On the International Women’s Day:
Grassroots Women Demand “Bread and Roses”
The group marched from Caltex, PNR to Session Road and other major streets of Baguio and ends in People’s Park for a cultural program. The highlight of the activity was the symbolic rose-giving to women.
The theme of the celebration wass “Bread and Roses” or Kabiagan ken Dayaw. This was inspired by the memories of the 1912 two-week long “Bread and Roses Strike” of textile mills women workers in Lawrence (Massachusetts) New England (USA). The strike resulted in the arrests and death of women workers but won in their demand for wage increase and better working conditions. Since then, the strike had become the rallying symbol of the women’s movement.
The Bread and Roses Strike was a continuation of the militant struggles of women that started in the second half of the 1800s for significant demands like the right to vote, increase in wages, shortening the number of working hours from 12 to 8, safety in the work place and many others. Collectively, they also engaged and pursued other social and political issues – protests for peace and against war, equal rights and opportunities for women in governance and voice in politics.
The spirit of Bread and Roses Strike is alive in our grassroots women as they pursue very basic demands – the right to their fishing grounds, right to till their lands, right to their produce and against agricultural importation, right to health and education, right to housing, and right to jobs.
Rochel Peralta, a women leader in Sto. Tomas declaresd, “then and now, women still demand for their right to life and livelihood. Then and now, women still demand for equal rights and opportunities. Then and now, women still cry for ‘Bread and Roses!’###