Women Garment Workers on strike, NYC
Like other holidays, the radical roots of International Women's Day have been forgotten by most people. While community organizers, activists, and historians remember, most Americans do not.
Spurred on by the horrors of the current administration, a "Day without a Woman" was organized for today. Trump announced he has "tremendous respect" for the roles women play in society. Google honored 13 women, including Ida B. Wells and Frida Kahlo.
Today, I want to remember the radical origins of International Women's Day.
Shirtwaist strikes, NYC, 1909
The industrial revolution was made possible by the work of enslaved people in the South and poor, often immigrant, people in the North. Textile and garment factories sought immigrant workers, including children and women whom they could pay less in order to make a profit. Working conditions were horrendous.
Photo courtesy of Solidarity Center
For millions of women around the globe, little has changed. Women garment workers are still forced to work in terrible conditions with little-- and sometimes no- pay. Sweatshops in China, Bangladesh, and the United States continue to produce clothing for us at the expense of the health and well-being of women. Tomorrow, when International Women's Day is over, what will you do to improve the lives of women?
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