Women’s History Month presentation discusses economic justice for women

Rose Barraza

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March is known as Women’s History Month and celebrates the political, social and economic achievements of women in this capitalist nation.

Women’s history professor, Nan Yamane, and CSUN Spanish student, Day Spencer, hosted a discussion on Wednesday about the past work of Rosa Luxemburg and issues concerning economic justice for women.

Spencer lectured about the challenges men and women encounter in America, such as capitalism, patriarchy, imperialism and domination.

“The capitalist imperial global system is a patriarchal system, which is why women’s stories have largely been overlooked,” Spencer said. “That’s why I’m going to talk about herstory rather than history today.”

According to Spencer, the American capitalist system has continuously exploited American women as well as women in other countries such as Indonesia. Nike CEO’s would make around $13 million a year, while an Indonesian female worker will earn around $.50 per hour.

American women are also exploited when paid the U.S. minimum wage Spencer said, which can range from $8 to $10 per hour, which is not a realistic living wage. The past work of Luxemburg demonstrated how she countered capitalism and corruption of power.

Luxemburg, despite being a Jewish and socialist woman, was a lead character in the revolutionary labor movement, social democratic party and later formed a group with Karl Liebknecht known as the Spartacists. Luxemburg simply wanted true democracy and equality.

Regardless of these efforts, and the efforts of many other women and feminists, economic change for women is still a work in progress. Professor Yamane said the main historical reason for this is because women haven’t organized or unionized in the great number that men have. This is due to a number of reasons including women not being able to afford union fees with low pay and gender roles.

“Women are cheap skilled labor,” Yamane said. “Change for women is very slow.”

The American dream has changed. The dream is no longer only getting married, owning a home, having children, and women staying home. Most households are having fewer children but still almost always require at least two incomes to make ends meet.

Suzy Melkonian, wife of CSUN philosophy professor Markar Melkonian, said, “There’s always going to be someone that’s exploited.”

If you would like to participate, AF3IRM and Ovarian Psyco-Cycles will be hosting a march and rally will take place in honor of International Women’s Day on Sunday March 8th beginning at noon in front of the LA City Hall building located at 200 Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.