In 1903 the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) formed to help women improve their working conditions and wages. Membership in the WTUL was open to all women, and the organization had the blessing of the powerful male-dominated union, the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Women realized that if they were going to see any changes in the workplace they would come only by joining together without regard to class.
Women dominated teaching and nursing professions. These careers were a natural fit for women who were family caregivers and educators. In the late nineteenth century women sought to improve the career of teaching, and remove some of the moral and political bureaucracy. “In Chicago, Mary Haley…organized a powerful teachers union, which removed control of appointments from local politicians.”
The most famous strike took place during the winter of 1909-1910. Local 25 of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) hit the picket line to protest working conditions and low wages in New York City’s garment industry. Their employers’ cronies and law enforcement badgered the women, and the strike was largely ignored until women of the leisure-class joined their lower-class Jewish and Ita...
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...r women in 2013 is much different than it was for her counterpart in the 1900s, a life that was made possible by the contribution of numerous women’s groups. Women activists didn’t only focus on women’s causes; they were also participants in child labor laws and the Civil Rights movement. The 21st century has brought the legalization of homosexual marriages in some U.S. states, and military service women in combat roles, but the rights our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers fought hard for are not completely safe. American’s under the guise of “family values” are fighting around the clock to undo the progress women have made. Women quality can only be ensured by the participation of all Americans in women’s groups and organizations.
DuBois, Ellen C., and Lynn Dumenil. Through Woman's Eyes: An American History with Docu
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