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Contribution of Communist Front (Italy)

Feb 26, 2024



On behalf of the Communist Front (Italy), let me greet the sister parties attending this video conference.

In Italian society, inequality between women and men is still a tangible reality. The capitalistic crisis affects proletarian women in a double way and significantly increases existing inequalities, demonstrating the fragility of the social gains achieved in the past, which collapse one after the other in the face of the capitalists' attack on wage levels, on working pace and conditions, as well as on what remains of welfare.

Women's employment in Italy has a number of critical aspects. According to Eurostat data, in Italy the employment rate of women aged between 20 and 64 in December 2022 was 55%, well below the EU average of 69.3%.

Furthermore, in our country there is a gap in absolute figures between the male and the female employed population. In fact, employed women are around 9.5 million, whereas employed males are around 13 million. In addition to this, as the data show, one woman out of five leaves the job market due to motherhood. This aspect is particularly relevant as it shows the difficulty for women in combining their life needs with their job. In fact, over half of the decision to leave work, 52%, is due to family care needs.

Female employment is also characterized by wages significantly lower than those of male workers with the same position and job. Furthermore, there are strong differences between males and females by sector of activity and by job performed.

From this point of view, low female employment is characterized by largely precarious jobs in low-wage or less strategic sectors, with a considerable diffusion of part-time employment, which concerns just under 49% of employed women compared to 26.2% of men.

The data on accidents at work also reflect the concentration of female employment in specific sectors of activity. In Italy, in fact, the sectors with the highest percentage of accidents suffered by female workers are healthcare and social welfare, where 74.2% of accident victims are women, public administration, with around 55%, education, with a share of over 50% and the domestic and family services sector (domestic workers and carers), with 89.9% of female victims out of the total number of reported accidents. The data on accidents also reflect the geographical distribution of female employment: 60% of the accidents of which female workers are victims occur in the Northern regions, followed by the Center with 20.6% of cases and the South with 19.2 %.

These data show a labor market configuration typical of an economic, social and cultural system where gender discrimination is a consolidated structural factor.

In Italy we are also witnessing an exponential growth in harassment and murder of women in their family and social context that - we believe - is closely related and consequent to the cult of possession and private property produced and fueled by capitalism, which generates new forms of oppression and exploitation within social and family relationships, even going so far as to monetize the reproductive function of women. Commercial surrogacy (womb for renting) is an example of this.

We cannot forget, furthermore, that the ongoing wars mostly affect the least protected subjects, such as women and minors, as dramatically demonstrated by the genocide underway in Gaza, where from October to today, out of 29,000 deaths, 70% are women and children, murdered by the Zionist government of Israel.

We, the communists, affirm that inequality is not a consequence of gender differences. As Aleksandra Kollontai stated: "It is absolutely necessary to emphasize women's anatomical differences and their ability to give birth (this last social task will continue to fall on them, even when equality of rights is definitively acquired). The fact that women are not only citizens and labor power, but also give birth to children, will always place them in a particular situation. The proletariat cannot allow itself to ignore this essential reality when it comes to developing new ways of life".

Previously, Marx and Engels, in a draft of "The German Ideology" stated that "the first division of labor is that between man and woman for the procreation of offspring".

We learned from Engels' subsequent work "The Origin of the Family, the State and Private Property" how in primitive societies, during the struggle for survival, the gender-based division of labor did not generate positions of social superiority or inferiority. Only later, with the development of society divided into classes, the gender-based division of labor began to generate the social subordination of women, just as the reproduction of the labor power from a "natural task of women" in favor of the whole of society turned into a private service carried out by them within the corral of a "privatized" family.

Engels scientifically explained how socialism overcomes gender inequalities: (1) the abolition of private property and the common ownership of the means of production put an end to the material basis of the existing monogamous patriarchal family and “the single family ceases to be the economic unit of society”; (2), «Private home management is transformed into a social industry. The care and education of children becomes a matter of public interest».

This is what is prevented today on the structural level by capitalist relations of production and on the superstructural level by the EU and bourgeois governments' policies on family, while it was actually achieved in the country of the first socialist revolution under the leadership of Lenin and Stalin. The only way to abolish class and gender inequalities is the overthrow of the capitalist system and the construction of socialist-communist society which alone allows the formation of new, free and equal women and men.

For this reason, the Communist Front (Italy) is committed to bringing scientific socialism and its approach to the question of women's emancipation within women's struggle movements, to make them class-oriented, in order to encourage the participation of female workers to the construction of the communist party, the only tool for the liberation of women and men from exploitation and class and gender oppression.