March 19, 2013
The National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada (NAPWC) marked International Women’s Day (IWD) by saluting all women who have, and continue to, put the struggles for women’s liberation at the forefront of women’s struggles. As we acknowledged our past gains and achievements, we also recognised that the struggle for our genuine liberation is far from over. Amidst the escalating attacks of neoliberal globalisation which continue to hamper down and claw-back our human rights, full equality and genuine development, we call on all progressive women to take the revolutionary road and advance the women’s movement towards our genuine liberation and emancipation.
For the past two decades, the NAPWC has been steadfast in its stance that the liberation of all women cannot be achieved if the struggles of the most oppressed and marginalised amongst us are not at the forefront. For this year’s IWD, we, Filipino and Filipino Canadian women of the NAPWC, reassert our stance that women’s liberation is not negotiable. As part of our commitment to the global women’s movement, we stand resolute in our cause to help build a militant Canadian women’s movement that will advance the struggles against class exploitation, patriarchy, gender oppression and racial discrimination in Canada. Alongside this, we strive to strengthen genuine solidarity with women in the Global South who continue to struggle for social and national liberation.
For centuries now, women all over the world have been subjected to brutal assaults and all forms of violence—whether physical, sexual, social, political or economic. These attacks are manifested to a personal, institutional, state and to a wider systemic context. In Canada, state-sponsored violence against women comes in full-blown as the Conservative government rabidly pushes its neoliberal agenda. So far, massive cutbacks have shut down numerous social programs such as women’s shelters and rape crisis centres that women rely on. We have also seen an increase of private member bills that aim to reopen the debate on ‘abortion’ to curtail women’s reproductive rights. Worse, the refusal of the current Canadian government to institutionalise a universal childcare program concretely shows its lack of concern for the well-being of all women and children. Currently, Canada stands last among developed countries in terms of access to early learning and childcare spaces.
We, transnational Filipino and Filipino Canadian women in Canada, have long felt the impacts of state-violence from both the Philippine and Canadian states. As the neoliberal agenda intensifies its attacks, we are well aware that the intensity of these attacks are hammered down on and targeted to marginalised women of colour in Canada, particularly on us Filipino women. As Filipino women are forced to leave the Philippines due to conditions of underdevelopment and poverty, Canada since the 1980s has recruited more than 100,000 Filipino women to toil under its anti-woman, racist and anti-worker Live-in Caregiver Program (LCP), a neoliberal labour import program that Canada implemented to address its childcare and eldercare crisis. It stands today as Canada’s de facto national childcare and eldercare program for middle to upper-class Canadian families.
As women who have been prime targets of violence in this country, we condemn and do not accept all of the atrocities that are continually being waged against us. We do not accept the violence waged against thousands of live-in caregivers who are deported when they do not meet the stringent requirements of the LCP. We do not accept the violence of forcibly and systematically separating mothers from their children and families. We do not accept the economic injustice that forces countless Filipino women to go into off-street prostitution or to become Mail-Order Brides in this country. We do not accept the acts of a certain class of women, whose “equality and liberation” flourishes at the expense of our exploitation and oppression. We do not accept that although we have come here with a certain level of development, we are continually undermined as permanent sources of cheap labour and virtually relegated as modern-day slaves. As such, we will continue to resist, fight and change this path that has been reserved for us.
We, members of the NAPWC, encourage all to join the struggle for women’s liberation. Together, we can fight and pave a new path that will end violence against women and patriarchy. The past months have borne witness to the strength and resiliency of women to lead the struggle for genuine social change. We salute and stand in solidarity with the women-founded Idle-No-More movement fighting for Indigenous sovereignty, with the protests of Indian women against rape culture and with all women fighting and taking the revolutionary road to realise our rightful place and entitlement that we, women, hold half of the sky.
Scrap the anti-woman and racist LCP! Universal childcare now!
Down with patriarchy! End violence against women!
Stop the cuts! Expose and oppose neoliberal policies!
Down with imperialism! Long live international solidarity!
Organizations under the NAPWC:
Philippine Women Centre of B.C.
Philippine Women Centre of Ontario
Philippine Women Centre of Quebec