Working-Class Feminism and the Women’s Movement in Canada
By Meg Luxton
This alliance of the main national union organization and the largest national organization of the autonomous women’s movement was based on demands focused specifically on the situations of working-class and poor women. The demands explicitly linked struggles for both women’s equality and anti-racism with working-class struggles for more equitable distributions of wealth and access to resources. As NAC President Sunera Thobani declared, "women’s dreams of equality can never be realized in a society polarized between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots,’ where the poorer regions of the country are marginalized, racism grows, and the most vulnerable members of our community are abandoned."
In this paper, I argue that the political links between the labour movement and the women’s movement, represented by this march, with its explicit focus on working-class and poor women’s issues, came about because of the existence of a union-based, working-class feminism that has been a key player in the women’s movement, the labour movement, and the left since the late 1960s and early 1970s. It has become popular in recent years to assert that the women’s movement of the 1960s and 1970s was largely middle class and that its politics reflected the concerns and interests of such women. I think this argument is incorrect in the Canadian context and I suggest that such beliefs are part of a larger pattern in which both working-class women and their organizing efforts, and left-wing or socialist feminism, get written out of, or "hidden from history."
Read this article HERE.