Mariarosa Dalla Costa – Workerism, Feminism and Some Efforts of the United Nations

When I accepted the invitation to give this talk1, I opted for an informative narrative report that would speak about feminism of the 1970s, in particular of a certain strand of that feminism, because the re-opening of a debate on the issue of abortion, on which some positions would withdraw the recognition of women’s self- determination, made me think it useful to let people know the starting point of that battle, which was in Padua on June 5, 1973, a trial for abortion transformed into a moment of political mobilization, inscribed in a context of struggles that were important in determining major changes in the female condition.
The feminist movement in the 1970s in Italy had basically two souls identified by two different paths of action. One was self- consciousness based on the formation of small groups in which women, starting from their own experience, analyzed the female condition and hardships. This was similar to the North American practice of “raising consciousness” and was widely present in Milan and in relationship with the Parisian group “Psychanalyse et Politique” (with Antoinette Fouqué). The other, which carried out “political intervention” and in which Lotta Femminista [Feminist Struggle], later called Movimento per il salario al lavoro domestico (Sld) [the Movement for Wages for Housework (WFH)], was predominant, turned instead to interpreting the female condition beginning with the analysis of capitalist development and changing it through struggles.

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