Liberating women’s time. Sexual division of labor and feminist action in 1848

By Caroline Fayolle

This article examines everyday time as an issue of political struggle for socialist feminists during the 1848 revolution. The latter denounced a sexual division of labor and time that hindered the participation of working-class women in social and political life. To this end, they took two intrinsically linked steps. On the one hand, they sought to give visibility to the domestic work that monopolized the daily time of working-class women and constrained their capacity for political action. On the other hand, they proposed concrete solutions, such as the creation of childcare centers within workers’ associations, aimed at freeing up the time necessary for women to become involved in the organization of collective life. The aim of this article is thus to understand how the socialist feminist utopia aiming to outline another way of life—that of an egalitarian and inclusive society—implies the conception of social time in its materiality.

  • Feminism
  • Sexual division of labor
  • Time
  • Revolution of 1848.
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