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77 MIN READ TIME

Every Woman Is a Working Woman

IN 1972 feminists from Italy, England, and the United States convened in Padova, Italy, for a two-day conference. Associated with the extra-parliamentary left, anti-colonial struggles, and alternatives to the communist party, these activists composed a declaration for action, the “Statement of the International Feminist Collective.” The statement rejects a separation between unwaged work in the home and waged work in the factory, pronouncing housework as a critical terrain in the class struggle against capitalism.

Silvia Federici, an Italian expat living in New York, attended the conference and afterward returned to New York to found the New York Wages for Housework Committee. In the following years, Wages for Housework committees were launched in a number of U.S. cities. In each case, these groups organized autonomously, apart from waged male workers. As “Theses on Wages for Housework” (1974) put it, “Autonomy from men is Autonomy from capital that uses men’s power to discipline us.”

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