acknowledgment
of the great contribution of women working in various sectors to the economy of Bangladesh;
2. Full implementation of labour laws, and equal wages for equal work.
3. Laws against harassment, discrimination, and physical and sexual abuses of women at workplaces.
4. Mandatory provision of separate toilets and rest rooms for women workers at workplaces, as well as day-care centres and creches.
Hong KongNo rally, no statement, no public action! The Hong Kong Women Workers' Association celebrated this year's IWD in retreat –– not that they have chosen to keep silent. On the contrary, they chose to stay vocal but in another form. As a new attempt, the HKWWA organised an art workshop together
|with three local women artists, exploring different ways to express the anger, frustration and desperation of women and women workers in the city's economic shake-up. However, the activity was not well received by their members. Organisers at HKWWA were not discouraged. It was a bold attempt and they had a precious afternoon for reflection and sharing by non-verbal means. On March 8, HKWWA took part in a March 8 carnival together with other women's groups addressing a wide range of women's issues like lesbianity, wife battering, sex and sexual discrimination in employment, sexual violence, etc. HKWWA put up a stall installed with their art creation from the art workshop. A large piece of cloth was also put out, inviting the women public to write down or draw out their feelings and views as a woman.|
Vol. 17 No. 2 April 1998