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Elephant in the Room – Feminist Union Organizers in Sri Lanka and Indonesia

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Direkt download link on archive.org

This show was inspired of the recent strikes in Bangladesh concerning the garment industry. Due to difficult labor conditions and a lack of enforced work safety regulation the textile industry and especially the workers in those factories are facing many problems. One year ago we conducted an interview with two women from Sri Lanka and Indonesia working in unions with a feminist and queerfeminist mindset. Dian and Chamilla paint us a picture of the fight they are fighting and tell us about the demands they are making in their unions. These two extrodinary women told us first hand about their experience with union work in the garment business, battling not only for minimum wages and fair working hours, but also about the obstacles they are facing trying to organize feminist unionwork in a deeply patriarchal society. Additionally, we talked about the relation between feminism and fair labor conditions.

Key Notes:

  • In 1993 Marzhina, a fighter for workers rights, was kidnapped, raped and brutally killed. She serves as a symbol for the fight for more rights.
  • Feminist and queerfeminist unions want to contribute to the empowerment of women in the the patriarchal society.
  • Abortions are illegal in Indonesia and LGBTQI+ rights don’t exist.
  • Women face multiple problems such as a lack of health care and (sex) education. This can be fatal because at times the female workers are supplied with pills declared as „birth control“. These pills may contribute to infertility and even cancer.
  • Sexual harassment ans sexual violence is not properly followed up on nor prosecuted and often takes place in a working environment.
  • Feminist Unions are not recognized by the state(s).
  • Strict and repressive marriage laws contribute to the precarious position of women.
  • The unions keep fighting, announcing their demands. They are not satisfied with only negotiating. They are going to keep striking until the situation will change!

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