"Emancipated woman -- build up socialism." Poster by Strakhov-Braslavskij A. I., 1926.
By John Riddell
June 12, 2011 -- The following working paper was presented to the Toronto conference of Historical Materialism on May 16, 2010. It first appeared on John Riddell's blog and is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission.
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we celebrate International Women’s Day, we often refer to its origins
in US labour struggles early last century. Less often
mentioned, however, how it was relaunched and popularised in the 1920s
by the Communist Women’s International. Moreover, this movement itself has
been almost forgotten, as have most of its central leaders.
The Communist Women’s International was founded by a world gathering of communist women in 1921, which elected a leadership, the International
Women’s Secretariat, reporting to the executive of the Communist
International, or Comintern. It also initiated the formation of women’s
commissions in national parties, which coordinated work by women’s
bodies on a branch level, and called periodic international conferences
of Communist women.