Anarchism & Womens Liberation

Under modern capitalism women continue to receive lower pay then men and in many countries are still legally discriminated against. Feminism has been used to describe struggles against this oppression. We look at the role of revolutionaries and in particular anarchists in fighting for women's liberation.

Women meeting
Anarchist women

Why Would Gays Want To Marry?
The issue of gay marriage has come to the fore again recently with both Canada and Spain approving bills to make it legal. In this interview we talk to Judy Walsh, from the Equality Studies department in UCD about how marriage and partnership rights are currently constructed in Ireland.

Deported to be Mutilated?
Make Female Genital Mutilation Grounds for Asylum

International Women's Day
International Women's Day is an expressly political day. In 1907 women sweatshop workers marched in New York and thus the first International Women's day was born.

Hijab: lifting the veil
Standing up to religious oppression or state racism? Ultimately we believe that people should have the freedom to dress whatever way they like. This means freedom from state interference and freedom from religious interference in how one should dress.

An important principle of anarchism and one that more than any other differentiates it from other types of socialism is its emphasis on freedom and non-hierarchical social relations. Central to anarchism is the rejection of any power hierarchy between men and women.

Women - still carrying the baby at work and home!!
Over the last 100 years, there is no doubt that women's situation in most first world countries has improved dramatically. Now that we've reached the 21st century, many would say that sexist inequality no longer really exists. However, if we take a brief look at just one aspect of our lives - work - it is clear that there is still a lot left to fight for.

Unequal power, unequal pay
During the year a spate of reports have 'discovered' what a lot of workers already know - that equal pay for equal work just doesn't exist.

The not very 'natural' oppression of women
In the majority of societies half our species (women) has been held in an inferior position to the other half (men). Why is this the case? The answer to this question should explain two things. It should explain why today with all our equal rights legislation women are still second class citizens, and secondly it should indicate the mechanisms and tactics we have to use to achieve womens' liberation.

Equality for some women?
It isn't sexism that holds us in the worse paid jobs but rather the economic reality of the capitalism system. To survive in the market place any company has to be competitive, to maximise profits. In todays society, creches and child-care are a luxury that the profit motive can rarely afford.

Sex, Class and the Queen of England
Violence and discrimination against women are still very real. Large numbers of women want to fight back. Aileen O'Carroll looks at some of the issues. Can women of all classes share a common goal? Should women organise separately? Is there a connection between fighting sexism and fighting capitalism?

Year of the Family - Parents, puritans and poverty
The increased violence in society and fears social decay have even liberal commentators calling for a to return to family values. Yet what does this really mean? What are those values? In this article Aileen O'Carroll will examine the role of the family and the reasoning behind the Back to Basics campaign.

Gas masks and pantyhose
No one should expect human sexual behaviour to be expressed in only one way. It's strange that while we accept diversity in tastes in food, music, book, films when it comes to sex we talk of rights, wrongs and norms.

Mujeres Libres
Mujeres Libres (Free Women) were a group of women anarchists who organised and fought both for women's liberation and an anarchist revolution during the Spanish Civil War. The work they did is truly inspirational.

Anarchists and the right to choose
We envisage an anarchist society as a society where people are free to make choices about their own lives. For women, this includes the decision whether or not to become pregnant, whether or not to remain pregnant, whether or not to have children.

Abortion rights - It's up to you and me
Media 'experts' and commentators have been saying that the progressive changes that occurred around contraception, divorce and equal age of consent for gays in Ireland in the early to mid-nineties were a natural result of modernisation of Irish society and occurred because liberal politicians decided to push for these changes. We are supposed to feel that only our rulers can change things, that the rest of us are pretty powerless. Well, it's not true

New law aids pimps and protection rackets
Tagged on to the end of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1993 were further restrictions on prostitution. Under the new act, prostitutes are now liable to fines of up to £1,000 and up to six months in prison.

Burn that witch
'Not Your Girl', a women's radio programme was taken off the air at Anna Livia FM by an all-male Board of Directors just before Christmas.

International Women's Day
International Women's Day (IWD) is on 8th March and is an inherently political event that started in 1910 when Clara Zetkin proposed that it be celebrated every year around the world at the Second International Conference of Socialist Women.


The international
'Anarchist Platform'

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Read the 'Anarchist Platform'


Censor Censored!
A Censorship law praised by feminists has been used to ban books by a leading anti-porn feminist.

Free Women of Spain
The Spanish revolution of 1936 saw the emergence of an anarchist womens organisation with between 20,000 and 35,000 members.

Girl Power? what a shower!
Alice Nutter of Chumbawamba on the Spice Girls 'Girl Power'

Emma Goldman
A brief look at the life and writings of Emma Goldman

Louise Michel
Louise Michel was a French anarchist women who fought in the Paris commune and after escaping the death penalty spent the rest of her live in the anarchist movement.

Obituary: A Rebel Spirit
Leah Feldman, who was cremated in London on January 7th, was one of the ordinary men and women who rarely get into history books but have been the backbone of the anarchist movement.

Divorce, undermining the family?
A pamphlet on the family under capitalism produced for the Irish divorce referenda

Womens liberation

Sex, Class and womens oppression
A 14 page pamphlet of anarchist articles against the oppression of women. It's a PDF file so you can print it out complete with graphics and distribute it locally!

Position papers

Red and Black Ireland

News of Anarchism in Ireland

The Ainriail mailing list carries the latest news from the WSM and the struggles anarchists are involved in. There are never more then 8 posts a week (and normally only 2-4).

More details!

Talks by WSM members

Mujeres Libres
The women who founded Mujeres Libres were all active within the anarchist movement, in the CNT or in the FIJL, however as women they were in a minority and found it difficult to incorporate more women into the activist core, either because of the sexism of the men, or because of the reluctance of the women or a combination of both

Emma Goldman
What initially drew Goldman to anarchism was the outcry that followed the Haymarket Square tragedy in 1886 in Chicago. Emma Goldman had followed the event intensely and on the day of the hanging she decided to become a revolutionary.

Feminism & Anarchism
Basically we view feminism as a progressive movement but one which is capable of taking up confused and sometimes reactionary demands because it fails to locate the cause of womens oppression in the class nature of capitalist society.

Feminism & Anarchism again
I am going to look at the different traditions of political thought that have developed to critique this vision of women's role in society. There are broadly speaking, four theories; Liberal Feminism, Traditional Marxism, Radical Feminism and Socialist Feminism.

Why women are not yet liberated?
A lot of the institutionalised oppression that women such as my mother would have argued against in the 1960's has disappeared. Yet it is also obvious that women are still far from equal. For the majority of us, our right to choose the way of life we wish to lead is as limited as it has always been.

The Left and the Fight for Women's Liberation
The struggle for women's liberation has generally been bound up with other, wider social and economic changes. The first written evidence of equality with men being put seriously on the agenda was during the reformation starting in the sixteenth century.

Related articles & talks

Church power in the south...
The Catholic church in Ireland has always been massively supported by the State and allowed a huge say in the running of the country. This article will attempt to cover the facts of church power in Ireland and the long history of State support beginning hundreds of years be fore the establishment of the 26 county state

Divorce Victory: Clerical Power Weakened

Loud and Proud
The coming into effect last June of legislation which decriminalised certain male homosexual acts was the subject of much celebration in the gay community. For many it was felt the battle for equality had been won.

Small fist in field

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Womens liberation

Sex, Class and womens oppression
A 14 page pamphlet of anarchist articles against the oppression of women. It's a PDF file so you can print it out complete with graphics and distribute it locally!