"What is 'Women's Day'? Is it really necessary?" Alexandra Kollontai asked readers of the Russian journal Pravda a centenary ago. "On Women's Day," she wrote, "the organised demonstrate against their lack of rights."
In celebration of International Women’s Day on 8th March, the women workers of Verso and New Left Review share some of our favourite feminist books in tribute to the radical roots of the observance.
- Jo Spence/Rosy Martin, Mother as Factory Worker, 1984-88
Sheila Rowbotham's Rebel Crossings tells the transatlantic story of six radical pioneers at the turn of the twentieth century. Radicalised by the rise of socialism, Helena Born, Miriam Daniell, Gertrude Dix, Robert Nicol and William Bailie cross the Atlantic dreaming of liberty and equality. All six are part of a wider historical search for self-fulfillment and an alternative to a cruelly competitive capitalism.
Rebel Crossings offers fascinating perspectives on the historical interaction of feminism, socialism, and anarchism and on the incipient consciousness of a new sense of self, so vital for women seeking emancipation.
In this blog post Sheila Rowbotham shares her experience of researching and writing the book. Rebel Crossings is 40% off until October 30th, along with all the other books on our Sheila Rowbotham bookshelf.
- Helen Tufts and Helena Born, 1986
- The first Women's Liberation Movement march in London, March 6th, 1971
Sheila Rowbotham is "one of Britain's most important, if unshowy, feminist thinkers, and a key figure of the second-wave" — Melissa Benn, Guardian.
She was among the organisers of the landmark, first National Women's Liberation Conference, in 1970, which led to the announcement of the four still hugely relevant demands of the movement: equal pay; equal education and opportunity; 24-hour nurseries; free contraception and abortion on demand. Rowbotham says she imagined this as the start of "an entirely new kind of politics — no leaders, no ego trips, no more sectarian disputes. We were going to be concerned with working-class women's lives — not just the privileged — and it was going to be about bread and roses." The reality was "in some ways much more than we imagined, and, in some ways, very much less." To mark the publication of Rebel Crossings: New Women, Free Lovers, and Radicals in Britain and the United States — the latest work from this pioneering feminist writer and activist — we have 40% off all the books on our Sheila Rowbotham bookshelf this week. Includes free shipping (worldwide) and bundled ebooks (where available).Ends Sunday 30th October at midnight (UTC). Click here to activate your discount.
Rebel Crossings: New Women, Free Lovers, and Radicals in Britain and the United States by Sheila Rowbotham