Topic: Women's Liberation

Marx and Engels on women’s and sexual oppression and their legacy

Friedrich Engels published his The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State in 1884. He argued that women’s oppression arose with the development of classes in society.  Most feminists of the 1960s and 1970s recognised Engels’ work as a key text, whether inclined to agree with or oppose him.  Yet for all the debates about the book, there is very little understanding of the actual content and importance of not just Engels’, but also Marx’s contribution to establishing the basics of a fight for women’s liberation.

Still fighting for equal pay

Cecilia Judge and Adam Bottomley outline how Australian Services Union members won what has been described as the most significant victory for gender pay equity since the 1970s.

The impact of women's changing role in the workplace

Diane Fieldes looks at the impact on the family of women's increased participation in the paid workforce.

Marxism and women's liberation

Louise O’Shea analyses the position of women today. Engaging with recent feminist and Marxist discussions of women’s oppression she argues for a defence of Marxism as a theory of women’s liberation.

Forgotten women rebels of Eureka

Sandra Bloodworth reviews a new book by Clare Wright, Forgotten Rebels of Eureka. The historical material in Wright’s book not only confronts the masculinist narrative of Eureka which has dominated Australian historiography, but also confirms some key Marxist arguments about women and social struggles.

Defying the stereotypes: women textile workers in Bangladesh

Liz Ross shows that, in spite of brutal exploitation, women textile and garment workers from the industrial revolution in nineteenth century Britain to Bangladesh today have defied the stereotype of passive victims.

The roots of sexual violence

Sandra Bloodworth examines the widespread sexual violence in our society: from intimate partner abuse, to paedophile priests, to attacks on the elderly, the disabled, the mentally ill and children in institutions which supposedly “care” for the oppressed and vulnerable.

Australian unions and the fight for equal pay for women

Katie Wood draws together a rich history of working class struggle for equal pay for women. Unlike some historians who present equal pay as a "feminist" issue won by women's mobilisations against men's resistance, she shows that it has been a union issue since the nineteenth century.

Russia 1917: gender, class and the Bolsheviks

Sandra Bloodworth looks at the impact of identity politics on some of the best feminist and social historians of the Russian revolution.

Foucault’s 'History of Sexuality': A Marxist engagement

Jordan Humphreys argues that Foucault’s explanation of sexuality under capitalism can be incorporated into a Marxist understanding of sexuality and serve to clarify and enrich it.

Against reductionism: Marxism and oppression

Sarah Garnham critically examines theories on the left that have emerged in response to identity politics.

The origins of women’s oppression – a defence of Engels and a new departure

Sandra Bloodworth revisits Engels’ arguments about the origin of women’s oppression.