Today in labor history, July 19, 1848: The first ever women’s rights convention convenes in Seneca Falls, New York, with almost 200 women in attendance, calling for equal rights and suffrage. A local newspaper’s response: “This bolt is the most shocking and unnatural incident ever recorded in the history of womanity. If our ladies will insist on voting and legislating, where, gentlemen, will be our dinners and our elbows? Where our domestic firesides and the holes in our stockings?”
Today in labor history, July 28, 1869: Women shoemakers in Lynn, Massachusetts, form the Daughters of St. Crispin, demanding pay equal to that of men. It was modeled on and supported by the Knights of St. Crispin, the national shoe workers union, which went on record supporting equal pay for equal work. The Daughters of St. Crispin is recognized as the first national union of women.
Today in labor history, April 17, 2012: Today is Equal Pay Day. Originating in 1996 by the National Committee on Pay Equity, the day serves to bring public awareness to the gap between men’s and women’s wages. This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned the previous year.
Today in labor history, March 8, 1908: 15,000 women workers in the needle trades take to the streets of New York City on the 51st anniversary of the 1857 protest by women garment workers. They demanded better working conditions, suffrage, and an end to child labor. March 8 has been celebrated as International Women’s Day since 1910.