Women, Work, and Activism
The thirteen critical and well-documented chapters of Women, Work and Activism document women’s labor struggle from late nineteenth-century Portuguese mutual societies to Yugoslav peasant women’s work in the 1930s, and from the Catalan labor movement under the Franco dictatorship to workplace democracy in the United States. The authors portray female labor activism in a wide variety of contexts including spontaneous resistance to traditional trade unionism, feminist workers, communist wives of workers, and female long-distance migrants. The chapters address the involvement of working people in multiple and often precarious and unstable labor relations and in unpaid labor, as well as the role of the state and other institutions in shaping the history of women’s labor.
The book is an innovative contribution to both labor history and feminist history. It redefines the new labor history by focusing on the political-social history of labor and by fully integrating the conceptual advances made by gender historians in the study of labor activism. Both class and gender shaped women’s labor activism, and the authors make a case for a new direction in gender history that takes this activism into account.