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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Labor's gendered misstep: the Women's Committee and African Women Workers, 1957-1968
Author:Richards, YevetteISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies (ISSN 0361-7882)
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:trade unions
women workers
Abstract:The Consultative Committee for Women Workers' Questions (commonly called the Women's Committee), a joint creation of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and the International Trade Secretariats (ITS), was founded in 1957. This paper follows three intersecting trajectories to interweave the struggles of pioneer African women labour leaders with an account of the Women's Committee's activism on the continent, covering the period 1957 to 1968. First, it examines the transnational efforts of women to build a working-class solidarity based on cooperative work in designing programmes and proposals. Second, it chronicles the efforts of European and African women to convince men of the importance of prioritizing efforts to promote women's leadership and organization and integration into labour movements. Third, the paper investigates the extent to which cultural beliefs and economic and political constraints shaped the parameters of women's activism. The paper contends that the ICFTU and its affiliates failed to grasp the significance of the Women's Committee's warning that organized labour ignored women at its peril, with detrimental consequences for its future expansion. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]