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Thursday, March 09, 2017

Working Women and International Women's Day

International Women's Day was yesterday, but I just found this article about mill workers who agitated for better treatment during the 1830's and 1840's.  The day started at 4:30 AM, and the women worked for 12-14 hours a day, and half a day on Saturdays. 

I read the article and thought of the long struggles women have endured for equal pay, for decent working conditions, for the vote, and my admiration for those women who fought for changes--who still do--is huge.  We aren't there yet, and conditions for workers in other countries are still dreadful.

Anyway, thinking about mill workers, I was reminded of one of my favorite songs from Working, the Broadway musical based on Studs Terkel's book of the same name.   Terkel's book of interviews with working men and women was first published in 1974.  The musical was first staged in 1978.  I love both the book and the entire album from Working.

The interviews in Terkel's book are fascinating and cover a wide-range of working people.  The songs from the musical are just as varied--some are sad, some funny:  The Housewife, the Waitress, the Teacher.  The book and the musical do not neglect men--a Trucker, a Retiree, a Mason....  The videos I've selected are from the original Broadway production.

migrant worker
My kids grew up with these songs--the first one they fell in love with was the Newsboy: 
So when your head is draggin'Cause your momma's been a-naggin'
And your sister's been annoying
Go throw the paper in the bushes
Watch the bushes go Boin-n-n-g-g-g-g-g


  1. A happy belated International Women's Day! We've come a long way but still have a long way to go yet.

  2. I'm late but still wanted to wish you a Happy International Women's Day! Like Stefanie said, we still have so much more to accomplish.