Indybay - 30 April 2019
Women’s rights vs corporate rights
by ActionAid Australia
The Australian Government is considering signing a dodgy new trade deal which will massively boost the power of multinational corporations at the expense of women’s rights.
Whatever the outcome of the upcoming Federal Election - this deal will be one of the first issues on the table for the incoming government. And we need to be ready to stop it.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, known as ’RCEP,’ is a huge free trade agreement with potentially dire consequences for millions of women around the world.
If signed, the RCEP deal could undermine women’s rights at work, threaten their access to essential public services, and increase their unpaid labour. The deal also gives corporations the power to sue governments if they feel any new laws passed for the public good are impacting their profits.
We still have time to prevent the government from signing this deal, but we must act fast. That’s why today we’re launching a nationwide campaign to stop RCEP and transform trade for women - so we’re ready to turn up the pressure the moment the new government is sworn in.
Will you join this people-powered campaign and sign the petition urging the Australian Government to reject this dodgy deal?
RCEP is a big deal. More influential than the Trans Pacific Partnership, this trade agreement will unite Australia and 15 other countries – accounting for half the world’s population and over 30% of global trade. Its impacts will be wide reaching too, especially for women living in poverty.
What’s one example? Under RCEP, women’s access to essential public services will be threatened, as these deals force governments to drop the tariffs that fund them.
Orji Theresa is a nurse in Nigeria who has witnessed first-hand what happens when healthcare services lose critical funding. In her community, this funding cut has led to some women giving birth on the side of the road out of desperation. The government has stopped paying Orji’s salary, but she has continued to stay and do unpaid work in the hospital because women in the area have nowhere else to go. This is not a sustainable solution.
In 2019, we have an important opportunity to influence the negotiation of RCEP, with a round of talks taking place in Melbourne at the end of June.
Regardless of the election result, we need to act now to build as much public pressure as we can to urge our politicians to reject this dodgy deal. Will you sign the petition?
Today on 1 May ActionAid offices all around the world are launching campaigns with the common goals of improving women’s access to fair and safe work, increasing their access to public services, and reducing women’s unpaid labour.
By signing this petition, you’re joining a global movement of women’s rights supporters stepping up to transform our systems and demand change. Together, we are powerful. And I know we can win.
Michelle and the ActionAid Australia team
Please support the petition, sign here