Abstract

At the start of the twentieth century, as women moved into traditionally male areas of industry, the "family wage" and the status of the craftsman came under increased scrutiny, leading men to question whether women should be driven from the factory or unionized. If the latter, questions arose as to how they were best organized and by whom. This article considers some of the debates surrounding the organization of women into two British trade unions before and during the First World War. It argues that tensions between the two—the mixed-sex Workers' Union and the single-sex National Federation of Women Workers—were, despite opinions stated by men in the labor movement, focusing on issues of sex and class, less to do with differences in organizational principles than with the insecurities of male workers. While looking at the women who organized for the two unions, this article also seeks to find out what encouraged women to become members.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2036
Print ISSN
1042-7961
Pages
pp. 86-110
Launched on MUSE
2012-03-21
Open Access
No
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