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The International Federation of Working Women

by Lara Vapnek

St. John's University


The International Federation of Working Women (1919-1924) stands out as a pioneering effort to represent working women internationally. At the Federation's three congresses, female labor leaders from around the world discussed common challenges and passed resolutions on a variety of subjects, including labor legislation, maternity benefits, and women's participation in trade unions. The IFWW framed its agenda broadly, reaching beyond working women's daily concerns with hours, wages, and working conditions to address issues such as world peace, immigrants' rights, and the global distribution of economic resources. Although it had no legal power, the IFWW established itself as an important voice in international discussions about gender and labor after World War One. Women who participated in the IFWW deepened their knowledge of international labor policy and established transnational connections with one another.[1]

The essay begins by explaining the formation of the International Congress of Working Women (ICWW), the forerunner to the IFWW. Then it summarizes the three congresses held in Washington, D.C. (1919), Geneva (1921), and Vienna (1923) considering points of conflict as well as consensus. The essay addresses the structural challenges that the IFWW faced and explains why the organization dissolved. The essay concludes by discussing historical interpretations of the IFWW and suggesting directions for future research. The essay provides hypertext links to primary material relating to the IFWW within the WASM International database throughout the essay and highlights key documents at the end.

Plans for the ICWW began during World War One. The National Women's Trade Union League (NWTUL), the leading women's labor organization in the United States, proposed the formation of a new international organization for labor women at their national convention in Kansas City in June of 1917. In the United States, as in the other nations fighting the war, the withdrawal of men from the labor force opened new jobs for women in manufacturing, transportation, and munitions production. These jobs paid relatively high wages and increased women's opportunity to join trade unions.[2] Female membership in U.S. trade unions surged, reaching 400,000 by 1920, encompassing about eighteen-percent of industrially-employed women.[3] NWTUL leaders such as Mary Van Kleeck, a college-educated sociologist, and Mary Anderson, a former boot and shoe worker, were appointed to important posts in the federal government directing the deployment of female workers.[4]

Margaret Dreier Robins, the president of the NWTUL, sought international connections in order to help consolidate these gains.[5] Robins was an independently wealthy feminist, who believed in a linked program of organization, education, and legislation to protect wage-earning women from exploitation.[6] The NWTUL had a long and mutually supportive relationship with the British Women's Trade Union League.[7] By making the NWTUL a player in international politics, Robins hoped to raise the League's profile and to learn from the experiences of female labor leaders in other nations. Like women who participated in contemporary organizations such as the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Robins and other NWTUL members believed that by fostering international understanding they could help avoid future wars. As Mary Anderson explained, "if the working women of the [different] countries get together to discuss economic questions and get to know and trust one another, that will be the surest way of doing away with the horrors of war."[8]

In March of 1919, Anderson and Rose Schneiderman, a former cap maker and current leader of the New York branch of the NWTUL, sailed for the Paris Peace Conference to present the NWTUL's plans for industrial reconstruction. Although U.S. President Woodrow Wilson endorsed their mission, they had little success in influencing the committee drafting the labor provisions of the peace treaty, chaired by Samuel Gompers, the president of the American Federation of Labor (AFL).[9] The International Labour Organization (ILO), a new entity created by the peace treaty, took no steps to include women in its tripartite representative structure of business, labor, and government. In Paris, Anderson and Schneiderman met women's labor leaders from around the world who resented their marginalization within the treaty negotiations and greeted the idea of a new international organization of labor women with enthusiasm.[10]

Robins drafted the call for delegates with the help of Margaret Bondfield, a leader of the British WTUL, who became Great Britain's first female cabinet member, serving as Minister of Labour. The International Congress of Working Women (ICWW) would be held in Washington, D.C. from October 28-November 6, 1919. The NWTUL scheduled the congress to meet just before the first International Labor Convention (ILC), a meeting called by the ILO to set model labor policy for member nations. Many of the women whom Anderson and Schneiderman had met in Paris planned to attend the ILC as advisors to their national delegations.[11] Ironically, the U.S. women found themselves unable to attend the ILC since Congress had not yet approved U.S. participation in either the ILO or the League of Nations.

The NWTUL sent its call for delegates to the ICWW to women in labor and social democratic organization in thirty-seven allied and neutral nations. The call urged women to "to take counsel with one another, how best we may advance the realization of the ideals of humanity, freedom, and justice."[12] It required all delegates to carry credentials from an internationally recognized trade union.[13] The question of whether to limit membership to women in trade unions, or to establish a broader basis for membership became a significant point of debate within the organization.

Nearly two hundred women convened at the New National Museum on the grounds of the Smithsonian to participate in the ICWW. However, the requirement of trade union credentials limited to twenty-seven the number of official delegates qualified to vote on resolutions. These delegates hailed from Argentina, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Czechoslovakia, France, India, Italy, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the United States. Each of the twelve nations represented at the ICWW had ten votes, regardless of the number of delegates in attendance. Additional women participated from Cuba, Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands, Serbia, Spain, and Switzerland.[14]

   Robins presided over a lively ten-day meeting. Policy discussions often went late into the night, but they were leavened with songs, tours, lunches with trade unions, and teas with Senators' wives. Volunteers provided translation into French and Polish. Strong voices at the meeting included the two British delegates, Margaret Bondfield and Mary Macarthur, a popular leader of the National Federation of Women Workers; Jeanne Bouvier, a former garment worker, who served on the French minimum wage board; Louise Landova-Stychova, a member of the Czech National Assembly; Betzy Kjelsberg, a Norwegian feminist appointed as her nation's first female factory inspector; and Laura Casartelli-Cabrini, an Italian socialist and feminist organizer of textile workers. [15]

Ten leading African American women submitted a written protest to the ICWW pointing out that the requirement of trade union membership effectively excluded women of color from membership, since most of them worked in positions as domestic servants or agricultural workers which were not included in trade unions in the United States.[16] However, no further discussion of race took place at the meeting, or in the permanent organization that ensued.[17] Although participants in the ICWW remained concerned with equalizing labor standards among nations, they did not consider the ways that race created differential labor standards within nations. Furthermore, the delegates' conception of "the world" was parochial by contemporary standards, and like much internationalism of the time, centered on Europe, the United States and Canada. However, women from India and Japan participated in the first ICWW, and the organization would subsequently reach out to women in China and Latin America as well.[18]

Significant differences of opinion arose at the ICWW over protective labor legislation and maternity policy.[19] The Swedish Social Democrats cabled a resolution to the ICWW opposing all labor legislation applying to women only; they urged women to seek inclusion in the gender-neutral labor legislation being adopted across Europe.[20] However, a majority of the delegates agreed that protective labor laws benefitted women, who were less likely to be organized into trade unions than men, and thus less able to limit their working hours.[21] Delegates also disagreed over whether national governments should provide maternity benefits to all women or limit those benefits to members of the working class.[22] However fundamental, these disagreements did not seem to produce lasting animosity.

Despite their differences, members of the ICWW reached consensus on a wide range of issues in a short period of time. First, they requested that future meetings of the ILC expand the number of Labor and Government delegates to two, one of whom should be a woman. Second, they weighed in on the entire agenda under debate at the ILC. They endorsed the eight-hour day and the forty-four hour week for all workers, opposed child labor under age sixteen, urged provision of maternity benefits, recommended expanded unemployment benefits, condemned workers' exposure to poisonous substances, and asked that night work be prohibited for men and women. Third, they addressed issues of global inequality, calling for equal rights for all immigrants, a more equitable distribution of raw materials, and an end to the U.S. blockade against Russia.[23] They forwarded these resolutions to the ILC, sitting in session just blocks away.

Historians debate the impact of the ICWW on the ILC.[24] Women who arrived at the ILC as advisors from the ICWW were eager to advance the agenda agreed upon at the ICWW.[25] However, the women had no direct power at the ILC, which ignored their call to mandate women's appointment as representatives at future meetings.[26] The ILC took a similar stance to the ICWW on most issues of labor policy. However, Bondfield, who attended both conferences, considered the women's group bolder and "freer to make decisions than the Labour Conference, which was weighted by government and employers' representatives." For example, the ICWW set the minimum age of employment at sixteen, while the men settled on fourteen, and nine in India. Bondfield critiqued this acceptance of a different standard for the developing world as anathema to the ideals of international labor legislation, which sought uniform standards for workers around the world. Furthermore, the ICWW favored an eight-hour day five days a week and half day on Saturday, while the ILO accepted eight hours work six days a week.[27]

Many participants remarked on the strong feeling of transnational fellowship achieved at the meeting.[28] The delegates voted unanimously to establish a permanent ICWW, and they elected Robins as president. They agreed that the headquarters would be located in Washington, D.C. However, they debated how to determine qualifications for membership. The executive committee, composed of one delegate from each nation, believed that membership should be limited to women from trade unions. In contrast, Macarthur argued that membership should be broadened to include working-class wives and mothers even if they were not wage earners. She and Bondfield believed that working-class wives and mothers should have a say in laws governing issues such as maternity benefits and the prohibition of child labor whether or not they were wage earners.[29]

The ICWW publicized their resolutions and worked to extend their influence among international women's and labor organizations. They forwarded copies of their resolutions to the International Woman's Suffrage Alliance, the International Council of Women, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, the International Federation of Trade Unions, the Pan-American Federation of Labor, and the International Labor Organization. The ICWW sent Jeanne Bouvier as a representative to the 1920 meeting of the International Woman's Suffrage Alliance, where she succeeded in dissuading the organization from passing a resolution opposing protective labor legislation. A representative from the IFWW also attended meetings of the International Council of Women (1920) and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (1921).[30] The ICWW published a newsletter in order to keep members informed of wage-earning women's organizing initiatives in various nations.[31] The Washington, D.C. office became a clearinghouse for information on working women throughout the world.[32] Last, but not least, the ICWW planned and raised funds for their next meeting. Robins, who had contributed most of the initial funding for the ICWW, remained a major donor, but she encouraged the organization to find additional sources of income.[33]

The second meeting of the ICWW took place at the Athenée, an imposing neoclassical building in Geneva, Switzerland, October 17-25, 1921. Once again, organizers of the ICWW timed their meeting to precede a meeting of the ILC. Delegates attended the second ICWW from Belgium, Britain, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, Italy, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Switzerland, and the United States. Representatives from several additional nations attended, including China.

Participants at the second ICWW developed their vision for the organization. They agreed to change their name to the International Federation of Working Women. They outlined three objectives: promoting "trade union organization among women"; developing international labor policy that served "the needs of women and children"; and encouraging "the appointment of working women on organizations affecting the welfare of workers." Furthermore, they presented the IFWW as an important new forum "for the exchange of ideas and experience, for setting practical standards toward which women in all countries can work." By associating, they hoped to give "women an added weight in demanding from men representation on labor councils and the right of taking part in solving problems affecting men and women alike."[34]

Delegates struck a compromise on membership qualifications in order to ratify a constitution for the IFWW. In the two years leading up to the conference, British participants had continued to advocate expanding membership to include working-class housewives; meanwhile women from Canada, France, Norway, and the United States had expressed doubts about broadening membership, fearing that the organization would be taken over by suffragists, become too diffuse, or lose support from national trade unions.[35] At the second conference delegates agreed that members of the IFWW should be drawn from women who represented trade unions recognized by the International Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), the leading international trade union organization. However, they would also include working-class women from other labor organizations, so long as they followed the same "spirits, aims, and principles" as the IFTU.[36] In practice, this policy excluded Christian and communist trade unions, and it allowed delegates from the United States and Norway to participate even though their national trade unions were not affiliated with the IFTU. It also enabled British women to send representatives from the Standing Joint Committee of Industrial Women's Organizations, which included trade unionists as well members of co-operatives and the Labour Party.[37]

The women who attended the second ICWW discussed progress in implementing the international labor legislation endorsed by the first ILC in 1919. They noted that many smaller nations had trouble enforcing the eight-hour day "on account of the overwhelming influence exerted by the commercial interests" whose manufacturing had already begun to cross national borders. The situation in China seemed especially dire. Miss W. T. Zung described her nation's lack of "factory legislation." Despite the ILC's resolution against child labor, Chinese factories employed children as young as seven. Even in Europe, workers' organizations lacked the strength "to translate into law the proposals that were adopted in Washington."[38] The IFWW urged national governments to ratify existing labor conventions. Shifting away from an earlier, more critical stance toward the ILO, the IFWW "recognize[d] and endorse[d] the work already accomplished" by ILO and hoped that it would "make even stronger efforts" to press nations who belonged to the ILO into compliance.[39]

Seeking greater impact, the second ICWW adopted fewer resolutions than the first. Participants strengthened their commitment to peace by advocating "complete abandonment of war as a method of settling disputes between nations." They formulated this resolution, which linked lasting peace "with justice between nations," with encouragement from two representatives of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Kate Manicom from Britain and Gertrude Baer, from Germany.[40] The IFWW discussed international solutions to the problem of unemployment, including the stabilization of exchange rates and extension of credit. They suggested shortening workers' hours and eliminating child labor in order to help curb unemployment.[41] They continued to be concerned with workers' health: they urged companies to stop using lead in manufacturing; and to protect employees who worked with wool, fur, and leather from contracting anthrax. As at the first meeting, delegates appreciated the "the feeling of respect and friendship" which developed despite national differences on particular policies.[42]

Leaders of the IFTU made a point of "being prominently present" at the second ICWW.[43] They had become concerned about the existence of the IFWW as a separate international labor organization and they sought to bring the women's group into their sphere of influence.[44] Jan Oudegeest, the general secretary, invited Robins to visit IFTU headquarters in Amsterdam while she was in Europe. Robins left her meeting convinced that labor women needed to maintain their own independent organizations. Her conviction stemmed, in part, from women's marginal position within the AFL, the leading national trade union organization within the United States However, Robins found many male and female trade union leaders whom she met on her trip to Europe convinced that women's separate organizations were an American innovation, unsuited to European traditions, where men and women organized together.[45]

The IFWW decided to relocate its headquarters to London in order to be more accessible to the European women who formed the bulk of Federation members. Marion Phillips, a member of the Labour Party known for organizing working-class housewives, became Secretary. Phillips sought to dispel the notion that the IFWW supported separate trade unions for women and men. On the contrary, the IFWW believed "that in order to get the greatest possible number of women into existing trades unions special attention needs to be given to the peculiar difficulties…of the woman worker." Among these difficulties, Phillips cited women's lower rates of participation in trade unions, and the fact that women tended to enter or leave the labor force depending on their family responsibilities.[46]

Phillips proved more receptive than Robins to forging a closer relationship with the IFTU.[47] As Phillips explained in a lengthy letter to Robins, many Europeans objected to supporting a second international labor organization, "and especially the formation of an independent women's organization." Phillips believed the IFTU wanted "to develop the women's side of the [labor] Movement." Furthermore, the IFTU seemed willing to expend funds on behalf of the IFWW, printing their monthly newsletter for free. In contrast, national trade unions had been unwilling to give the IFWW "anything at all as an independent organization." Phillips advocated affiliation with the IFTU as the most effective way to continue the work of the IFWW, even if it meant the IFWW giving up its status "as an independent body with executive power."[48] In her personal correspondence, Robins asked a friend, "Do you think I have fought and bled and nearly died for the cause to give the Congress of Working Women into the keeping of Messrs. Oudegeest, Fimmen and Jouhaux," the leaders of the IFTU?[49] Samuel Gompers's withdrawal of the AFL from the IFTU in 1920 made affiliation between the IFWW and the IFTU even less attractive to Robins, who could not afford to alienate the leader of her national trade union federation.[50]

The question of the IFWW's relationship to the IFTU became increasingly contentious. Outright opposition to the IFWW emerged at a 1922 meeting of the IFTU in Rome. Gertrud Hanna, a working-class German feminist and trade unionist, characterized the IFWW as seeking to organize men and women separately, which she saw as "naïve" and counterproductive. Female trade unionists from Austria and the Netherlands agreed. This opposition to the IFWW strengthened British resolve to merge with the IFTU in order to overcome the lingering divisions of World War One. The British may also have been enticed by the IFTU's promise (which went unfulfilled) that they would make the IFWW an affiliate of the IFTU and make a one-time payment to the IFWW of five pounds for every 50,000 of the IFTU's 3.5 million female members .[51] Despite uncertainty about its future, the IFWW sent representatives to meetings of the Pan American Congress of Women (1922), the International Woman's Suffrage Alliance (1922), and the Labour and Socialist International (1923).[52]

The question of whether to maintain their status as an independent organization loomed over the IFWW at its third and final meeting at the Schönbrunn Castle, a former Hapsburg Palace, near Vienna, August 14-18, 1923. Leaders timed this meeting to follow the IFTU's summer school for male and female workers, indicating their desire for closer cooperation between the two organizations.[53] Delegates attended from Belgium, Britain, France, Italy, Sweden, and the United States. The smaller group of countries this year indicated waning support for the IFWW: Norwegian, Swiss, and Polish delegates had resigned; Czech and South African delegates had fallen out of contact with the IFWW.[54] To compensate for this deficit, the IFWW invited national trade unions to send representatives to participate in several open conferences; women attended on this basis from Argentina, Chile, China, Cuba, Hungary, Japan, and Romania.[55] Women from Austria and Germany arrived as visitors, but trade unions in both nations boycotted the meeting due to their opposition to the IFWW.

While the fate of the IFWW hung in the balance, women who attended the third ICWW managed to discuss a wide range of other issues including peace, labor legislation, family allowances, regulation of homework, and women's organization into trade unions. The IFWW continued to view world peace as a labor goal given the "social and economic interrelation between nations." Conference participants critiqued German reparations as leading to "hatred and strife rather than peace." They demanded reductions in the money Germany owed as reparations and an end to the military occupation of the Ruhr valley. In the future, they argued, conflicts between nations should be settled by a strengthened League of Nations and war should be made "a crime" under international law.[56]

The IFWW remained concerned with equalizing labor standards around the world. They endorsed international labor legislation as a tool that could be used to improve conditions in developing nations and protect the gains won by workers in industrialized nations. The IFWW praised the ILO, which continued to seek national ratification for conventions concerning the eight-hour day, child labor, and unemployment insurance. They defended the ILO from attack by "various capitalist interests, which are always against the social betterment of the workers."[57] However, they accepted an American proposal "that any industrial group, whether women or men, should be the judge of its own methods of securing better industrial standards; whether by trade union agreement alone, by legislation, or by both methods."[58] This clause harked back to a debate at the first ICWW over the advisability of maintaining "protective" labor legislation for women, which remained more significant in the United States than in Europe due to lack of U.S. laws protecting working men.[59]

The third ICWW also considered the matter of family allowances--government payments designed to provide working families with additional financial support "apart from the regular earnings of the breadwinner."[60] This form of social welfare had not yet been considered in the United States, but it was a matter of debate and experimentation in Britain and in Europe. [61] Americans worried that the practice of supplemental payments would undermine the AFL's call for a "living wage," in which the earnings of a single skilled worker would be sufficient for family support.[62] The IFWW expressed ambivalence about family allowances. On the one hand, they recommended that they should be only "a temporary expedient." But on the other hand, they called for free provision of "every service needed for the health, education or welfare for mothers and children." Despite their status as an all-female organization representing wage-earning women, their resolutions framed the primary family breadwinner as male.[63] Whether due to gender ideology or political expediency, the IFWW seemed more willing to demand government benefits for women as mothers than as workers.

Homework remained a "difficult subject."[64] It had increased with the economic contraction that followed the war. Americans viewed homework as "another name for the worst form of sweat-shop evil."[65] However, they discovered that this view was not universally shared. Britain set minimum wages for home workers in particular industries. European legislators aimed to keep the wages of home workers on a par with factory workers; French trade unions included homeworkers.[66] Delegates to the IFWW felt that they had only scratched the surface of the problem. They asked the ILO "to collect all existing documents on the subject and to conduct an enquiry as to the conditions in which homeworkers" labored "in all nations" as the basis for future legislation.[67]

The IFWW returned to a central concern: how to increase women's presence in trade unions. After spending a morning in an open conference discussing conditions in different nations, they agreed on "the common need of intensive campaigns to organize women workers," especially those who were younger and less skilled. A special committee of the IFWW recommended that national trade unions pay particular attention to this problem and prepare "special leaflets and literature to appeal to women workers." This information could be exchanged among IFWW members. They suggested that "increased" education and "recreation facilities" in trade unions could help convince women workers of the value of trade unions, even if they were only in the paid labor force temporarily.[68]

Despite a strong sense of common purpose, the IFWW did not survive its third international congress as an independent organization. Freighted with doubts about the legitimacy of the IFWW raised at the 1922 meeting of the IFTU in Rome and undermined by lack of support for a "women's international" from national trade unions, delegates to the third ICWW voted in favor of asking the IFTU to make the IFWW the nucleus of a new Women's Department. They requested that this new department have a female director, hold yearly meetings, and continue to sponsor biennial congresses of working women.[69] The nine American delegates who attended the Congress abstained from voting. They felt unprepared to support such a dramatic change in policy without having first consulted the NWTUL. Furthermore, they did not believe they could vote in favor of becoming part of an international organization to which their own national trade union did not belong.[70]

The NWTUL leaders who had called the first ICWW left the third meeting deeply disappointed that the "independent autonomous international" organization they had worked so hard to build had voted itself out of existence. They doubted that an organization such as the IFTU, which was "officered and controlled by men," would truly "serve the best interests of the organized working women in Europe."[71] Their doubts were prescient. In 1924, the IFTU voted to absorb the IFWW, but it failed to create a Women's Department. Instead, the IFTU formed a Women's Committee, directed by a man, which met rarely.[72] The IFTU Women's Committee had neither the will nor the funding to address the pressing issues related to women's organizing identified by the IFWW. The committee severed links with the international women's movement.[73] In retrospect, it seems that the IFTU helped to push the IFWW out of existence, but it had little immediate commitment to devoting resources to increasing women's representation within trade unions.

From its founding in 1919 until its demise in 1924, the IFWW constituted a significant forum for working women from different nations to discuss the challenges they faced in securing decent jobs and finding a place in the international labor movement. The Federation construed these problems broadly, presenting a more equitable distribution of the world's resources as essential to world peace and to workers' well being. The IFWW began by critiquing women's exclusion from positions as representatives to the International Labor Convention, but they soon came to view the ILO as an important ally in studying working women's conditions around the world and recommending legislation designed to fulfill the ILO's mission of "peace through social justice."[74] The IFWW sent representatives to feminist, peace, socialist, and labor organizations. Ironically, the last group proved the least receptive to the IFWW. Perhaps the IFWW's emphasis on working women's particular problems undermined the IFTU's universal claims to represent labor internationally, when in fact, they represented the interests of skilled working men.

Considering the wide range of issues and personalities encompassed within the IFWW, scholarship on this topic is quite limited. Robin Jacoby's chapter on the IFWW in her study of the British and American Women's Trade Union Leagues remains the most complete account.[75] However, recent articles provide important new perspectives. Geert Van Goethem dissects the IFWW's contentious relationship with the IFTU. Dorothy Sue Cobble places the IFWW at the start of a longer trajectory of transnational labor feminism. Ulla Wikander examines division among delegates over questions of night work provision and maternity leave. Wikander also problematizes working women's position vis-à-vis the ILO in 1919, adding to previous scholarship discussing the IFWW in the context of the ILO's work toward gender equality.[76]

Opportunities for further research abound. Scholars could investigate the web of connections between the IFWW and contemporary national and international labor, feminist, and peace organizations. Existing scholarship has focused on U.S. women such as Robins, but the participation of women from other nations should be investigated. In English, there is some scholarship on British, French, and Swedish women who joined the IFWW, but limited information on women from nations such as Argentina, Belgium, China, Czechoslovakia, Japan, Poland, and South Africa. It would be illuminating to discover why these women became involved in the IFWW and how their participation in this international organization affected their national campaigns to organize female workers, promote labor legislation, and advocate for maternity benefits.

WASM International includes a rich selection of primary material related to the IFWW. Key documents include pamphlets, resolutions, calls for delegates, and transcripts of the 1919 and 1921 ICWW. Additional archival material may be found in the Schlesinger Library, the Records of the National Women's Trade Union League at the Library of Congress, and the microfilmed Papers of the Women's Trade Union League and Its Principal Leaders. Researchers can supplement this material with contemporary reports in newspapers and the labor press, as well as the memoirs and personal papers of participants. Organizational records of national trade unions, the ILO, and the IFTU may contain additional evidence. Wider knowledge of the IFWW's organizational history should be a spur to further research. Working within and across national and international archives, scholars have the opportunity to gain new insight into the history of this early experiment in transnational labor feminism.[77]



[1] Dorothy Sue Cobble, "U.S. Labor Women's Internationalism in the World War I Era," Revue Française d'Etudes Americaines 122: 4 (2009), 54.

[2] Maurine Weiner Greenwald, Women, War, and Work: the Impact of World War I on Women Workers in the United States (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990), 13-32. Susan R. Grayzel, Women and the First World War (London: Pearson, 2002), 27-35.

[3] Alice Kessler-Harris, "Problems of Coalition Building," in Ruth Milkman, ed., Women, Work and Protest: A Century of US Women's Labor History (Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985), 112.

[4] Biographies of Anderson and Van Kleeck may be found in American National Biography. See also Anderson's memoir, Woman at Work: the Autobiography of Mary Anderson as told to Mary N. Winslow (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1973; originally published 1951).

[5] As scholars have argued, women's internationalism often stemmed from particular national circumstances. See, for example, articles by Barbara Molony, Leila J. Rupp, and Ellen L. Fleischmann in Globalizing Feminisms, 1789-1945, ed. Karen Offen (London: Routledge, 2010).

[6] Elizabeth Anne Payne, Reform, Labor, and Feminism: Margaret Dreier Robins and the Women's Trade Union League (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988).

[7] Robin Jacoby, The British and American Women's Trade Union Leagues, 1890-1925 (Brooklyn: Carlson, 1994).

[8] IFWW, Records, 1919-1923, "The Working Women's Conference," clipping from Pax et Libertas, newsletter of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, vol. 1, no. 1, February 1920, B-12, folder 2,Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University (cited hereafter as SL).

[9] "Outlines Standards Labor Women Seek at Peace Treaty," clipping from New York Herald, March 7, 1919, Records of the New York Women's Trade Union League, reel 25; "Plan Worldwide Union," clipping from New York Times, March 7, 1919, Records of NYWTUL, reel 17; "Women Labor Mission is Indorsed by Wilson," unidentified clipping, Records of NYWTUL, reel 17, Papers of the Women's Trade Union League and its Principal Leaders (microform), Edward T. James, Robin Miller Jacoby and Nancy Schrom Dye, eds. (Woodbridge, Conn.: Published for the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College by Research Publications, 1981). Alan Dawley, Changing the World: American Progressives in War and Revolution (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 239-49.

[10] Carol Riegelman Lubin and Anne Winslow, Social Justice for Women: The International Labor Organization and Women (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1990), 21. Rose Schneiderman with Lucy Goldthwaite, All for One (New York: Eriksson, 1967), 135.

[11] Lubin and Winslow, Social Justice for Women, 25.

[12] IFWW, Records, 1919-1923, NWTUL, Call for Delegates, pamphlet, B-12, folder 2, SL.

[13] NWTUL, "This First International Congress of Working Women," [Call for Delegates], August 5, 1919, Records of the NY WTUL, reel 17.

[14] Nations represented at the First ICWW are listed on the cover of "Working Women and the World: A Review of the First International Congress of Working Women," Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, Papers of the NWTUL and Its Principal Leaders, reel 12

[15] For further information on delegates see Cobble "US Labor Women's Internationalism," 47-48; Lubin and Winslow, Social Justice for Women, 25-26.

[16] Memorial by Representative Negro Women, in International Federation of Working Women, First Convention of International Conference of Working Women, Washington, D.C., 4 November 1919, Afternoon Session, Sixth Day, pp. 35-38.

[17] For further discussion, see Paula Giddings, When and Where I Enter (New York: Perennial, 2001), 154-55; Christine Bolt, Sisterhood Questioned: Race, Class and Internationalism in the American and British Women's Movements, c.1880s-1970s (London: Routledge, 2004), 77-78.

[18] Cobble "U.S. Labor Women's Internationalism," 50-51; Rupp, "Constructing Internationalism: The Case of Transnational Women's Organizations, 1888-1945," Globalizing Feminisms, 141-42.

[19] Ulla Wikander, "Demands on the ILO by Internationally Organized Women in 1919," Jasmien Van Daele, Magaly Rodríguez García, Geert Van Goethem, Marcel van der Linden, eds., ILO Histories: Essays on the ILO (Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang, 2010), 67-89.

[20] "To the International Congress of Working Women in Washington," First Convention of International Conference of Working Women, Washington, D.C., 4 November 1919, Afternoon Session, Sixth Day by International Federation of Working Women (November 04, 1919), 22-23.

[21] Morning Session, First Convention of International Conference of Working Women, Washington, D.C., 5 November 1919, Morning Session, Seventh Day by International Federation of Working Women (November 05, 1919), 38-42.

[22] Geert Van Goethem, "An International Experiment of Women Workers: The IFWW, 1919-1924," Revue Belge du Philologie et d'Histoire, vol. 84, no. 4 (2006), 1031-32.

[23] Resolutions adopted by First ICWW by First International Congress of Working Women (Chicago, Ill.: National Women's Trade Union League of America, 1919). For further discussion of the resolutions, see Cobble. "US Labor Women's Internationalism," 48-50.

[24] Jacoby, British and American Women's Trade Union Leagues, 153-54; Bondfield, "Report of the International Women's and the Labour Conferences," The Woman Worker, no. 48 (February 1920), 1-2.

[25] Van Goethem, "An International Experiment of Women Workers," 1032-33.

[26] Wikander, "Demands on the ILO by Internationally Organized Women in 1919," 79-80, 85.

[27] Bondfield, "Report of the International Women's and the Labour Conferences,"1-2. For discussion of the international labor standards, see Cobble "U.S. Labor Women's Internationalism," 48.

[28] Berneice Griswold, "An International Fraternity among Women," Life and Labor, (January 1920), 19-21. Cobble "U.S. Labor Women's Internationalism," 52-53.

[29] Jacoby, British and American Women's Trade Union Leagues, 155-56. See also Bondfield's presentation, First Convention of International Conference of Working Women, Washington, D.C., 4 November 1919, Afternoon Session, Sixth Day (November 04, 1919), 28-30.

[30] Van Goethem, "An International Experiment of Women Workers," 1034-35.

[31] See, for example, Newsletter of the International Congress of Working Women by International Congress of Working Women.

[32] Jacoby, British and American Women's Trade Union Leagues, 157-58. IFWW, Records, 1919-1923, "Faith of Womankind Can Redeem World," clipping from Western Labor News, Winnipeg, Canada, November 4, 1921, B-12, folder 5, SL.

[33] Jacoby, British and American Women's Trade Union Leagues, 160.

[34] "The International Federation of Working Women," Margaret Dreier Robins Papers, Papers of the WTUL, reel 12.

[35] IFWW, Records, 1919-1923, "CONSTITUTION of the INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF WORKING WOMEN," B-12, folder 4, SL.

[36] Quoted in Jacoby, British and American Women's Trade Union Leagues, p. 162.

[37] "The International Federation of Working Women". On Christian and Communist Trade Unions, see Mary E. Dreier, Margaret Dreier Robins: Her Life, Letters and Work (New York: Island Press Cooperative, 1950), p. 165. On admission of women from nations whose unions were not affiliated with the IFTU, see IFWW, Records, 1919-1923, Phillips, "Organising the Working Women's International," clipping from Labour Woman, October 21st, 1922: 161, B-12, folder 2, SL. For discussion of the Standing Joint Committee see IFWW, Records, 1919-1923, Phillips, "The Aims and Constitution of the International Federation of Working Women," clipping from Canadian Congress Journal, August 1922, 436-37, B-12, folder 2, SL.

[38] "The International Federation of Working Women".

[39] IFWW, Records, 1919-1923, "Working Women Pronounce on World Questions: Decisions of the Congress of Working Women held at Geneva in October 1921" clipping from Labour Woman, December 1, 1921, B-12, folder 5, SL.

[40] IFWW, Records, 1919-1923, "Resolution on Disarmament," printed circular, B-12, folder 5, SL.

[41] IFWW, Records, 1919-1923, "Working Women Pronounce on World Questions: Decisions of the Congress of Working Women held at Geneva in October 1921," clipping from Labour Woman, December 1, 1921, B-12, folder 5, SL.

[42] "The International Federation of Working Women," [pamphlet], 1921.

[43] Geert Van Goethem, The Amsterdam International: the World of the IFTU, 1913-1945 (Hampshire: Ashgate, 2006), 159.

[44] Van Goethem, "An International Experiment of Women Workers," 1036.

[45] Dreier, Margaret Dreier Robins, 161-65.

[46] IFWW, Records, 1919-1923, Phillips, "The Aims and Constitution of the IFWW," clipping from Canadian Congress Journal, 436-438, Italics in original, B-12, folder 2, SL.

[47] For further discussion of British versus U.S. labor women's stances toward the IFTU, see Bolt, Sisterhood Questioned, 116-18.

[48] Quoted in Jacoby, British and American Women's Trade Union Leagues, 169-70.

[49] Dreier, Margaret Dreier Robins, 165.

[50] Van Goethem, "An International Experiment of Women Workers," 1039-41.

[51] Van Goethem, "An International Experiment of Women Workers," 1038.

[52] Van Goethem, "An International Experiment of Women Workers," 1041.

[53] IFWW, Records, 1919-1923, "August, in Vienna, 1923," clipping from Labour Woman (1923), 113; "Working Women Will Confer in Hapsburg Home, clipping from New York Call, July 7, 1923, B-12, folder 7, SL.

[54] Van Goethem, "An International Experiment of Women Workers," 1042.

[55] "Biennial Congress at Schönbrun Castle."

[56] IFWW, "Working Women in Many Countries,” Report of Congress held at Vienna, August 1923," (Amsterdam: IFTU), 10.

[57] IFWW, "Working Women in Many Countries," 8.

[58] IFWW, Records, 1919-1923, "International Federation of Working Women," clipping from Life and Labor Bulletin, November 1923, vol. 2, no. 3, B-15, folder 7, SL.

[59] For comparative discussion, see Alice Kessler-Harris, Jane Lewis, and Ulla Wikander, Protecting Women: Labor Legislation in Europe, the United States, and Australia, 1880—1920 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995).

[60] IFWW, Records, 1919-1923, clipping, "The International Federation of Working Women," Life and Labor Bulletin, July 1923, B-15, folder 7, SL.

[61] IFWW, Records, 1919-1923, "International Federation of Working Women: Third Congress, Cologne, August 14-21, 1923," clipping from Life and Labor Bulletin, June 1923, vol. 1, no. 10, B-15, folder 7, SL. (The dates and location of the congress were later changed.) For further discussion, see Susan Pedersen, Family, Dependence, and the Origins of the Welfare State: Britain and France, 1914-1945 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993),

[62] For discussion of women and the living wage, see Dorothy Sue Cobble, The Other Women's Movement: Workplace Justice and Social Rights in Modern America (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005), 116-20, 122, 124-27 and Alice Kessler-Harris, A Woman's Wage: Historical Meanings and Social Consequences (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1990), 6-32.

[63] "Working Women in Many Countries," 11. For working women's claims to wages sufficient for self-support and family support, see Lara Vapnek, Breadwinners: Working Women and Economic Independence, 1865-1920 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009).

[64] "Working Women in Many Countries," 10. For further discussion, see Eileen Boris and Cynthia R. Daniels, Homework: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Paid Labor at Home (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989).

[65] IFWW, Records, 1919-1923, "International Federation of Working Women," Life and Labor Bulletin, November 1923, vol. 2, no. 3, B-12, folder 7, SL.

[66] "IFWW," Life and Labor Bulletin, November, 1923; "Working Women in Many Countries," 10-11.

[67] "Working Women in Many Countries," 10.

[68] "IFWW," Life and Labor Bulletin, November, 1923.

[69] "Working Women in Many Countries," 12.

[70] International Federation of Working Women, Records, 1919-1923, "Nine United States Delegates to Attend the International Federation Convention," unidentified clipping B-12, folder 7, SL. "IFWW," Life and Labor Bulletin, November 1923.

[71] "IFWW," Life and Labor Bulletin, November, 1923.

[72] Jacoby, British and American Women's Trade Union Leagues, 183-86.

[73] Van Goethem, "An International Experiment of Women Workers," 1046.

[74] Cobble "U.S. Labor Women's Internationalism," 54-55.

[75] Jacoby, British and American Women's Trade Union Leagues, chapter 6.

[76] Lubin and Winslow, Social Justice for Women, 28-31; Nitza Berkovitch, From Motherhood to Citizenship: Women's Rights and International Organizations (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999), 88.

[77] For discussion of the term "labor feminism," see Cobble, Other Women's Movement, 3-4, 7-8, 56-57.