Today, March 8, marks yet another year to celebrate women internationally. It offers another opportunity to bring to the fore the significant efforts and roles women have played in the struggle for a world that is both inclusive of women’s rights and better for the entirety of humanity.

Unfortunately, this year’s women’s celebration is taking place against the backdrop of the Ukraine-Russia war, the Israeli-Palestinian war, and the global crises of capitalism with it is the cost of living crisis, which has impacted largely on women, children, and the working class in general. According to a press release by the UN Women on March 1, an estimated 9000 women have been killed since the Israeli-Palestinian war. These figures, sadly, do not even include those who died under the rubble or mention the statistics of children affected by the war. 

In a place like Nigeria, for instance, where the economic hardship has further tripled since the Tinubu regime, working-class women have been the major hit by the growing poverty, insecurity, illiteracy rate, and other surrounding factors in the country. In fact, these economic crises have driven more women into sex work and slave reserves for cheap labour under the desperate need to survive, especially single mothers— further widening the gender pay gap in most workplaces. 

With the high cost of living crisis, which has seen prices of commodities drastically high, and the crises of survival, gender-based violence as well as sexual crimes are further heightened to an alarming degree. In 2019 alone, the National Bureau of Statistics, in its survey, estimated that 30% of women between ages 15-49 have experienced physical violence, and 9% have suffered sexual violence. Most times, these cases are either underreported, silenced or substituted for victim-blaming or moral/religious policing. More often than not, these gender roles and inequality (heightened by the capitalist system and patriarchy) have displaced most women and girls from reaching their full potential as humans. To date, most women are denied the right to inherit properties, the right to equal pay, the right to their body, and the right to abortion, which is mostly criminalised, and there is a general inaccessibility to education and healthcare. 

According to the 2018 Demographic and Health Survey, only 57% of women are literate, compared to 81% of men. In the Northern part of the country, for instance, we see cases of the girl child being given away to early child marriage. In fact, the maternal mortality ratio in Nigeria is one of the highest in the world, with 512 deaths per 100,000 life births and so on. It is depressing, however, to see that despite more than a century of fighting for the recognition of women’s rights to bodily autonomy and freedom of choice, very little or no progress has been made nationally, particularly in African nations where the influence of family, culture, politics, economics, and religion is strong.

While the recent development in France, which had abortion right finally securing a place in the constitution— after the 2022 Supreme Court decision to reverse the Roe & Wade case in the US— is welcomed, it is important to reiterate that only a collective, unifying working class struggle rooted in socialism can bring about a better, inclusive society for all— queer and trans, too. End capitalism and its greed for profit and super profit, which is the root of wars and poverty in the universe today.

While the ruling class has recently made steps to hide the origins of today in mere jamborees and the many empty talks about women’s empowerment, women must come to understand that what we celebrate today is firmly rooted on the premise of the ideas of socialism and the struggles of women worldwide all through history to change the living conditions of the better half of humans and the whole of humanity at large with the enduring lesson that only those who dare to struggle dare to win. Indeed, we have seen this example again and again worldwide; in the struggle against colonialism and military dictatorship and in the cost of living crisis, women from state to state troop the streets to display their anger against the Tinubu regime and the whole of the ruling class.

This day also marked the beginning of one of history’s largest resistance movements, which began on March 8 (February 23, 1917, in the Julian calendar). This strike began with a rally by Russian textile workers against starvation and bread shortages, as well as a call for peace and the end of WWI. The demonstration was a crucial catalyst for the February Revolution, which gained momentum and ultimately to the October Revolution, in which the Bolshevik Party deposed the Tsar, giving workers everywhere in the world the fact that if workers organise themselves under the banner of socialism, and independently and providing leadership to all the other oppressed classes, WE CAN SUCCESSFUL STORM HEAVEN & commence the transformation of society, to meet the needs of all as opposed just feed the capitalists’ greed for profit.

Addressing the different problems that women confront in the twenty-first century when institutions related to family, religion, politics, and society still work to limit women’s potential to just caregivers and mothers, it is important that women— especially from the working class— draw strength from the historical gains of the past where women as Rosa Luxemburg, Rosa Parks, Clara Zetkins, and a host of others led protests, gave their voices and even life to resist the oppressive nature of capitalism and patriarchy.

The capitalist government uses women’s voluntary unpaid employment in various sectors of society as a way to shift responsibility from itself to them. For example, women tend to the elderly, clean the house, and make the house, among other things. These positions within the home are referred to as “roles of women.” The ruling class has taken a hands-off approach to giving social services to the public, such as public dining establishments, laundry facilities, and carers’ homes, among other things, which have sustained the stereotype of women as “homemakers.” This is the story that the class system promotes, utilising culture, religion, and family to further oppress women.

As socialists, we must never stop educating people about the history of IWD, the need to fight for women’s rights, equal access to opportunities, sexual freedom, and an end to the national criminalisation of these rights. To add, as socialist feminist, it is important too to link this specific women struggle with the general call to mobilise all layers of the working class to put an end to the capitalist system for a socialist society led by workers.


Jimoh Abibat

Coordinating Secretary,

MSA Women Committee