Women’s Workplace Activism Lecture

The Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program presents the 22nd annual Diane Weiss ‘80 Memorial Lecture:

“Ending ‘Jane Crow’: How Women’s Workplace Activism in the 1970s Changed the Country”

Nancy MacLean
Professor of History and African American Studies
Northwestern University

In the 1950s, women were shut out of good jobs at all levels, sometimes by law, in a pattern so stark it was later called sex segregation. Today, at least some women work in nearly every occupation and workplace diversity is a point of pride, even as many problems and challenges remain. How did such a transformation happen?

MacLean’s lecture will tell the dramatic story of the most popular feminist organizing of the 1960s and 1970s: that which sought workplace justice. Showing how that wide-ranging activism built the movement and transformed gender in America, her talk will refute the hackneyed stereotype of feminism as a white, middle-class movement unconcerned with race and class. In workplace activism, black women and working-class women led the movement for change in ways that change conventional understandings of second-wave feminism.

Revealing how the movement built its most diverse and inclusive coalitions around women’s economic concerns, this history also suggests ways forward for feminists in the new economic and political era.

Date: Thursday, February 12
Time: 8:00 p.m.
Place: Russell House
Reception to follow