- Hackney Flashers, Who's still holding the baby?, 1978
They say it is love. We say it is unwaged work.
They call it frigidity. We call it absenteeism.
Every miscarriage is a work accident.
- a feminist pamphlet calling for Wages for Housework written by Silvia Federici in 1975.
In this essay, first published at Les mots sont importants, Christine Delphy and Sylvie Tissot react to the storm created by Nicolas Sarkozy’s comments on French national identity in the build-up to the French presidential election. Translated by David Broder
Maurice Barrès and the far right Ligue des Patriotes, 1912. via Wikimedia Commons.
"Once you become French, your ancestors are the Gauls," declared Nicolas Sarkozy, bringing a deluge of protests. As people everywhere told him, our ancestors are far more numerous and diverse than "the Gauls" alone. Yet such protests are insufficient. For what we need to attack are the very terms of this debate.
Kumari Jayawardena's Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World is a comprehensive introduction to waves of feminist protest and revolt, and how they fell in line with the rise of nationalism in the nineteenth and through into the twentieth century, across the Middle East and Asia.
Below we have selected some of the significant women Jayawardena tells us about; women who carved out their own place during tumultuous times of change and reaction, fighting for the opportunity to express themselves through action and writing.
The world's first female leader of a country, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, appointed in 1960