The seeds of International Women’s day were sown the year my grandmother was born. In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. It was the Socialist Party of America who declared the first (US) national women’s day a year later.
The idea to make the day international came in 1910, at an international socialist conference of working women in Copenhagen. An attendee called Clara Zetkin suggested it and the100 women present from 17 countries unanimously agreed. The first international celebration was in 1911, in Austria, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland.
When I was 17 I wrote a 500-word essay in English on this quote from King Lear: “I am a man more sinned against than sinning.”
to recap in case you have forgotten or never knew, King Lear was on a
heath in a storm, having been thrown out by his daughters Goneril and
Regan, even though he had given them half his kingdom each and was
expecting to live with them in his old age. He had been proud,
arrogant and pretty irritating. They had been venal and unloving.
Bread and Roses originated from a speech given by U.S. laabour union leader Rose Schneiderman; a line in that speech “The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too.” (appealing for both fair wages and dignified conditions) inspired the title of the poem Bread and Roses by James Oppenheim. It is now most often sung to the tune by Mimi Fariña popularised by her sister Joan Baez.
I mostly avoided history at school. Too much reading. I like reading. Modern poetry. Shortish novels. Brevity is the soul of wit. History had great heavy tomes. So when Clay asked me to speak on Labour Weekend, I thought, “Labour Day. Hmmmm. Samuel Parnell. What exactly?” I do believe in considering how the past has got us to here, but I’m often hazy on the details. Thank goodness for the New Zealand Dictionary of Biography. And Google. And before Google, thank goodness for the index. So I invite you to join me on a journey out of the haze. Continue reading From Samuel Parnell to the future: working in union→
E nga mana, e nga reo, e nga rangatira ma, tena koutou.
E te whare e tu ake nei, tena koe
E te whanau o Auckland Unitarians,
E nga manuhiri, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou
Ko tangata tiriti te iwi
Ko E tu, Ko te Kauae kaimahi nga uniana
No Tamaki Makaurau ahau
Ko Rachel Mackintosh toku ingoa
Tena tatou katoa
“Rape culture is a culture where we normalise sexual violence. We see this on a continuum – from rape jokes, ‘locker room banter’ and victim blaming, through to catcalling, non-consensual sexual photos, to sexual coercion and rape.” These are the words of Gill Greer, CEO of the National Council of Women. Continue reading Human rights. Whose rights? Our rights!→