Comrades and Sisters

Women In The Past

Submitted by Janine on 8 May, 2004 - 9:19

This article is the first section of the Workers' Liberty pamphlet 'Comrades and Sisters', about socialism and women's liberation.

It tells the story of women's struggle for liberation: from the French Revolution and the birth of feminism, through the fight for the vote, up to the 70s women's movement, Thatcherism and the backlash against feminism.

The Rights of Woman

In 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. The book was a manifesto, the founding text of feminism.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 01/03/2005 - 12:51

In your account of pre-Stalinist paradise for Soviet women, you have an interesting image of special trains rushing birth control supplies to remote places. I wonder if I could possibly have the cite for this, as it cotradicts much else written on the availability of contraception in that period. Given the state of the art of the time these supplies had to be, let us say modestly, for male use?


Submitted by Janine on Sat, 05/03/2005 - 10:01

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Dave Widgery's article 'Abortion: the pioneers' describes a lot of what the Bolsheviks did in the areas of birth control, abortion, sex education, and women's equality in general, and mentions the use of trains to take birth control and medical teams to remote areas.

Neither Widgery's article, nor mine above, goes into any detail about the technological standard or the particular method of contraception. It would be interesting to know that, but it is not fundamental to the argument - which is that the Bolshevik government tried to take major steps forward in women's welfare and equality, and did so in deeds not just in words.

I don't agree that I presented an "account of pre-Stalinist paradise for soviet women". My article states that "fulfilling this vision was difficult at that time in Russia ... The communal laundries, nurseries and facilities were woefully poor in quality."

Hardly paradise!!

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Women In The Present

Submitted by Janine on 7 May, 2004 - 4:33

The second section of the Workers' Liberty pamphlet 'Comrades and Sisters' looks at women's situation today.

Domestic work, (badly-)paid work, the vast gulf between working-class and ruling-class women. Women in communities, and women in the welfare state. Religious fundamentalism, the state, New Labour and family values.

How can Marxism explain women's oppression?
Housework is Horrid

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Women In The Future

Submitted by Janine on 7 May, 2004 - 2:02

The final section of the Workers' Liberty pamphlet 'Comrades and Sisters' looks at what socialism can offer women, and what sort of movement we need to win liberation.

Formal Equality and its Limits

Britain has had the Sex Discrimination Act for three decades and the Equal Pay Act for two-and-a-half. But women's pay is still less than men's, and women still experience discrimination. The laws have not achieved what they promised. Why?

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