Working Women’s Day and the Marxist View on Women’s Liberation

To commemorate International Working Women’s Day, we decided to share a speech by Clara Zetkin entitled ‘Only in conjunction with the proletarian woman will socialism be victorious‘.

Zetkin was a great German Marxist-Leninist, leader of the Communist International, and a founder of Working Women’s Day, who for the first time thoroughly established the connection between working women’s liberation and socialism.

The whole speech can be found at the above link, but the key paragraph is reproduced below:

Therefore the liberation struggle of the proletarian woman cannot be similar to the struggle that the bourgeois woman wages against the male of her class. On the contrary, it must be a joint struggle with the male of her class against the entire class of capitalists. She does not need to fight against the men of her class in order to tear down the barriers which have been raised against her participation in the free competition of the market place. Capitalism’s need to exploit and the development of the modern mode of production totally relieves her of having to fight such a struggle. On the contrary, new barriers need to be erected against the exploitation of the proletarian woman. Her rights as wife and mother need to be restored and permanently secured. Her final aim is not the free competition with the man, but the achievement of the political rule of the proletariat. The proletarian woman fights hand in hand with the man of her class against capitalist society. To be sure, she also agrees with the demands of the bourgeois women’s movement, but she regards the fulfillment of these demands simply as a means to enable that movement to enter the battle, equipped with the same weapons, alongside the proletariat.

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