What did women think, say, and do about their work?
These women fought for improved working conditions, better treatment, equal pay, benefits, and opportunity. Some of them resisted enslavement or other forms of oppression. By escaping, protesting, striking, taking legal action, speaking out, organizing, and networking, these women’s actions push back against the legacy of labor movements that prioritized men’s employment, devalued women’s work, and helped to define work as white and male.
Historical collections show how power structures of race, gender, and class impacted women in the workforce and operated within groups of women workers, and in feminist and labor organizations. They reveal the alliances and the conflicts surrounding movements for justice and equity for working women.
What do these documents suggest about whose voices are heard? How do women demand equality or freedom when they are enslaved, excluded from power structures, or lack access to unions, legal counsel, and economic or political capital?