A book series brought out by Chintana Pustaka, to mark the centenary year of International Women's Day, was symbolically released by garments workers here on Saturday.

Speaking at the release of four books, K.S. Vimala, activist and editor of the book series, said that it was necessary to remember that Women's Day had its roots in the long struggle of women workers and activists like Clara Zetkin. She said the history of struggle by women workers should not be forgotten.

N. Gayatri, critic, said that it was time to interrogate how women's movement had shaped itself in the post-globalisation era, particularly when “empowerment” had become a government-sponsored slogan.

Critic M.S. Ashadevi said that an important part of the women's struggle was not only protest, but construction of a space that allows women to lead “lives of choice.” Women should be wary of getting trapped in oppressive, patriarchal frameworks even in spaces that seem to offer liberation, she said.

Missing voices

Ms. Ashadevi said that women's literature had not always succeeded in giving authentic expression to the lives of lower middleclass women, such as garment workers. “The focus is largely on the inner turmoil of middleclass women,” she said.