Socialist Party, formerly Militant


Sunday, December 10, 2023

Women and the struggle for socialism

Women and the Struggle for Socialism: Introduction

It doesn't have to be like this Women and the Struggle for Socialism, by Christine Thomas It doesn't have to be like this - What consequences will the economic crisis and its aftermath have for women? Socialist Party publication, August 2010, 90 pages

Part one: A history of women’s oppression – 1 Have women always been oppressed?

"Men have broad shoulders and narrow hips, and accordingly they possess intelligence. Women have narrow shoulders and broad hips. Women ought to stay at home; the way they were created indicates this,...

2 The role of the family

The word 'family' comes from the Latin word 'familia' - meaning the total number of slaves belonging to one man. It's not just the word, however, that can be traced back to Roman slave society (an early form of class society) but many of the laws which have governed the family in capitalist society in Western Europe and elsewhere. In fact, most of the discrimination and oppression which women continue to experience today cannot be fully understood unless placed in that historical context.

3 The family under capitalism

One of the most significant changes to the family as an institution, which in turn had an important effect on the position of women in society generally, came about as a consequence of industrialisation and the rise of capitalism...

4 The family and women’s oppression today

Today women work in unprecedented numbers outside of the home. In fact, in some of the developed capitalist countries they make up half or even a majority of the workforce. And this 'feminisation' of...

Part two: Strategies for change – 1. ‘Liberal’ feminism

So what methods need to be employed in order to achieve women's libera¬tion? Throughout the history of the struggle for women's rights, different analyses of the causes of women's oppression have given...

2. Socialism

In a socialist society the means of producing wealth would be transferred from the hands of an unelected elite, concerned only with making a profit, to the democratic control of ordinary working people...

3. What happened in Russia?

Alexandra Kollontai was a member of the Bolsheviks, the party which in 1917 led a revolutionary mass movement of workers and peasants to overthrow capitalism and landlordism and introduced a workers' state in Russia...

4. Class and identity

What role will women play in the struggle for socialism today? Socialists and Marxists believe that the working class is the only force capable of leading the struggle to fundamentally change society...

5. Ideological Backlash

The collapse of the women's movement dealt a blow to the idea of collective struggle against discrimination and oppression...

6. Moving into struggle

Historically women have moved into struggle in many different ways and working-class women, because of the double oppression which they face, are potentially some of the most determined fighters...


Notes to Part One, chapters one to four

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