In this landmark study of American labour history, Meredith Tax charts the actions of women in working-class, feminist, and socialist movements between 1880 and 1917. Caught between the hostility of male trade unionists, the chauvinism of male socialist organisers, and the assumptions of middle-class feminists, women workers forged their own demands for economic and political justice in the industrialising landscape of North America.
“The Rising of the Women is both a nuanced historical account and a useful guide for organizers. Its comparative approach, which explores case studies from a range of times and places, documents a suggestive pattern in American labor history: The past successes that Tax examines all relied on the active role of a women’s movement, which deepened the strength of the political coalition and ensured that the interests of women and other marginalized workers were fully included. Tax's work offers evidence - from history, not theory - that an autonomous women’s movement is not only compatible with class struggle but critical to its success.”
“Tax provides an encyclopedic denouement that deconstructs the political and social factors that caused this backlash and explores the rifts that developed between workers as the attacks unfolded. To wit, she highlights the redbaiting that was stoked by male unionists who refused to recognize the invaluable strike support provided by women in the Socialist Party…exciting and moving.”