Urgent Call From Women During The Pandemic Days: We Do Not Despair, We Remember Our Crowd!

Our daily lives and the world we are living are turning upside down with the Covid-19 (Corona) pandemic. This major threat to public health is turning into an even greater disaster with the policies of the rulers, who seek to save the survival of the neo-liberal patriarchal order, not the people.

Urgent Call From Women During The Pandemic Days: We Do Not Despair, We Remember Our Crowd!

Our daily lives and the world we are living are turning upside down with the Covid-19 (Corona) pandemic. This major threat to public health is turning into an even greater disaster with the policies of the rulers, who seek to save the survival of the neo-liberal patriarchal order, not the people.

Those, who in the usual course of life are forced to undertake the greatest burdens in most unequal ways, now also carry the heaviest burdens on their backs. Women, the unpaid labour that create life, and those who live on their wages, are exposed to the greatest threats in this health crises and economic crisis caused by the pandemic.

We know that Covid-19 affects women disproportionately in less visible ways, except for the mortality rate. But we do not despair, we remember our crowd! We take reclaim the values ​​of our struggle, our spirit of solidarity, our collective efforts, our sisterhood, our rights and our lives in order to survive the danger with the least damage for all of us. We remind ourselves and the whole society the vital values ​​of the women’s struggle once again in these compulsory days of solitude when we are distanced but far closer to each other as never before!

The right to be protected from violence:  Violence against women continues despite the corona pandemic! Information from countries that have previously experienced the pandemic shows that “masculinity is as mortal as corona”, and social isolation, critical for combating the epidemic, has forced women to live with the perpetrators of violence, increased violence at least 3 times and made it invisible and intervention more difficult. We know that the places where women most suffer from violence are their homes. To ensure that social distancing, which is one of the most important tools in combating the pandemic, is really safe for women in all respects: We want the Istanbul Convention, Law No. 6284, and the decisions to remove the perpetrator to be enforced effectively also in these conditions. We demand an urgent, hot line only related to violence against women, to be accessible 24/7 and healthy intervention conditions to be created!

Safe shelters during the pandemic:  We want information about the measures taken against the pandemic in shelters to be declared to address the concerns that women may experience if they are subjected to violence. We demand the provision of hygiene and improvement of the living conditions in the shelters, urgent tests and provision of basic health needs for the residents.

Public support for the elderly staying at home: In our country, 1.5 million of the 8.5 million people above the age of 65, who are prohibited to go out on the streets, live alone and 76 percent of them are women. We call on everyone to end discriminatory discourses against the elderly. To prevent childcare from falling on the back of older women, who are already at high risk, we demand paid parental leave be implemented for one of the parents in compulsory lines of work; and to all employees in non-compulsory public-private sectors, and the daily needs of the elderly to be fulfilled in healthy ways through local-public mechanisms.

Free, widespread testing for everyone: We demand diagnosis and medical examination facilities, especially testing, to be extended and facilitated with free access to all, and professional health organisations to be actively involved in the process in order to ensure the public’s health.

The right to access to right information: The blackening of real information about the picture in our country further aggravates the psychological burden of women and the emotional labour they have had to exert. Transparency regarding the real state of the pandemic in our country, the number of the patients and the death and the number of tests performed, is our fundamental right. We demand information about the pandemic to be openly and transparently announced and pressures over the journalists working for the public’s right to news, to stop.

Protect the health of the healthcare professionals: We know that women who struggle at the forefront of the public health service and make up the majority of the healthcare workers, experience intense anxiety due to the burdens caused by the sexist division of labour while struggling under great risks. First, we thank our sisters and all healthcare professionals. For the health of all of us, we want all measures to be taken urgently to protect the health of the healthcare workers and to ensure that they work free from violence, and to meet the special demands of the female healthcare professionals.

Stop layoffs, informal and precarious work: While the economic crisis deepens due to the pandemic, we know the weight of women among those who are laid off in the first step, or employed in risky forms of in the service sectors; and the highest unemployment rate is experienced among young university graduate women. We demand compulsory unpaid leave practices to be banned, the right to annual vacancy of the employees be protected, informal and insecure employment, not complying with hygiene conditions, to be ceased. We demand the right to social security and sufficient income security primarily for the women and whole people who have been fired so far.

Life security and free public services: We demand all credit debts to banks; electricity, water, natural gas and communication bills to be postponed during the pandemic and public services to be free; arrangements to protect the tenants in residential rents; suspension of eviction orders; indirect taxes on consumer goods to be set to zero.

Housework is not “women’s work”: We see that social isolation conditions multiply the unpaid labour that women spend at home. While daily housework, from cooking to cleaning and child-patient care, has increased tremendously, women also have to take the responsibility for keeping all residents safe from the risk of pandemic. We urge men to undertake all the tasks that must be done under social isolation equally and to take as much responsibility as women to protect our common health. We demand public spots to be prepared on this subject and active use of social media and television channels.

We want scientific-secular-non-sexist content in distance education! We see that the distance education programs that started with the closing of the schools are filled with reactionary-religious violent content in the first step. Underlining that non-secular practices created a major public health problem as in the “Umrah” crisis, we call on everyone, especially education organisations and the parents, to show their reactions in this regard; and we demand the content of distance education to be scientific, secular, non-sexist and non-violent.

Pregnant follow-up and vaccines to be secured: We demand the necessary conditions for regular follow-up of pregnant women and vaccination of children whose application to hospitals are restricted due to the pandemic and women’s health units to be opened.

Safety for women and children in the prisons: It has been determined by the relevant commissions of the bar associations that prisoners are kept in the prisons over their capacity and necessary hygiene is not provided. We demand primarily necessary measures be taken against the pandemic in all prisons and urgent testing to be provided to the prisoners, and evacuation and execution postponement for the ill, elderly, pregnant women prisoners and political prisoners and especially for 3100 children prisoners and 780 children living with their mothers in the prisons held in risky conditions.

Safety for immigrants and homeless people: We urgently demand improvements in the accommodation conditions of the immigrants, widespread information about the pandemic to be provided in their mother tongues; urgently take actions to be taken about the refugees on the border; shelters to be provided for the homeless; and urgent testing and free treatment of the migrants regardless of their status.

Safety of the street animals: We demand measures be taken to ensure the lives of the street animals and those who live in shelters, and that the information that the virus is not passing from street animals to people to be announced.

We do not despair in these difficult days; we remember our crowd that surrounded the squares and the streets! We know that the same crowd continues to defend the values of our struggle, while trying to struggle, alone or all together, at homes, at workplaces, at health care units, against our common troubles. We know that women defend women against violence, and most defend when they are alone. We urge all women to listen the voices coming from their neighbours; to be in solidarity with other women in every possible manner by protecting their own health; and to build networks of social solidarity, communication and resistance with all possible safe tools. We do not give up our demands, our rights, and our lives. We trust women and women’s struggle. We love all of you very much.