The Strong Link between Patriarchy and Capitalism

At the Women Labour Conference in Istanbul on 12/13 November, Heide Hartmann suggested to make home care a part of public services. Yasemin Özgün urged to increase the women's participation in paid labour force.

"People have to get organized to see the world we live in and to understand and change the way how capitalism and patriarchy are being organized" said Heide Hartmann at the Women Labour Conference.

The conference was organized by the Socialist Feminist Collective at the Fındıklı Campus of the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University in Istanbul on 12/13 November.

Yasemin Özgün said in the opening speech that policies and ways should be discussed which would change conditions for women who are stuck in the clamp of paid and unpaid labour. "Women within the collaboration of patriarchy and capital are a cheap, unsecured, flexible and unskilled work force. We would like to discuss how to overcome this vicious circle to open up a possibility for these women to join the paid labour force", Özgün summarized.

"There is capitalism at home too"

Heide Hartmann, author of the article "The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism" delivered a speech on Capitalism and Patriarchy. "Who has got an interest in oppressing women? By whom are they being oppressed?" Hartmann questioned.

"Marxism explains the oppression of women with capitalism. Yes, capitalism indeed does oppress women but this answer is insufficient. At the same time, women are being oppressed by men. They are being oppressed within their domestic responsibilities", Hartmann stated.

"Women are being oppressed in terms of works like food, care of the elderly, cleaning or child care in particular" Hartmann continued.

Apart from the women, nine to ten-year-old girls either look after their siblings or they do work like cleaning whereas the boys at that age play outside or at home. It is the men who benefit from this situation within the family.

"Production relations within the family are not the only area that provides a benefit for the men. At the same time, they have better working conditions. They are being paid a higher salary. Capitalism cannot be found at business areas only but also at home".

Home care work should be covered

Hartmann emphasized that when she wrote the article 'The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism' in the late 1970s the concept of violence had not been on the agenda yet. She pointed to changes relevant for women that happened in the meantime. "Violence against women has increased. There is harassment and the issues of harassment on the street. Violence drives women away".

Hartmann stressed the fact that especially low-income earners did not want to get married. "The care of the elderly and of children creates costs. It is a problem to cover these expenses. Capitalism does not want to cover these costs. In Europe, these needs are met by the government. In the USA, this work has been given to private companies. Profit-oriented chains have been created. In the field of work related to home care, it should be possible to control capitalism by the state or otherwise capitalism has to be brought to a healthier stage. Labour in the home care field should be covered", Hartmann claimed and explained that they tried to promote care services as public services.

"We are experiencing a new economic crisis. 50 million children in the USA are receiving food aid. Child poverty ranges at 20 percent. 50 million people are food-subsidised. Working people are receiving food allowance in order not to go hungry. People are losing a part of their lives in the crisis. People supported the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement as a stance against the crisis. Many things have changed in the course of the 'Occupy Wall Street' movement. People have to get organized to see the world we live in and to understand and change the way how capitalism and patriarchy are being organized", Hartmann concluded. (MY/ÇT/VK)



İstanbul - BIA News Center

14 November 2011, Monday

Mürüvvet Yılmaz