The story

Rose Schneiderman

Rose Schneiderman



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Rose Schneiderman, the daughter of Jewish parents, was born in Saven, Poland, 1882. When Rose was eight years old her family emigrated to the United States. After the death of her father, Rose and her brothers and sisters were brought up in various orphanages.

At thirteen Rose was forced to go out to work: "I got a place in Hearn's as cash girl, and after working there three weeks changed to Ridley's, where I remained for two and a half years. I finally left because the pay was so very poor and there did not seem to be any chance of advancement, and a friend told me that I could do better making caps."

She eventually went to work in a factory in search of higher wages: "After I had been working as a cap maker for three years it began to dawn on me that we girls needed an organization. The men had organized already, and had gained some advantages, but the bosses had lost nothing, as they took it out on us. Finally Miss Brout and I and another girl went to the National Board of United Cloth Hat and Cap Makers when it was in session, and asked-them to organize the girls. Then came a big strike. About 100 girls went out. The result was a victory, which netted us - I mean the girls - $2 increase in our wages on the average."

Rose developed radical political views and became an active socialist and trade unionist. She also joined the campaign for women's suffrage. In 1903 she founded the Jewish Socialist United Cloth Hat and Cap Makers' Union. This was the start of a long career in which she eventually became president of the Women's Trade Union League.

Rose Schneiderman died in 1972.

When the other children were sent away mother was able to send me back to school, and I stayed in this school (Houston Street Grammar) till I had reached the Sixth Grammar Grade.

Then I had to leave in order to help support the family. I got a place in Hearn's as cash girl, and after working there three weeks changed to Ridley's, where I remained for two and a half years. I finally left because the pay was so very poor and there did not seem to be any chance of advancement, and a friend told me that I could do better making caps.

So I got a place in the factory of Hein & Fox. The hours were from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and we made all sorts of linings - or, rather, we stitched in the linings - golf caps, yachting caps, etc. It was piece work, and we received from three and a half cents to 10 cents a dozen, according to the different grades. By working hard we could make an average of about $5 a week. We would have made more but had to provide our own machines, which cost us $45, we paying for them on the installment plan. We paid $5 down and $1 a month after that.

I learned the business in about two months, and then made as much as the others, and was consequently doing quite well when the factory burned down, destroying all our machines - 150 of them. This was very hard on the girls who had paid for their machines. It was not so bad for me, as I had only paid a little of what I owed.

After I had been working as a cap maker for three years it began to dawn on me that we girls needed an organization. The men had organized already, and had gained some advantages, but the bosses had lost nothing, as they took it out on us.

Finally Miss Brout and I and another girl went to the National Board of United Cloth Hat and Cap Makers when it was in session, and asked-them to organize the girls

Then came a big strike. The result was a victory, which netted us - I mean the girls - $2 increase in our wages on the average.

All the time our union was progressing very nicely. There were lectures to make us understand what trades unionism is and our real position in the labor movement. I read upon the subject and grew more and more interested, and after a time I became a member of the National Board, and had duties and responsibilities that kept me busy after my day's work was done.

But all was not lovely by any means. Soon notices were hung in the various shops: "After the 26th of December, 1904, this shop will be run on the open shop system, the bosses having the right to engage and discharge employees as they see fit, whether the latter are union or nonunion."

Of course, we knew that this meant an attack on the union. The bosses intended gradually to get rid of us, employing in our place child labor and raw immigrant girls who would work for next to nothing.

Our people were very restive, saying that they could not sit under that notice, and that if the National Board did not call them out soon they would go out of themselves.

At last word was sent out, and at 2:30 o'clock all the workers stopped, and, laying down their scissors and other tools, marched out, some of them singing the "Marseillaise."

We were out for thirteen weeks, and the girls established their reputation. They were on picket duty from seven o'clock in the morning till six o'clock in the evening, and gained over many of the nonunion workers by appeals to them to quit working against us.

During this strike period we girls each received $3 a week; single men $3 a week, and married men $5 a week. This was paid us by the National Board.

We were greatly helped by the other unions, because the open shop issue was a tremendous one, and this was the second fight which the bosses had conducted for it.

Their first was with the tailors, whom they beat. If they now could beat us the outlook for unionism would be bad.

Some were aided and we stuck out, and won a glorious victory all along the line. That was only last week. The shops are open now for all union hands and for them only.

Our trade is well organized, we have won two victories and are not going backward.

But there is much to be done in other directions. The shop girls certainly need organization, and I think that they ought to be easy to organize, as their duties are simple and regular and they have a regular scale of wages.

Many saleswomen on Grand and Division streets, and, in fact, all over the East Side, work from 8 a.m. till 9 p.m. week days, and one-half a day on Sundays for $5 and $6 a week; so they certainly need organization.

The waitresses also could easily be organized, and perhaps the domestic servants. I don't know about stenographers. I have not come in contact with them.

Women have proved in the late strike that they can be faithful to an organization and to each other. The men give us the credit of winning the strike.

The girls and women by their meetings and discussions come to understand and sympathize with each other, and more and more easily they act together.

So we must stand together to resist, for we will get what we can take - just that and no more.


Today in history: Feminist labor organizer Rose Schneiderman is born

Rose Schneiderman was born on April 6, 1882. A fiery labor orator, feminist and socialist, she served as president of the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL). “It is up to the working people to save themselves,” she declared in a famous eulogy to the victims of the 1911 Triangle Fire.

A pioneer in the battle to increase wages and improve working conditions for women, she was born in Saven, Poland. She and her family came to the U.S. six years later. At age 16 she began factory work in New York City’s garment district and quickly became a union organizer. Opposed to the open shop policy, which permitted non-union members to work in a unionized shop, Schneiderman organized a 1913 strike of 25,000 women shirtwaist workers. She worked as an organizer for the ILGWU, and WTUL, serving as its president for more than 20 years. During the Great Depression President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed her to his Labor Advisory Board, the only woman member.

Schneiderman campaigned for women’s suffrage as a member of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. She saw the vote as part and parcel of the fight for economic rights. A state legislator warned in 1912: “Get women into the arena of politics with its alliances and distressing contests – the delicacy is gone, the charm is gone, and you emasculize women.” Schneiderman replied:

“We have women working in the foundries, stripped to the waist, if you please, because of the heat. Yet the Senator says nothing about these women losing their charm. They have got to retain their charm and delicacy and work in foundries. Of course, you know the reason they are employed in foundries is that they are cheaper and work longer hours than men. Women in the laundries, for instance, stand for 13 or 14 hours in the terrible steam and heat with their hands in hot starch. Surely these women won’t lose any more of their beauty and charm by putting a ballot in a ballot box once a year than they are likely to lose standing in foundries or laundries all year round. There is no harder contest than the contest for bread, let me tell you that.”

Rose Schneiderman is also credited with coining one of the most memorable phrases of the women’s movement and the labor movement of her era:

“What the woman who labors wants is the right to live, not simply exist – the right to life as the rich woman has the right to life, and the sun and music and art. You have nothing that the humblest worker has not a right to have also. The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too. Help, you women of privilege, give her the ballot to fight with.”

Her phrase “Bread and Roses” became associated with a 1912 textile strike of largely immigrant, largely women workers in Lawrence, Mass. It was later used as the title of a poem by James Oppenheim, and was set to music by Mimi Fariña and sung by many solo artists and labor choruses.

In 1949, Schneiderman retired from public life, making occasional radio speeches and appearances for various labor unions, devoting her time to writing her memoirs, which she published under the title “All for One” in 1967.

Schneiderman never married, but had a long-term relationship with Maud O’Farrell Swartz, another working-class woman active in the WTUL, until Swartz’ death in 1937. Schneiderman died in New York City on August 11, 1972, at age ninety.

Adapted from Jewish Currents, Chase’s Calendar of Events and Wikipedia


Analysis and Conclusion

Schneiderman’s work connecting the women’s rights with the labor union and ultimately with the suffragist movement was one of the most important aspects of first-wave feminism. When Schneiderman first jumped into the worker’s union, she had to face harsh disapproval from the male-dominant association. However, she was never intimidated, and her stirring speeches were able to draw substantial attention to labor unions as she emphasized the hardship of women in the labor force. Her role as the first female leader in the union brought attention to working-class women who had been neglected for a long time.

Schneiderman did have successful accomplishments in pushing legislation in favor of unions. However, as she worked under government agencies for a period of time, some of her colleagues viewed her work as being less proactive. This showed that the first-wave feminists did not all have the same directionality and opinions in their activism. Her conflict between equal rights feminists also shows that the women had divided opinions with the suffrage movement. There were many arguments between older upper-middle-class women who led the initial suffrage movement and newer trade union women like Schneiderman. However, regardless of the divergence and the right-or-wrongs of their perspectives, their fight towards universal rights across gender and class were all influential towards first-wave feminism. Schneiderman opposing the Equal Rights Amendment shows her struggle on being the professional representative of working-class women, and how much she cared about the labor movement as a Jewish working woman herself. As such discussions on equal or special treatment for different communities in the workplace is still going on, recalling Schneiderman’s perspective on this argument can aid to the ongoing development of workplace equity.

Schneiderman’s quote on bread and roses is still recalled frequently in modern feminist movements, and her contribution in bringing awareness to women’s work field was a key factor in the feminist movement that we should continue to discuss. Her work brought up the discussion on worker’s rights, and how labor is something more than merely earning a living. To Schneiderman, the feminist and labor movement was taking care of herself and other women just like her. By watching so many working women suffer at their workplace, Schneiderman’s activism was a notable accomplishment to bring awareness to those whose rights have not been discussed for a long time. We cannot say that workplace equality is established now even over 100 years after Schneiderman held her rallies thus, bringing back her contributions and ideology can be an important recall of history needed in the present.

Rose Schneiderman, Pres. of Nat Women’s Trade Union League. (Harris & Ewing, 1935)


Rose Schneiderman

Rose Schneiderman was born in Poland on April 16, 1882. Her parents, Samuel and Deborah, believed strongly in education for girls and sent Rose first to heder [religious school] and then to public school. In 1890, the family immigrated to New York City. When Samuel died two years later, Deborah did everything she could to support her children, but she was forced to place them in an orphanage temporarily. When Rose returned from the orphanage, her mother worked nights so she could attend school during the days. But when Deborah lost her job, thirteen-year-old Rose left school to find work.

For three years, Schneiderman worked as a salesgirl. But department store work, while considered more respectable than factory work, was badly paid, and Schneiderman eventually became a cap maker instead. Although she earned more than as a salesgirl, wages were still low and working conditions poor, and Schneiderman became interested in the labor movement. Convinced that unions could help the working class, she organized her workplace into a branch of the United Cloth Hat and Cap Makers' Union. At first skeptical that a woman could organize other workers, male union leaders were impressed by Schneiderman. Though only four feet nine inches tall, she could command the attention of a crowd with her powerful speaking skills. She soon became the first woman elected to national office in an American labor movement.

While leading a cap makers' strike, she became involved with the New York Women's Trade Union League (NYWTUL), founded by middle-class women to help working women unionize. By 1906, she had become vice president of the NYWTUL, and in 1908 she began working as the League's chief organizer, focusing on New York City's garment workshops. Schneiderman’s organizing work helped pave the way for the "Uprising of the 20,000," a large general strike by garment workers (mostly young women, majority Jewish) in 1909-1910 that proved women could be effective union members.

Schneiderman was also an influential figure in the activism following the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire, which killed 146 garment workers (mostly young Jewish immigrant women) on March 25, 1911. The scale of the tragedy provoked widespread grief and outrage. In a speech she gave at a meeting protesting the fire, Schneiderman expressed her anger that the lives of working people were not valued more and held citizens accountable for the poor conditions of workers' lives. Responses to the fire such as Schneiderman's led to the creation of more effective fire and safety regulations for the workplace.

Schneiderman's skills brought her to a statewide and then national stage. In the years before women got the right to vote, she played a key role in the New York State suffrage campaign. In 1920, she ran for the US Senate on the Labor Party ticket. Though she did not win, her campaign brought attention to the needs of working people. Schneiderman became a nationally-known figure and was both a personal friend of and political influence on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, serving as the only woman on the National Labor Advisory Board and helping to shape New Deal legislation. In 1937, she took the post of Secretary of Labor for New York State.

Schneiderman always remained connected to her Jewish roots, and was particularly active during the late 1930s and 1940s in the efforts to rescue Jewish refugees from Europe and resettle them in the US and in Palestine.

Rose Schneiderman never married, but she did form close and loving relationships with several other women prominent in the labor movement. She died in 1972, at age 90.


She was one of the most influential leaders of the American labor movement

Rose Schneiderman (1882-1972), a Jewish immigrant from Poland, began working as a cap-maker at a factory in the Lower East Side of New York City at age 16. After a fire at the factory, she helped organize the first female-led chapter of the United Cloth, Hat, Cap and Millinery Workers Union, previously an all-male union. This launched what would become her lifelong fight to improve wages and safety standards for American working women. Following the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, she drew public attention to unsafe work conditions, and advocated for the passage of the New York state referendum of 1917 that gave women the right to vote. Schneiderman is credited with popularizing the phrase “Bread and Roses,” a central rallying cry of the American labor movement indicating a worker’s right to something more than a subsistence living. In 1926, she was elected president of the National Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL), a post she retained until her retirement in 1950. She was friends with Eleanor Roosevelt and a consultant to Franklin D. Roosevelt, increasing their awareness of working-class women’s labor politics. In 1933, Schneiderman was the only woman to serve on the National Recovery Administration’s Labor Advisory Board, helping to construct many New Deal labor policies.

Interviewees: historian Hasia Diner, Paul And Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University and author of Her Works Praise Her: A History of Jewish Women in America From Colonial Times to the Present and labor activist Ai-jen Poo, Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

She was not only a labor organizer, she was a leader in the suffrage movement.

Ensuring that laws are more democratic and protected more people - way ahead of her time.

1898, New York, New York. 16-year-old Rose Schneiderman worked as a seamstress in a hat-making factory.

Many of the garments were produced in sweatshops.

There was no such thing as an eight-hour day. If the employer said, 'I need this number of garments produced by the end of the day,' people just stayed and worked.

When a fire destroyed the factory, the employer forced Schneiderman and her fellow workers to buy new sewing machines out of their own paychecks.

It just infuriated her and set her on her course towards seeing that unions were the only solution.

'We were helpless no one girl dared stand up for anything alone.

It dawned on me that we girls needed an organization.'

Rose Schneiderman was born in 1882 in Saven, Poland to Jewish parents.

The family moved to New York when Schneiderman was about 5 years old, in one of the largest waves of immigration in U.S. history.

Two million or so East-European Jews started migrating in about the 1870s, into the 1920s.

Most of them came because of the economic possibilities in the garment industry.

Like many Jewish immigrants, the Schneiderman's took up residence in the tenements of the Lower East Side.

These apartments were crammed with people, disease was rife, very poor sanitation, it was pretty grim life.

In 1903, Schneiderman formed an all women's chapter of a hat makers' union, and later joined the newly-founded Socialist Party of America.

In the garment industry, men and women worked together, which had a very profound impact on the consciousness of women because they could see they were producing the same number of garments as the male worker next to them and they were getting a lower pay.

In 1905, Schneiderman led a citywide nonviolent strike against pay inequality that resulted in raises for women hat makers.

'Each boss does the best he can to squeeze his workers to the last penny.

We must stand together to resist.'

This brought her to the attention of a group of white middle-class, mostly Christian women, who had already formed the Women's Trade Union League.

And they saw she was a natural leader.

Women have always been on the front lines of the labor movement.

It's just that we haven't always been recognized in that leadership role.

My name is Ai-jen Poo and I'm the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. I started my organizing in the 90s.

And I just thought, this growing low wage service economy was where many immigrant women, especially women of color, were working.

And so if we were going to change things, we would have to start there.

And we came together in 2001 across all these different communities to start organizing.

Schneiderman's efforts to organize women in the garment industry helped build momentum for the 1909 'Uprising of the 20,000.'

They were demanding wages, predictable hours, and some level of control over the work environment.

Wealthy members of the Women's Trade Union League, popularly known as 'The Mink Brigade,' picketed alongside garment workers, to help curb police violence.

They get on the front pages of the newspapers, and their cause becomes everyday news in the city of New York.

The 11-week strike resulted in most garment factories signing protocols to improve work conditions and safety standards.

However, some of the factories didn't sign the protocols.

One of the worst industrial accidents in U.S. history was a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1911, that killed nearly 150 garment workers.

Most of the women died because the doors were locked from the outside, and they jumped out the windows.

For Rose Schneiderman, the fire was not just an abstract tragedy.

She knew people who had been killed.

'This is not the first time girls have been burned alive in the city.

Every week, I must learn of the untimely death of one of my sister workers.

Too much blood has been spilled.'

Realizing that working women needed more than unions to gain political power, Schneiderman co-founded the Wage Earners' League for Women's Suffrage in 1911.

It was an effort to take the issues of socialism and feminism to say that the two have to be pursued together.

She gives this how powerful speech, which gives the women's labor movement the imagery of, we're working for bread - our wages - but we're working for roses - our human dignity.

'What the woman who labors wants is the right to live, not simply exist.

The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too.

Help give her the ballot to fight with.'

Her rallying cry remains one of the most indelible mottos of the American labor movement.

Her enemies, essentially the manufacturers and the conservative trade unionists, saw how effective she was and tried to smear her.

New York state granted women the vote in 1917.

Through her suffrage work, Schneiderman met fellow labor organizer Maud O'Farrell Swartz.

They began a 25-year friendship.

Historians have been pondering what the nature of that relationship was.

Many single women who didn't marry were involved with other women in relationships, which later generations may say, ah, they were lesbians, but I don't think anybody really knows.

In 1918, Schneiderman became president of the New York branch of the Women's Trade Union League, and its national president in 1926.

She served in both positions, organizing women workers, until her retirement in 1949.

The next really important development in her life was she met Eleanor Roosevelt.

Which brings Rose Schneiderman in contact with Franklin Roosevelt.

And he turns to Schneiderman as one of his advisors.

When he became President of the United States in 1933, FDR appointed Schneiderman as the only woman on his New Deal labor advisory board.

She realized that the issues of labor and workers' rights cannot be settled outside of the political arena.

It wasn't enough to negotiate with the boss of this factory or that factory.

It required systematic restructuring of society.

Schneiderman played an important role in shaping New Deal legislation during the Great Depression, including laws for minimum wage, the eight-hour workday, and the right of workers to unionize.

'It thrills me that I had a part in bringing about monumental changes in the lives of working men and women.'

From 1937 to 1944, Schneiderman served as New York state's secretary of labor, where she advocated equal pay for women, and protections for domestic and service workers When labor laws were put into place in the 1930s, farm workers and domestic workers were explicitly excluded.

She played a role in ensuring that laws protected more groups of people.

Right now, we have passed legislation in nine States and just introduced a national domestic worker bill of rights into Congress that will offer some of the basic protections that the rest of us take for granted: real investments in training, protection from sexual harassment and discrimination, paid time off, including national holidays.

It will be a challenge to pass this law, but the beautiful thing is that it is inspiring workers all over the country to stand up and get involved.

In 1961, Schneiderman attended the 50th-anniversary commemoration of the Triangle Factory Fire. She died in 1972 at age 90.

Rose Schneiderman wanted to change the world.

The kind of America which develops out of the New Deal really owes her.

It was women like Rose Schneiderman who transformed jobs during that industrial moment, where people were literally dying in factories, and created an era of generational prosperity.

That's what organizers do: democratize power.

'I know from experience, it is up to the working people to save themselves.

And the only way they can save themselves is by a strong working-class movement.'


You’ve Heard of Eric Schneiderman. You Should Know About Rose Schneiderman.

Jennifer Scanlon is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Bowdoin College. She is the author, most recently, of Until There Is Justice: The Life of Anna Arnold Hedgeman.

Surname: Schneiderman. Jewish. Raised in New York City. Progressive politician. Ally to women. Ally to working people. Ally to immigrants and people of color. Enemy of sexual harassment and assault. Fiery public speaker. Friend to members of New York’s political dynasties. Advocate for higher minimum wages and improved working conditions. New York State officeholder.

The rapid downfall of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opens up spaces for stories not only about men who abuse but also about women, from the women whose victimization at the hands of intimate partners confounds and enrages, to the women whose leadership in naming and addressing that violence affirms and inspires. Often these are the same women at different stages of their journey. Both sets of stories tell us what we already know: women, whose capacity can barely be contained, are contained, most tragically perhaps by people who allegedly care about them and even, in the case of Eric Schneiderman, fight for them.

We needed the recent photo essay in Cosmopolitan magazine to provide us a visual representation of women’s marginalization and their power in contemporary politics. The stunning photograph of the eleven women who lead New York’s attorney general’s office in the aftermath of Schneiderman’s resignation provides an unassailable truth: women are already there. Women make politics happen, women make politics real, women make life better for their constituents, women have something to teach us about fighting for what’s right. Nevertheless, women remain in the margins.

For historians of women, like myself, the tragedy is not just the silencing of these realities in the present but also the continuous negation of them as we remember our past. It’s a good moment, then, to revisit and commemorate the other Schneiderman, Rose, one of Eric Schneiderman’s most memorable political if not actual forbears. Rose Schneiderman, one of the twentieth-century’s most formidable and tenacious advocates for women and for justice. Rose Schneiderman, whose simple statement more than a hundred years ago captured the realities and the dreams of legions and generations of women workers: “The woman worker wants bread,” she stated plainly in 1911, “but she wants roses too.”

The bread, as Schneiderman biographer Annelise Orleck explains, included shorter hours, higher wages, and safer working conditions in factories and in other places of employment. It included medical care and child care and healthy food and affordable housing. But women then, like women now, wanted more than survival. They wanted roses, too: meaningful employment, access to education, playgrounds for their children, leisure time and the opportunity to enjoy it. Bread and roses. Bread and roses.

Only a year after young Rose Schneiderman immigrated to the United States from Poland, her father died, leaving her mother to raise the three children she already had as well as the one on the way. Despite Deborah Schneiderman’s efforts, her seamstress work, supplemented by taking in boarders and working as a handywoman in the ghetto of the Lower East Side, was not enough they were often hungry, and she was reduced to placing her children in orphanages for periods of time.

At age thirteen Rose, in spite of her mother’s ambitions, or her own, was forced to quit school and start a lifetime of work. That she went from garment worker to leader of the Women’s Trade Union League, from labor organizer to serving as New York State’s Secretary of Labor, attests to her intelligence, passion, and determination. It also provides an illustration of the ways in which networks of women, then as now, matter.

Her allies came over time to include not only her sisters in factory work but also Frances Perkins, the first woman to serve nationally as Secretary of Labor, and Eleanor Roosevelt, the First Lady who learned much of what she knew about working people and working women from Rose Schneiderman. A photograph of Schneiderman and her cohort would look something like the now-famous photograph of the founders of the #MeToo movement or the women who move into place in the New York State attorney general’s office as Eric Schneiderman moves out, diverse in any number of registers but also united, to one degree or another, by the continued realities of gender discrimination and violence.

Schneiderman’s battles for “bread” resulted in significant changes in the nation’s industrial workforce. During the Great Depression, she authored the New Deal codes that covered the industries dominated by women workers, leading to greater fairness in the workplace. As New York State’s Secretary of Labor, she helped unionize women in a variety of industries, from nursing to domestic work, proving herself an ally of immigrants as well as of the many black and Latina women who worked in service jobs in restaurants, beauty parlors, laundries, and hotels. On other fronts she was less successful, failing to prevent southern employers from paying black women lower wages than they paid white women, or to secure further national protections for domestic workers.

Schneiderman’s battles for “roses” illustrate the complicated nature of intimate relations between women and men, then as now. Without a century’s worth of language to describe what we now call sexism, or misogyny, Schneiderman believed in and advocated for dignity for all women. For her, “roses” included equity in the home as well as the workplace.

At times she spoke back to men who didn’t regard women as full human beings, as when a politician in her hearing declared that the franchise, not yet secured at that point, would de-feminize women. “I asked him if he thought they would lose more of their beauty and charm by putting a ballot in the ballot box than standing around all day in foundries or laundries,” she quipped.

Schneiderman was a fierce orator, beloved by many but harassed by some, including the men who heckled, “Go home and wash your dishes,” or “Who’s taking care of your children?” One memorable day, she sat in Eleanor Roosevelt’s home, following hours of productive discussion and debate about the intolerable conditions of women workers, only to hear the Roosevelts’ sons laughingly deride their mother’s pretensions to understand the world of politics. Men could be allies, but there were often limits to the alliance.

For Rose Schneiderman, bread and roses meant decent work and decent lives, justice and joy, dignity in the workplace and whole personhood in the home. She knew then, as we are continually reminded now, that there’s no divorcing the two. Men who purport to care about women have to care about women. Bread and roses. Bread and roses.


Rose Schneiderman: N.Y. Senators vs. Working Women

Introduction: Rose Schneiderman, an organizer for the New York Women’s Trade Union League, did not participate in the Lawrence strike, but in her suffrage campaigning worked to bring together middle and working-class women in support of women’s right to vote. She makes a good case here against male politicians’ opposition to woman suffrage and she supports working women’s efforts to reduce the hours of labor and secure protective legislation. Schneiderman linked the two reform campaigns arguing, “We want to tell our Senators that the working women of our State demand the vote as an economic necessity. We need it because we are workers and because the workers are the one that have to carry civilization on their backs.” Women textile workers in Lawrence would have appreciated her argument.

Rose Schneiderman, Cap Maker, answers the New York Senator who says:“Get women into the arena of politics with its alliances and distressing contests — the delicacy is gone, the charm is gone, and you emasculize women.”

Fellow-workers, it already has been whispered to you that there is a possibility that our New York Senators don’t know what they are talking about. I am here to voice the same sentiment. It seems to me that if our Senators really represented the people of New York State, they ought to know the conditions under which the majority of the people live. Perhaps, working women are not regarded as women, because it seems to me, when they talk all this trash of theirs about finer qualities and “man’s admiration and devotion to the sex”— “Cornelia’s Jewels” “Preserving Motherhood”— “Woman’s duty to minister to man in the home”— “The delicacy and charm of women being gone,” they cannot mean the working women. We have 800,000 women in New York State who go out into the industrial world, not through any choice of their own, but because necessity forces them out to earn their daily bread.

I am inclined to think if we were sent home now we would not go home.

We want to work, that is the thing. We are not afraid of work, and we are not ashamed to work, but we do decline to be driven we want to work like human beings we want to work for the welfare of the community and not for the welfare of a few.

Can it be that our Senators do not realize that we have women working in every trade but nine?

We have women working in the foundries, stripped to the waist, if you please, because of the heat. Yet the Senator says nothing about these women losing their charm. They have got to retain their charm and delicacy and work in foundries. Of course, you know the reason they are employed in foundries is that they are cheaper and work longer hours than men.

Women in the laundries, for instance, stand for 13 or 14 hours in the terrible steam and heat with their hands in hot starch. Surely these women won’t lose any more of their beauty and charm by putting a ballot in a ballot box once a year than they are likely to lose standing in foundries or laundries all year round.

There is no harder contest than the contest for bread, let me tell you that. Women have got to meet it and in a good many instances they contest for the job with their brother workman. When the woman is preferred, it is because of her weakness, because she is frail, because she will sell her labor for less money than man will sell his.

When our Senators acknowledge that our political life has alliances and distressing contests which would take the charm away from women if she got into them, let me reassure the gentlemen that women’s great charm has always been that when she found things going wrong she has set to work to make them go right. Do our Senators fear that when women get the vote they will demand clean polling places, etc.? It seems to me that this rather gives them away. Is it their wish to keep the voters in such a condition that it is a disgrace for anybody to come in contact with them?

Is not this Senator’s talk about political contests and alliances an insult to all honest voters?

What about the delicacy and charm of women who have to live with men in the condition of a good many male voters on election day? Perhaps the Senators would like them to keep that condition all year round they would not demand much of their political bosses and he could be sure that they would cast their votes for the man who gave them the most booze.

I did some lobbying work last year for the 54-hour bill, and I can tell you how courteous our Senators and Assemblymen are when a disenfranchised citizen tries to convince them of the necessity of shorter hours for working women. I assure you chivalry is dead.

During the hearing at Albany our learned Senators listened to the opposition very carefully they wanted to be able to justify themselves afterwards when they voted against our bill. But when the Committee, who spoke for the working women came to plead for the bill, there was only one Senator left in the room— he was the chairman —he couldn’t very well get out we had to make our arguments to the chairman of the Committee, all the other Senators had left. Mind you, we were pleading for a shorter work week for working-women. We had our evidence to show that physical exhaustion leads to moral exhaustion, and the physical and moral exhaustion of women will lead to the deterioration of the human species. What did these men care. We were voteless working women— no matter what we felt or thought we could not come back at them.

When you ask these gentlemen why they oppose the bill so shamefully, they will tell you it is the fault of the Republican Assembly that the Democrats would have passed it, only that the Republicans held up the bill to consider the canning industry. That is what they say this year, but when you ask them what was the matter last year, when both houses were Democratic, they don’t know what to say.

It seems to me that the working women ought to wake up to the truth of the situation all this talk about women’s charm does not mean working women. Working women are expected to work and produce their kind so that they, too, may work until they die of some industrial disease

We hear our anti-suffragettes saying, “Why, when you get the vote it will hinder you from doing welfare work, doing uplift work.” Who are they going to uplift? Is it you and I they want to uplift? I think if they would lift themselves off our shoulders they would be doing a better bit of useful work. I think you know by now that if the workers got what they earn there would be no need of uplift work and welfare work or anything of that kind.

We want to tell our Senators that the working women of our State demand the vote as an economic necessity. We need it because we are workers and because the workers are the ones that have to carry civilization on their backs.

What does all this talk about becoming mannish signify? I wonder if it will add to my height when I get the vote. I might work for it all the harder if it did. It is too ridiculous, this talk of becoming less womanly, just as if a woman could be anything else except a woman.

This vote that she is going to cast is going to work this marvellous change in her all of a sudden. Just by beginning to think of how the laws are made and using such intelligence as she has to put good men in office with her vote she will be made over into a creature without delicacy or charm.

Poor Mr. Senator, you don’t expect us to put any faith in you when we have seen women working in electric works, working all day with sleeves rolled up until they had developed the muscles of their arms as strong and hard as a strong man’s yet these women were intelligent and charming.

No man need be ashamed of the working-women. They do more than their share of the world’s work. Our Senators do not think long hours is making them mannish or less delicate or less womanly. Not at all. If you tell these men “Those women ought to work only eight hours a day,” they will answer, “No, a woman is a free American citizen you must not hinder her, let her work as many hours as she pleases.”

I honestly believe that it is fear of the enfranchisement of working-women that prompts the Senators to oppose us. They do not want the working-women enfranchised because politicians know that a woman who works will use her ballot intelligently she will make the politician do things which he may not find so profitable therefore, they come out with all these subterfuges.

Senators and legislators are not blind to the horrible conditions around them, especially among women workers. Some of these Senators come from the canning district where women and children may be working 24 hours a day, the canning districts where little children fall asleep while at work in the pens. Others of these Senators come from the textile district, where the whole family goes to work and there is no one to do the administrating of the so-called home again, others of these Senators come from the New York district where women have to sew 37 SEAMS FOR ONE CENT and where a woman has to IRON 70 DOZEN SKIRTS A DAY TO EARN $1.25! It does not speak well for the intelligence of our Senators to come out with statements about women losing their charm and attractiveness, when they begin to use their intelligence in the face of facts like these. If these men really were representatives of the people, if they knew how the people lived, then they would think and act differently. They have a few women in mind, to whom they think it would be a bad thing to give the vote–these are some of the well-to-do women— they are afraid that these women, instead of going down to the settlements to teach a girl how to use her knife and fork, how to be lady-like, etc., might turn their energy into political house-cleaning. And what would the Senator do then, poor thing?

Those Senators who have opposed the enfranchisement of women will be ashamed of themselves in a few years. The vote has got to come whether they like it or not. It is the next step. This republic has got to come to it, and it is going to before long

Every working women ought to work to hasten the day.

I assure you we are not going to sit down on our job we are going to push “Votes for Women” among working women everywhere. Those of you who want to be on the winning side of this abolition movement better join right now.

Let us demonstrate to our Senators and Assemblymen and all other anti-suffragettes everywhere, that the citizens of New York, the voting citizens of New York, stand by this democratic demand for “Votes for Women.”

Editor’s Note: Below is the cover of the pamphlet published with Rose Schneiderman’s response to the Senators.

Wage Earners’ Suffrage League

_______________

Senators vs.

Working Women

_______________

MISS ROSE SCHNEIDERMAN

replies to

NEW YORK SENATOR

Delicacy and Charm of Women

Price, Five Cents

Source: Document 19: “Miss Rose Schneiderman, Cap Maker, Replies to New York Senator on Delicacy and Charm of Women” (New York: Wage Earners’ Suffrage League, 1912) microfilm, History of Women, reel 951, #9222.

0 Replies to &ldquoRose Schneiderman: N.Y. Senators vs. Working Women&rdquo

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Rose Schneiderman

Portrait of Rose Schneiderman, 1909

Library of Congress Photo

Rose Schneiderman’s fierce advocacy for women and workers earned her a reputation as “a tiny, red-haired bundle of social dynamite." She was a leading voice in the trade union movement for over fifty years, organizing on the shop floor, the street corner, and in the halls of Congress and the White House.

Born to an Orthodox Jewish family in what is now Poland in 1882, Schneiderman emigrated with her family to the United States in 1890. They settled in New York City on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Her parents emphasized the importance of learning, and Schneiderman was literate in Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian, and English. After her father’s early death, she was forced to leave school to help support her siblings. She initially found employment in a department store before moving to the dangerous, but more lucrative, garment industry. Schneiderman eventually went to work at a cap factory. It was there, in 1903, that she co-organized Local 23 of the Jewish Socialist United Cloth Hat and Cap Makers’ Union, ultimately leading a successful strike while still in her early twenties.

This success led her to full-time union organizing, and, in 1908, Schneiderman became the New York Women’s Trade Union League’s (NYWTUL) first full-time organizer in the women’s garment industry. In her role with the NYWTUL, Schneiderman worked closely with Clara Lemlich Shavelson of the International Ladies’ Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) during the 1909 garment workers strike in New York City, often referred to as the Uprising of 20,000.

Her powerful speech about the importance of trade unions in the aftermath of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in 1911 further cemented her role as an important voice in the labor movement. In addition to her trade union work, Schneiderman also used her considerable organizing skills toward the cause of women’s suffrage, including a speaking tour sponsored by the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA).

In 1917, Schneiderman became the president of the NYWTUL—the first woman to hold that title. Despite having a position of power, she continued to face sexism and discrimination. Over time, she grew increasingly disappointed with the male-dominated leadership and membership of the trade unions.

In the nineteen-teens and -twenties, Schneiderman worked at the state level in New York to enact labor laws to protect workers, in particular women’s labor laws, since they were distinct from men’s at the time—like women’s minimum wage. In 1920, Schneiderman ran for the United States Senate as the candidate of the New York State Farm Labor Party.

Through the WTUL, Schneiderman met Eleanor Roosevelt, and over the years developed a friendship with her, and with future president Franklin D. Roosevelt. Schneiderman became a trusted adviser on the trade union movement to the Roosevelts, and FDR appointed her to the Labor Advisory Board of the National Recovery Administration (NRA) in 1933. She was the only woman appointed to that body. Schneiderman’s influence with the Roosevelts informed New Deal legislation, including the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 (also known as the Wagner Act) and the National Industrial Recovery Act.

From 1937 to 1943, she served as secretary of the New York State Department of Labor.

Although she retired from public life in 1949, Schneiderman continued to be vocal about social justice and labor issues. She published a memoir of her life in 1967, Rose Schneiderman died in New York City on August 11, 1972.

Bibliography

McGuire, John Thomas. “From Socialism to Social Justice Feminism: Rose Schneiderman and the Quest for Urban Equity, 1911-1933.” Journal of Urban History 35, no. 7 (November 2009): 998–1019. doi:10.1177/0096144209347990.

Orleck, Annelise, Common Sense & a Little Fire: Women and Working-Class Politics in the United States, 1900-1965 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995).

"Rose Schneiderman." 1972. New York Times, Aug 14.

Von Drehle, Dave, Triangle: The Fire that Changed America (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2003).


Selected publications:

All for One (Eriksson, 1967).

On Saturday, March 25, 1911, more than 500 employees of the Triangle Waist Company were working overtime in New York City's ten-story Asch building when the 4:30 power-off bell rang. Leaving their sewing machines for the washrooms, the workers made their way through the narrow rows past wicker baskets overflowing with finished goods—silks, lawns, laces, and the shirtwaists made famous by artist Charles Dana Gibson. Tomorrow's work, layers of lawn alternating with layers of tissue paper, waited on the cutting tables above bins brimming with rags, and in the midst of such fire hazards employees puffed on their cigarettes, versed in the art of blowing smoke under their coats to help their employers ignore such blatant violations of fire regulations. The Asch building was, after all, fireproof.

The fire began in a rag bin. At 4:35, the eighth-floor bookkeeper sent a message to the ninth floor's main offices: "The place is on fire: Run for your lives." From the street below, onlookers, including James Cooper of the New York World, watched the first signs of disaster. "For fully a minute," wrote Cooper, "the spectators seemed in doubt as to whether the smoke meant fire or was simply some unusual smoke that might come from a machine…. Within an other minute the entire eighth floor was spouting little jets of flame from the windows." As it was Saturday, those on the street assumed that the building was deserted until "suddenly something that looked like a bale of dark dress goods was hurled from an eighth-story window…. Another seeming bundle of cloth came hurtling through the same window, but this time a breeze tossed open the cloth and from the crowd of 500 persons came a cry of horror. The breeze disclosed the form of a girl shooting down to instant death."

Rose Schneiderman">

I came to see that poverty is not ordained by heaven, that we could help ourselves.

—Rose Schneiderman

Many workers jumped others rushed to blackened stairways, locked doors, rusted-shut windows, and a fire escape that collapsed beneath their weight. By the time firefighters connected their hoses, the entire eighth floor was ablaze. Jumping as many as three together towards the safety nets hastily held out on the street below them, the young women brought the nets down to the pavement or ripped holes straight through them. Continued Cooper:

A young man helped a girl to the window sill on the ninth floor. Then he held her out deliberately, away from the building, and let her drop. He held out a second girl the same way and let her drop. He held out a third girl who did not resist. They were all as unresisting as if he were helping them into a street car instead of into eternity. He saw that a terrible death awaited them in the flames and his was only a terrible chivalry…. Quick as a flash, he was on the window sill himself. His coat fluttered upwards—the air filled his trouser legs as he came down. I could see he wore tan shoes.

Nearly 150 workers, most of them Jewish immigrant women, lost their lives in the Triangle Fire because the building failed to meet required safety standards. On April 5, "the skies wept," reported the World, as a group of working men and women marched in procession to mourn the fate of "their fellows who perished in the fire at NO. 23 Washington Place, March 25 last." Among the mourners was a woman named Rose Schneider-man. As a union leader and activist, her resolve was intensified: workers would never again be forced to risk their lives to earn their livings.

Born in Russian Poland's village of Saven in 1882, Schneiderman was one of four children of Deborah Rothman Schneiderman and Samuel Schneiderman. Samuel's occupation as a tailor forced Deborah to provide for the family on three rubles a week. "Father was inclined to be satisfied with his lot," Schneiderman later recounted, "as long as he could read books and have friends about him" he shared this pleasure with his family, reading aloud from such works as The Arabian Nights. Teaching his daughter to read and write, he encouraged Schneiderman's dream of becoming a teacher and stressed the importance of a formal education. "Like Mother," she later said, "he was not demonstrative, but he shared his love of books with us, reading to us a great deal and helping me with my lessons. In a way it was natural that I should feel closer to him than to Mother. She had a habit of teasing…. She would praise me to others but never to my face. Father, on the other hand, always encouraged me openly." But if Schneider-man was occasionally at odds with her mother, she also admired her strength, recalling: "When Mother made up her mind, things happened." Though Deborah Schneiderman had never attended school, she had taught herself to read the Jewish prayer book in order to recite the prayers at synagogue.

Finding it difficult to earn enough money in Poland, Samuel moved his family to New York City when Rose was eight. He died two years later. Deborah was left with four children (one of them a newborn), no income, and no means of providing for her family. Along with her four-year-old brother Charles, ten-year-old Rose was placed in an orphanage run by the Hebrew Sheltering Guardian Society. She was issued a uniform and her hair was shorn. "To say it was humiliating," she later wrote, "is to put it mildly." The girls were marched in line and slept in an enormous dormitory. Disobedience was discouraged with beatings or by locking the girls in a closet for up to 24 hours. They owned only the trunks which housed their dolls and books. Schneiderman, in fact, did not even own a trunk, as her mother could not afford to fill it.

In just under a year, Deborah Schneiderman arrived to reclaim her daughter, but the return to the Lower East Side proved depressing. "Everything looked so drab and dismal," wrote Rose, "I almost wished I was back in the orphanage." For the next two years, she cared for her younger sister while attending school, completing nine grades in four years' time. Then her mother lost her job.

At 13, Rose Schneiderman went to work as a cash girl for Hearn's Department Store, bringing home $2.16 after a 64-hour week. Initially, she tried to continue her formal education through night school but soon found that there were other ways of acquiring knowledge she read Bible stories in Yiddish to her mother but chose English novels for herself. She also joined the Lady Manchester Club, where she learned parliamentary procedure. Meanwhile, Schneiderman took a position as check girl for another department store and worked the same hours for a nine-cent salary hike. After three years, a neighbor helped her secure a job in a cap factory, despite her mother's disapproval of the less "genteel" post, where she made $6 a week. She soon advanced to sample maker, a position which brought no raise but guaranteed that she would not be laid off during the slack season. During these years, it was she who saw to it that her family was fed, prompting her later reflections of an unhappy childhood marked by a tremendous sense of responsibility.

But when she reached her early 20s, Schneiderman found her life's passion in the labor movement. In 1903, she encountered Bessie Braut , a reportedly "radical and progressive" woman who showed Schneiderman that the male workers were at least a little better off because they were organized. Pay advances made by the men were absorbed by the women workers rather than employers thus, each half-cent increase for the men equaled a half-cent deduction from the women's paychecks. Convinced that the women workers would benefit from their own union, Schneiderman and two coworkers went to the United Cloth Hat and Cap Makers' Union to ask for assistance. They were told to return with 25 signatures. Two days later, they appeared with the signatures, and Local 23—the first women's branch of the Jewish Socialist Hat and Cap Makers' Union—was chartered in January 1903. Schneiderman served as secretary. "To me," she said, "it is the spirit of trade unionism that is most important, the service of fellowship, the feeling that the hurt of one is the concern of all and that the work of the individual benefits all."

The following year, Schneiderman discovered what she later deemed the most important influence in her life: the Women's Trade Union League (WTUL). She recalled that when attending her first meeting, she saw little business transacted, she heard no reports of any kind, and at the meeting's end everyone danced the Virginia Reel. While this did little to subdue her initial reservations about the League, she did encounter Leonora O'Reilly , a League member who made a marked impression upon her. Schneiderman later made an important connection with Margaret Dreier Robins , another League member, and it was largely due to these friendships that she joined the League in 1905.

O'Reilly, Robins, and Mary Dreier proved strong influences in Schneiderman's life, and she was to work closely with them for many years. Following their examples, she became a more powerful speaker, an "effective, direct, and rather chic woman." In 1906, she was made vice president of the New York League and by 1909 was a full-time organizer for New York's East Side. Though these new appointments meant she would never finish school, her heart, she said, was in the trade-union movement.

November 1909 heralded the "Uprising of the Twenty Thousand"—one of the largest strikes in the history of the East Side. For three winter months, thousands of immigrant women in the shirtwaist industry protested deplorable working conditions, while Schneiderman served as their coordinator. Prominent society women, such as Anne Morgan , joined the picket lines. By the strike's end, their union had not been formally recognized, but the women had effected shorter working days, increased pay, and achieved some safety reforms. Still, without a viable trade union, the workers remained without rights and bargaining power.

Eight months after the strike's conclusion, one of the strikers came before the League, urging action, following a fire in Newark, New Jersey, that claimed the lives of 25 working women. The WTUL then demanded an investigation of all factory buildings. Complaints regarding unsafe working conditions ranged from locked doors to barred windows and buildings without fire escapes. A New York Times article revealed that 99% of factories checked had serious fire hazards. Despite the overwhelming evidence, no action was taken.

In March 1911, three months after the investigation, the historic Triangle Fire broke out. With 146 dead, the tragedy elicited an outpouring of sympathy from the lower East Side ghetto community. Wrote United Press reporter William Shepherd, "I remembered these girls were the shirtwaist makers. I remembered their great strike of last year in which these same girls had demanded more sanitary conditions and more safety precautions in the shops. These dead bodies were the answer."

History has largely credited Schneiderman with laying the groundwork for the reforms that followed. Six weeks after the fire, during a mass meeting at the Metropolitan Opera House on May 2, 1911, the 29-year-old Schneiderman, with her flowing red hair and biting oratory, delivered a speech that swayed public opinion to the labor movement's side and secured the support of wealthy uptown New Yorkers:

This is not the first time girls have burned alive in the city…. Every year thousands are maimed. The life of men and women is so cheap and property is so sacred. There are so many of us for one job it matters little if 140-odd are burned to death…. But every time the workers come out in the only way they know to protest against conditions which are unbearable, the strong hand of the law is allowed to press down heavily upon us…. It is up to the working people to save themselves. The only way they can save themselves is by a strong working-class movement.

Schneiderman addressed rallies throughout the Midwest, advocating not only trade unionism but socialism and suffragism. In 1918, she became president of New York's WTUL—a position she would hold for some 30 years. In the 1920s, she represented the National WTUL at international conferences, ran for U.S. Senate on the Farmer-Labor ticket, and organized the Bryn Mawr Summer School for Working Women. In 1926, she became president of the National League, holding the position until the organization's demise.

When Eleanor Roosevelt , a woman Schneiderman greatly admired, became a member of the WTUL, the two struck up a close friendship. On frequent visits as a guest at Hyde Park, and through correspondence, Schneiderman educated President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the trade-union movement, eventually becoming one of his trusted advisers. Indeed, FDR liked "Rosie," and as Frances Perkins pointed out, she "made a good many things clear to Franklin Roosevelt that he would hardly have known in any other way." Schneiderman was the only woman appointed to the Labor Advisory Board of the National Recovery Administration (NRA), and from 1937 to 1943 she served as secretary of the New York State Department of Labor.

At 85, she published her autobiography All for One, admitting to a childhood longing to become a teacher. She recalled that one of the proud moments in her life occurred when Eleanor Roosevelt stood up at an AFL-CIO convention and told the audience that Rose Schneiderman had taught her all she knew about trade unionism. A few years after she signed herself into an old-age home, Schneiderman died in New York at the age of 90. By the time of her death, the minimum wage and the eight-hour day had become woven into the fabric of American life.


The history behind the 'bread and roses' theme to the London Women's March

"The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too." These were the words uttered on April 2, 1911 by a young Polish-born immigrant woman at a meeting at New York's Metropolitan Opera House.

108 years later, the words "bread and roses" are the rallying cry at Women's March London — which organisers are dubbing the "Bread and Roses March and Rally". Protestors will wield flowers as they march from Portland Place to Trafalgar Square on Jan. 19 and they're being encouraged to donate to local food banks.

Rose Schneiderman was speaking in the aftermath of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire — one of the deadliest industrial disasters in U.S. history which killed 146 workers — 123 of whom were women aged between 14 and 23. "What the woman who labours wants is the right to live, not simply exist — the right to life as the rich woman has the right to life, and the sun and music and art," Schneiderman said, addressing a crowd of mostly privileged women. "You have nothing that the humblest worker has not a right to have also. The worker must have bread, but she must have roses, too. Help, you women of privilege, give her the ballot to fight with."

So, why is a century-old political slogan the defining message of 2019's Women's March in London? Huda Jawad, one of the organisers of the London chapter of the global movement, told us that Schneiderman's speech is just as relevant today as it was 100 years ago. "She was talking in her speech about how rich women should be aware of the privileges they have and that things like art, music, fun, and culture should be enjoyed by workers as well as the privileged," says Jawad.

"What was really amazing about Rose is that she was a Jewish Polish immigrant in America, she was also a lesbian, she never had children, she was one of the first women to organise the Labour movement in America," says Jawad. "She had to drop out of school to go to work in a factory because her father died. She could have done really well had life treated her equally, had she had the privilege of being born in the right family."

This isn't the first time the 'bread and roses' motto has been employed by activists. Just one year after her seminal speech, Schneiderman's phrase was adopted by protestors at the 1912 Textile Strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts — a strike comprising mostly immigrant women workers.

Jawad says that strike was "mainly led by immigrant women" who worked in factories from a diverse array of backgrounds. "It was really a collection of all of the women who worked in the factories who basically asked for fair wages, better working conditions, and rights to go to the toilet," says Jawad.

And it's this message that is at the heart of this year's rally. The idea that all women — be they women of colour, trans women, queer women, disabled women, immigrants, refugees, privileged women, and white women — shouldn't just have access to the rudimentary items needed to survive, they also have the right to art, culture, and dignity.

The idea to name this year's Women's March after Schneiderman's speech came when Jawad and her fellow organisers were sitting around a kitchen table discussing the issues women in the UK are encountering at present. "Someone said, why don't we call it 'bread and roses,'" says Jawad.

The timing of this year's march — which falls at the end of a particularly seismic week in the run-up to the UK's exit from the European Union — has set the tone for this year's march. Whereas the first march was a global reaction to the election of Donald Trump as POTUS, this year's British iteration of the march will focus on causes closer to home — namely, Brexit and the era of austerity which began after the financial crisis and period of economic recession which ensued.

"We wanted a rallying call to celebrate difference but also to recognise that there are different levels of privilege within society, particularly with women," says Jawad. "We wanted to put women at the centre of discussions about austerity, Brexit, and poverty."

So, is Brexit a feminist issue? Jawad says that Brexit "should indeed" be looked upon as a feminist issue. "When you read or see a news report on Brexit, it's often talked about in very abstract terms, and doesn't explain how a mother on a minimum wage can be impacted by that." She feels that "women's voices have been missing" and that the "impact on women is conspicuously absent" in politicians' and the media's analysis of Brexit.

100 years on from its first utterance, what does "bread and roses" mean for women taking to the streets of London this Saturday? Jawad says the 21st century meaning of the phrase is: "the struggle continues." "Regardless of how society develops economically, or politically, or even technologically, we know that the system is structured in a way that will always put women and minoritised people behind men — and a particular type of man," says Jawad.

"That is to say that the structure that leads to misogyny, hate, and phobia is still present and hasn't been removed from society whatever progress we've made, so we still need to do work but also recognise there are now, more than ever, more opportunities to enjoy the roses," says Jawad. "There may be more access to roses, but not everyone can buy them. It's important that we create a space where we share in each others' riches, privilege, but also recognise that we as individuals can do something about it."

While women are facing different issues today than they were 100 years ago, there are also commonalities between women then and now.

"Whereas bread and roses was originally a group of migrant women organising together to call for better conditions of a factory, of an employer, this bread and roses is about us, as an intersecting movement, calling for better conditions from our political leadership and pledging to do it of each other," Jawad added.

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