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LALIT member Rajni Lallah Women's Day speech at Nursing Association

11.03.2011

Leading LALIT member, Rajni Lallah, gave a talk to the members of the Nursing Association on Thursday 10 March at the IVTB in Phoenix as part of the celebrations and demands for International Women’s day. Her speech was entitled: "Women in the healthcare sector as a liberating force". She said that women in the health sector have a special role as they share the burden thrust on women in patriarchal society to care for the sick. She said that women in the healthcare sector have a degree of self-confidence that often women in other sectors do not have, as often, they are in charge of running a whole ward, a community health centre. Women were traditionally in charge of caring for the sick in society and in many countries were branded witches and burnt alive by patriarchal clan leaders. The memory that generations of women have passed on, that women have the power to understand health and sickness, gives nurses additional confidence, perhaps.

Rajni Lallah then talked about the present battles of women nurses in the union against discriminatory regulations and practices and against the two labour and industrial relation laws, the ERA's, that give employers in all sectors leverage to lower work conditions and sack workers more easily. She said that at the same time, women in the health sector because of the nature of their work gives them that extra confidence, have the capacity to collectively "re-invent" a healthcare system that actually works for patients as well as employees, and produce demands that work towards this kind of healthcare system. "There are times in history where the pace of change goes really fast", she said. She outlined the great events happening in the Maghreb regions where women are the forefront of immense street demonstrations. She outlined the imporatance of having good demands, that nurses collectively prepare, ready when the time is ripe and when people start mass action.

At this Nursing Association "International Women's Day" celebration, the team in office at the moment announced that they are aligning 50% women candidates in the nearing executive committee elections. This will be a “big first”, the Vice President Mr. Nowzadick announced. Each of the seven women candidates said a few words to express their commitment to union work. President Bagooaduth Kalloa had prior to this announcement, given a detailed report on what the Nursing Association had achieved in terms of key union demands for nurses in the last two years.

In the morning session, the Minister of Health had announced that she was personally considering union demands to eradicate discriminatory regulations and practices in promotion criteria for nurses. Mrs. V.Narayen of the Sexual Discrimination Division of the National Human Rights Commission talked on the need to stop sex discrimination and how the existing legal provisions functions.