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Making Feminist Politics

Making Feminist Politics: Transnational Alliances between Women and Labor

SUZANNE FRANZWAY
MARY MARGARET FONOW
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 192
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/j.ctt1xcj7m
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  • Book Info
    Making Feminist Politics
    Book Description:

    In this timely and detailed examination of the intersections of feminism, labor politics, and global studies, Suzanne Franzway and Mary Margaret Fonow reveal the ways in which women across the world are transforming labor unions in the contemporary era. Situating specific case studies within broad feminist topics, Franzway and Fonow concentrate on union feminists mobilizing at multiple sites, issues of wages and equity, child care campaigns, work-life balance, and queer organizing, demonstrating how unions around the world are broadening their focuses from contractual details to empowerment and family and feminist issues. By connecting the diversity of women's experiences around the world both inside and outside the home and highlighting the innovative ways women workers attain their common goals, Making Feminist Politics lays the groundwork for recognition of the total individual in the future of feminist politics within global union movements.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09308-1
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. 1 Feminist Politics and Transnational Labor Movements
    (pp. 1-23)

    In 2000 the World March for Women gathered in Ottawa, Canada, to demonstrate the broad and growing support across the globe for equality and justice for women. Walking among the posters, union banners, and flags proclaiming each group’s identity and concerns was one young woman holding a single rose. She was a nurse whose local union was on strike and who had traveled the long distance from Saskatchewan, because she felt she had to be there among other women, no matter how diverse their issues. In 2009 giant pregnant puppets sauntered through the opening ceremony of an arts festival in...

  6. 2 Sexual Politics, Activism, and Everyday Life
    (pp. 24-46)

    How do individuals manage to come together to make politics? On the surface, it is a naïve question, but nevertheless, it lies at the heart of political theorizing and action. A related question of perpetual interest to scholars and activists alike is: What sustains their political activism? Political theorists and activists, union organizers, and social movement campaigners must confront these questions as they deal with ever-changing political conditions, as well as the political gains and losses. It is feminists, however, who bring questions about everyday life into the political domain, not only recognizing the central role it plays in women’s...

  7. 3 Sexual Politics, Labor, and the Family
    (pp. 47-66)

    The Australian Labor Party won the 2007 federal election with a campaign paved by the endless repetition of the slogan “ working families.” It is a term that circumvents gender and class, refers to the core values of work and family, and invokes a social category of good citizenship. Those not included were clearly beyond the pale of the national agenda—too lazy, too marginal, even too rich. The Australian trade union movement’s effective campaign, “Your Rights at Work,” also addressed working families with media and organizational strategies that drew on concerns about so-called work/life issues as well as the...

  8. 4 Political Spaces: Centers, Conferences, and Campaigns
    (pp. 67-86)

    Arundhati Roy is talking in the terms of the new social movements that are open to making politics with adaptable strategies and limited objectives, in contrast to the constraints of an older politics that demanded adherence to an inflexible correctness. We recognize that making politics requires both material and discursive spaces, something feminism has been particularly creative in achieving. It has to be since women generally have to transcend the almost universal barriers against their entrance into the field of politics. Women need the kinds of political spaces that allow them to identify, articulate, and debate their needs, and thereby...

  9. 5 Feminist Politics in International Labor
    (pp. 87-107)

    The activism needed to revitalize labor takes many shapes and forms and emerges at different but interconnected levels of organization—local, national, regional, and international. In this chapter, we focus our attention on the history of feminist activism within three international labor bodies—the International Labour Organizations (ILO), the Global Union Federations (GUFs), and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).¹ Much like women in the past, feminists in these organizations are using self-organizing and discursive alliances with the global women’s movement to contest and refashion the sexual, racial, and heteronormative politics of their unions and of the labor movement more...

  10. 6 Women’s Activism in the International Metalworkers’ Federation
    (pp. 108-124)

    We extend our analysis of the sexual politics of labor internationalism in this chapter by offering a case study of women’s transnational labor activism in the International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF), which is a Global Union Federation (GUF). Over the course of its history, metalwork and related occupations have had a strong male tradition, and so have its industrial organizations. But there have always been women metalworkers, even if their numbers have been small at times. Their campaigns to win space in the workplace and the union for their interests and issues provide a striking example of the ways union and...

  11. 7 Another World Is Possible for Women, If . . .
    (pp. 125-138)

    On a hot January day in 2005, we joined the huge march through the streets of Porto Alegre, Brazil, that opened the 5th World Social Forum (WSF). In the custom of such events, we first gathered with a like-minded group. We met in a shady side street with a small group of women who were dressed in white wedding dresses and faces painted white protesting violence against women. They distributed cardboard fans in the shape of lips with the slogan, “your mouth is fundamental against fundamentalism,” first used at the 2002 forum by the Latin American group Articulación Feminista Marcosur,...

  12. 8 CONCLUSION: The Future of Feminist Politics in Global Union Movements
    (pp. 139-146)

    This book set out to investigate how union women make feminist politics within and through the trade union movement in such ways as to achieve feminist goals, particularly at transnational levels. This is important for feminists and unionists because, as Sylvia Walby (1986) points out, “trade unions are becoming the largest mass organizations of women supporting social democratic projects” (231). Making feminist politics in any sphere of life and at any level necessitates engaging with the sexual politics that prevail. More often than not, it is a sexual politics in which heteronormative masculinity dominates, to the detriment of women and...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 147-152)
  14. References
    (pp. 153-176)
  15. Index
    (pp. 177-180)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 181-182)