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Political Ideologies In Action: Socialism: Wages for Housework and socialist feminism

A guide created for John Hultgren's Political Ideologies in Action: Socialism in the United States (POL4241.01)

Quick Description

Socialist Feminism rose in the 1960s and 1970s as an offshoot of the feminist movement and New Left that focuses upon the interconnectivity of the patriarchy and capitalism. Socialist feminists argue that liberation can only be achieved by working to end both the economic and cultural sources of women's oppression. Ideas about overcoming the patriarchy by coming together in female groups to talk about personal problems stem from Carol Hanisch, written up in an essay in 1969 which later coined the term 'the personal is political.'

Socialist feminism is a two-pronged theory that broadens Marxist feminism's argument for the role of capitalism in the oppression of women and radical feminism's theory of the role of gender and the patriarchy. Socialist feminists reject radical feminism's main claim that patriarchy is the only, or primary, source of oppression of women. Rather, Socialist feminists assert that women are oppressed due to their financial dependence on males. Women are subjects to male domination within capitalism due to an uneven balance in wealth. They see economic dependence as the driving force of women's subjugation to men. Further, Socialist feminists see women's liberation as a necessary part of a larger quest for social, economic, and political justice. Socialist feminists attempted to integrate the fight for women's liberation with the struggle against other oppressive systems based on race, class, sexual orientation, or economic status

The International Wages for Housework Campaign (IWFHC) is a grassroots women's network campaigning for recognition and payment for all caring work, in the home and outside. It was started in 1972 by Mariarosa Dalla Costa, Silvia Federici, Brigitte Galtier, and Selma James who first put forward the demand for wages for housework.

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Brief Bios

Selma James is an American writer, and feminist and social activist who is co-author of the women's movement book The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community (with Mariarosa Dalla Costa), co-founder of the International Wages for Housework Campaign, and coordinator of the Global Women's Strike

Heidi I. Hartmann is an American feminist economist who is founder and president of the Washington-based Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR), a research organization created to conduct women-centered, public policy research. She is an expert on the intersection of women, economics and public policy. Dr. Hartmann is also a Research Professor at George Washington University and the editor of the Journal of Women, Politics & Policy.

Angela Davis is an American political activist, philosopher, academic, and author. A Marxist and feminist, Davis was a longtime member of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) and a founding member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS). She is the author of more than ten books on class, gender, race, and the U.S. prison system.