Origins and limitations of feminist awareness in labour conflicts (Roubaix, 1970s)

By Ingrid Hayes, Karel Yon

This paper analyses two labour movements that took place in the 1970s at the heart of the Roubaix industrial area, at La Redoute (a mail order company) and at the Deffrenne weaving company. Both companies had a large proportion of women in their workforce. The paper endeavours to clarify the conditions that made possible a feminist awareness in labour conflicts and the emergence of a working-class feminism. It starts with the observation that there were many diverse situations and clear limitations to these trends. From this perspective, we have taken into consideration the characteristics of work organisations and the venues for representing women workers, as well as the effects of movements and the men and women leading them.

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