"We want bread and roses!": Trade union feminism across borders: a comparative perspective on 1970s Italian and French experiences

Lecture | February 5 | 12 p.m. | 201 Moses Hall

 Anna Frisone, University of Bologna

 Institute of European Studies

Second-wave feminism is internationally known for its choice of refusing any engagement with gender-mixed political organizations, in favor of a deep commitment into women-only collectives. However, some women stubbornly decided to introduce a feminist approach within male-dominated organizations such as the trade unions, interrogating their allegedly neutral but on the contrary deeply gendered nature.

This presentation elucidates the intersection of the categories of gender and class in the struggles conducted by Italian and French women unionists during the crucial turn of ‘the long 1970s’. In both countries a strong tradition of working-class commitment for women’s rights empowerment was, indeed, carried out by the major workers’ organizations; however, the international spring of the second-wave women’s movement questioned the value of this traditional approach and encouraged new critical reflections as well as the development of alternative practices. Through a combination of archival and oral sources, Dr. Anna Frisone explores the experience of so-called ‘trade union feminism’ in a trans-local perspective that focuses on the cities of Paris and Lyon in France and on the ‘industrial triangle’ (Turin, Milan, Genoa) in Italy.


Speaker: Anna Frisone completed the PhD program of the European University Institute with a thesis on 1970s trade union feminism in Italy and in France. The University of Vienna has recently awarded her with an Edith Saurer grant to pursue her new postdoctoral project on the history of female unemployment in Western Europe after the 1973 oil crisis. She is currently a postdoc researcher at the University of Bologna and is hosted by the Department of History at UC Berkeley for a one-year visiting appointment. Her work focuses on the intersection of class and gender. Her main research interests are: labor history, oral history, gender history, second-wave feminism.

 CA, 5106435799