Social class is the segmentation of individuals in society, based on their socioeconomic status. In capitalistic modern day society, there are generally three types of social class in Ireland. These consist of lower, middle and upper class. This is akin to the Marxist belief of the bourgeois (the modern day upper class) as the top 1% and the proletariat (the ‘squeezed middle’ and working class) as the 99% of the population.
There is a myriad of issues that each social class face daily, such as financial requirements, levels of education attainment, bias judicial systems, etc. However particular classes can cope more effectively with certain situations than others, for example; the predicament women find themselves in, in crisis pregnancies, exacerbated by the eight amendment of the Irish Constitution. On average, 12 women a day are forced to travel abroad to seek comfort in a foreign health system, that will allow them to finalise the personal decision to terminate their pregnancy.
Members of the upper class have the monetary means to travel. Many members of the middle class who might find themselves under financial strain, might have no other option than to take out a credit union loan to afford the cost of travel, the abortion procedure, and the cost of accommodation, which totals at, on average, two thousand euro. This however, should not give way to an attitude of “oh well at least they can afford to travel” because no one should have to travel abroad to access the fundamental right of bodily autonomy. Nevertheless, working class women are imprisoned within their own country due to this archaic law. These women usually cannot afford to travel and therefore must go to the extreme and obtain illegal abortion pills from doctor led websites, such as womenonweb.org.
Quantitative research has found that in Ireland there are 3 women a day having abortions in their own homes. In doing this, they risk a 14 year prison sentence as the Irish legal system criminalises abortion. An improvement from the penal life sentence which existed in the 1960s. This in turn criminalises working class women for taking control over their own body. On International Womens Day 2017, Northern Irish police raided pro-choice activists homes in search of the abortion pills, mifepristone and misoprostol. All women, but specifically working class women, are shackled to this land when it comes to bodily autonomy.
Capitalism is directly linked to social class and is therefore directly linked to the oppression of women. The capitalistic system shames and profits from particularly working class women. It is therefore argued that an alternative to capitalism is necessary to challenge this sexism. As long as a right-wing capitalistic government is in place to reside over the capitalistic society, inequalities amongst social classes will always exist, especially the eight amendment. This is only one reason why we must build and organise a strong left alternative.
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