As I reflect on the last 12 month's since our last IWD, it's hard sometime to be positive.

I have received a letter from the DWP spelling out changes to my state pension. I was expecting this on my 60th birthday next year, I will now have to work for a further six and a half years. We are repeated told that "we are all living longer, these changes are necessary due to the financial mess the last government left us in". I am not receptive to this nonsense! British Capitalists played a full part in preparing the Europe-wide attack on working pensions, in 2000 when a White Paper to the EU Lisbon Summit entitled European Pensions, Repeal for Reform – which really means a Repeal for Theft.

The systematic assault by the ruling elite on the working class to drive through privatisation and cuts to health, welfare, education and the lowering of workers living standards gets personal when it's YOUR child's business that goes bankrupt. When it's YOUR niece worrying about student tuition fees. When it's YOUR frail elderly step mother left for hours on a trolley in A&E due to cuts in staffing. When it's YOUR grandchild that is going to be affected by climate change, nuclear waste and years of treachery by capitalist thugs.

The news is full of harrowing footage of Afghan refugees, mainly women and children, living in appalling freezing,muddy conditions in make-shift camps forced to burn toxic waste plastic through lack of fuel. I don't think our British troops have won any "hearts and minds" there. Nationally though, this government is promoting the arms trade as a way of delivering more jobs! IT'S INSANE!

Why celebrate IWD?

Despite the grim reality in 2013, women have made progress since Sylvia Pankhurst's lifetime. We must continue the struggle for peace and socialism, for justice and equality.

We have collective power! Sisters we have tools! Join the National Assembly of Women, get involved with One Billion Rising.We have the Women's Charter, the Morning Star, the People's Charter. We must get more women in positions of power in our Trade Unions. We need to change the ratio of men and women at Westminster where men still out number women by five to one. We need more women representatives in all walks of life in our communities. We MUST challenge sexist images of women in the Media.

There is still a lot of change needed in our society! So let us RISE UP, face the challenge and celebrate today!