Revolutionary feminism is resurging across the world. But what were its origins? In the early 1970s, the International Feminist Collective began to organise around the call for recognition of the different forms of labour performed by women. They paved the way for the influential and controversial feminist campaign ‘Wages for Housework’ which made great strides towards driving debates in social reproduction and the gendered aspects of labour.
Drawing on extensive archival research, Louise Toupin looks at the history of this movement between 1972 and 1977, featuring unpublished conversations with some of its founders including Silvia Federici and Mariarosa Dalla Costa, as well as activists from Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the United States and Canada. Encompassing rich theoretical traditions, including autonomism, anti-colonialism and feminism, whilst challenging both classical Marxism and the mainstream women’s movement, the book highlights the power and originality of the campaign.
Among their many innovations, these pathbreaking activists approached gender, sexuality, race and class together in a way that anticipated intersectionality and had a radical new understanding of sex work.
- ‘An important resource for students of the bold and brilliant 1970s wages for housework movement’ – Kathi Weeks, author of The Problem with Work: Feminism, Marxism, Antiwork Politics and Postwork Imaginaries
- ‘This is a precise reconstruction of a legendary and almost-forgotten feminist campaign in Europe and North America. It includes a broad and balanced analysis of the theoretical background of the claim for wages for housework as well as of the controversies around it. An exciting and well-written memory of the 1970s!’ – Gisela Bock, Professor at the Free University Berlin
Louise Toupin has taught Political Science at University of Quebec in Montreal. She was a member of the Quebec Women’s Liberation Front (1969-1971), and co-authored numerous anthologies of activist and feminist writings.