The tradition of International Women’s Day were founded in Copenhagen one hundred years ago. In 2010 this day is celebrated all over the world, where women face harder life circumstances and fewer rights than men.
In Bangkok,International Women’s day is, as in many other places around the world, an annual event for both women and men, to demand equal rights for woman and men. This years 8 March the demonstration is held at the Royal Plaza, some of the participants this day are members of the Triumph International Labour Union, who recently won a fight for their rights.
The case of Triumph
Some women in Bangkok are fighting more for their rights than others. Last year the international recognized underwear brand Triumph fired around around 2000 workers in Thailand. According to the Triumph International Labour Union the Triumph management did not have timely and transparent negotiations with the factory workers’ unions as required by international labour standards.
Since then the female garment workers have protested and demonstrated at Triumph factory and at the Ministry of Labour. Demanding the company reinstate them, or at least pay them a fair compensation.
After months of protesting the women started producing their own brand underwear, called Try Arm, at the union office, hoping to start their own cooperative factory.
Victory for the female workers
And at the 28th of February the Ministry of Labour approved the women’s case and decided to support the start of a Try Arm factory.
“They are currently producing at the union’s office while waiting for a new building. The ministry has agreed to provide equipment and loans for their start as cooperative,“ tells Tessel Pauli, from the international Clean Clothes Campaign, which works to improve conditions and support the empowerment of workers in the global garment industry.
A long story
One hundred years ago a group of women in at the Socialist International meeting in Copenhagen decided to start the tradition of an international women’s day, but according to Tessel Pauli, from the Clean Clothing Campaign, the movement started even earlier:
“The original March 8 event happened 54 years earlier in the US, when women from clothing and textile factories staged a protest on 8 March 1857 in New York City. The garment workers were protesting against very poor working conditions and low wages,” she says and continue:
“In a sense, the March 8 movement started with protesting women textile workers too – 150 year on, what really changed?“
– Access to labour markets and to decent work remains limited for women. In 2008, an estimated
52.6 per cent of women were in the labour force, compared with 77.5 per cent of men.
– Serious challenges persist to women’s full and equal participation in senior decision-making
– Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic, with up to 70 per cent of women
experiencing violence in their lifetime.
Source: United Nations Department of Public Information
Read more about International Women’s Day and events in your area.
Garment Workes Start Own Production