Feminist Duration Reading Group: Wages for Housework – Confrontation

7 November 2017

Tue 7 Nov, 7-9pm
SPACE Mare Street
Free & all welcome

The November meeting of the Feminist Duration Reading Group comprises an out-loud reading of the transcription of the 1975 episode of Confrontation, produced by the CBC. It features Canadian spokesperson for the Wages for Housework Committee Judith Ramirez who, reviled by a panel that includes writer Richard Lubbock, actress Barbara Hamilton and Eileen Morris from HOMEMAKER Magazine, advocates for payment to housewives.

The International Wages for Housework Campaign was a feminist and social movement formed to raise awareness of how housework and childcare as the basis of all social reproduction and industrial work. The groups, which included lesbians, black and third world women, were not only discussion clubs or thought experiments. The demands for the Wages for Housework formally called for economic compensation for domestic work but also used these demands to more generally call attention to the affective labor of women, and made explicit how capitalist economies exploited labour practices against women.

In addition to the transcript for Confrontation, the papers “The Autonomy of Black Lesbian Women,” by Wilmette Brown of Black Women for Wages for Housework, and the manifesto “Fucking is Work,” by Wages Due Lesbians will be read.  With thanks to Christina Rousseau who sourced these texts for an earlier meeting on Wages for Housework organised with the Emilia-Amalia feminist working group in Toronto.

Hosted by artist Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn, this instalment of the Feminist Duration Reading Group stems from her research on lyrics written by Boo Watson, former member of the Wages for Housework and Wages Due Lesbians. Watson's songs featured in the Wages for Housework International's “Conference song book” (1975). Nguyễn is interested in the process of translation from social struggles to a collective voice. 'If women were paid for all they do, there'd be a lot of wages due' sang the women campaigners in the 1970s.

The Feminist Duration Reading Group focuses on under-known and under-appreciated feminist texts, movements, groups and struggles from outside the Anglo-American feminist tradition. Started at Goldsmiths, University of London, in March 2015, since July 2015 it has met at SPACE, 129 – 131 Mare Street in Hackney.

The group generally meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 7pm and is open to people of all genders. 

If you would like to join the Feminist Duration Reading Group mailing list, or propose a focus for a subsequent session, please email feministduration@gmail.com.