top of page

American Women in the Labor Movement

Women have contributed so much to world history, and have, unfortunately, been written right out of it. Feminists in the 1960s and 1970s began unearthing forgotten women and writing about them, teaching about them, and making the world aware. Now, writers, historians, journalists, academics, and even bloggers are finding these women and their stories and making them even more available. However, women (as well as people of color, members of the LGBTQA+ community, disabled people, and others) are still often seen as secondary or as a footnote. Below are some American women (and a few groups and events) who were and are important to the American Labor Movement. They were/are leaders, speakers, agitators, union bosses, writers, politicians, strikers, union members, and ordinary women who had enough. Some were eclipsed by male counterparts in the history books. Others became known for other things. Many are women who most Americans have never heard of.

All I am doing here is listing--in alphabetical order--a lot of these important women. It is up to you to do some research.You will not be disappointed in what you find! Some of these women are still alive, and of those, many are still active. 

Jane Addams

Charlotte Adelman

Sarah G. Bagley

Arlene Holt Baker

Black Rosies

Sarah “Mother” Blizzard

Dorothy Bolden

Louise Bradley

Bread and Roses Strike

Irene Drukker Broh

Hattie Canty

Linda Chavez‐Thompson

May Chen

Chinatown Garment Workers’ Strike

Shirley Chisholm

Coalition of Labor Union Women

Laurita Curley

The Daughters of St. Crispin

Caroline Dawson Davis

Dorothy Day

Jessie de la Cruz

Neidi Dominguez

Ann Draper

Ruby Duncan

Crystal Dunn

Edith Easterling

Crystal Eastman

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn

Naomi Parker Fraley

Nan Freeman

Pat Gibbs

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Emma Goldman

Irene Gonzalez

Dorothy Haener

Dr. Alice Hamilton

Mary Kay Henry

Velma Hopkins

Hotel Workers Rising

Beth Howard

Joyce Howell

Dolores Huerta

Sara Hughes

Josephine Hulett

Arlene Inouye

The ILGWU (International Ladies’ Garment        

    Workers Union)

Sonia Ivany

Mother Jones (Mary G. Harris Jones)

Florence Kelley

Yuri Kochiyama

Mae Krier

Mary Lease

Sue Ko Lee

Clara Leimlich

Líderes Campesinas

Delores Lone Wolf

Lowell Factory Girls

Jean Maddox

Mary McLeod Bethune

Joyce Miller

The Mink Brigade

Patsy Mink

Luisa Moreno

Elizabeth Morgan

Kate Mullaney

National Council of Negro Women

Sara Nelson

Agnes Nestor

Pauline Newman

Eleanor Holmes Norton

Stella Nowicki

Mary Hamilton O'Connor

Lenora O’Reilly

Lucy Parsons

Lucy Gonzales Parsons

Liz Pecos

Frances Perkins

Rose Pesotta

Esther Peterson

Ai-jen Poo

Katie Quan

The Radium Girls

Florence Reece

Geraldine Roberts

Dolly Robinson

Harriet Hanson Robinson

Jess Morales Rocketto

Rosie the Riveter

Rose Schneiderman

Fannie Sellins

Liz Shuler

Karen Silkwood

Edith Sloan

Maida Springer‐Kemp

Vicky Starr

Crystal Lee Sutton

Jessie Taft

Ida B. Tarbell

Emma Tenayuca

Shelva Thompson

Rosina Corrothers Tucker

United Telegraph Workers Strike

Eva McDonald Valesh

Velma Veloria

Lillian Wald

The Washing Society

Ella Mae Wiggins

Sue Cowan Williams

Myra Wolfgang

Women Strike for Peace

The Women’s Trade Union League

Addie Wyatt

Rannelle Yazzie

bottom of page