Feminism & Marxism

Book Cover: Feminism & Marxism
ISBN: 0-89567-006-2
Pages: 54

A Marxist analysis of the role of women through history

- Shows that in the primitive society – the matriarchy – men and women worked together as equals
- Traces the roots of women’s oppression to the development of wealth in the form of private property, slavery, and class oppression
- Answers the line that since men oppress women, all men are the enemy. Instead, it shows that only the ruling class capitalists profit from the oppression of women – the capitalist system is the real enemy
- Supports the struggle for social and political rights for women as an essential part of the class struggle
- Finally, the tremendous gains in the socialist societies point to the only road to full emancipation of women as well as all humanity – socialist revolution.”

First published in 1971.


About the Author

Dorothy Ballan made her mark in the struggle for working women in the huge Cheektowaga plant (near Buffalo) of the Westinghouse Corporation, which is organized in Local 1581 of the International Union of Electrical Workers, CIO-AFL.

She worked as a punch press operator, a low-paid, unskilled job, classified as Labor Grade 3. The company had divided the work force into 10 labor grades. Although the women in the plant constituted almost half the work force, they were all concentrated in Labor Grade 1 to 3, the lowest paid, unskilled jobs. The other 7 grades were, of course, for men.


By defying the company’s discriminatory practice and mobilizing the support of union men and women, she broke the ban and won a bid for a Labor Grade 7 job — that of die-setter — on the punch press—never before performed by a woman. It was a first in the electrical industry. She also was a steward of a section of about 1000 workers; also an elected member of the Executive Board and one of the four top officers of Local 1581.

Earlier she had been first a volunteer organizer and then a full-time organizer for Local 292 of United Paper Workers Union, CIO, in New York

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