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.”
“Life in 2022 remains a sometimes overwhelmingly bleak struggle, and so we read books like The Rising of the Women to propel our activist journey-shoulder to shoulder, hearts open, fists high!”
“At a time when movements for social justice have all too often become just another vehicle to irrelevance in the electoral realm and the Left is a divided shadow of what it was a couple decades ago, This reprinting of The Rising of the Women is both necessary and timely. In telling this story of the struggle for working women's rights, the author reminds us of what is possible while also reminding us that seemingly insurmountable differences among those fighting for social justice should not be an excuse not to seek common ground and get on with the struggle. [An] outstanding history.”