Excluded from voting at the founding convention of the International Labor Organization, working women from around the world gathered in 1919 in Washington, D.C., to create the first International Federation of Working Women.
Their lasting impact on the international labor movement and on social policy will be analyzed Sept. 30 in the annual Alice Hanson Cook Distinguished Lecture.
Rutgers University Professor Dorothy Sue Cobble will speak about the labor feminists who changed the workplace for generations.
The event begins at 4:30 p.m. in Room 105 of Ives Hall. It is free and open to the public.
"Lost for too long, these foremothers laid the foundation for today's vibrant transnational labor activism and global feminism," she said.
Professor Cook spent 30 years at ILR, first as a researcher and then as a professor. She died in 1998.
Her research, scholarship and activism on behalf of women workers are commemorated through the Cook lecture and a professorship in her name. Rosemary Batt is ILR's Alice Cook Professor of Women and Work.
Cobble, who will speak Sept. 30, studies the changing nature of work, social movements and social policy in the United State and globally.
She received the 2010 Sol Stetin Award from The Sidney Hillman Foundation for the body of her work, which includes Dishing It Out: Waitresses and Their Unions in the Twentieth Century and Women and Unions: Forging a Partnership.
Other books include The Other Women's Movement: Workplace Justice and Social Rights in Modern America, which won the 2005 Philip Taft Book Prize for the best book in American labor history in 2004, and The Sex of Class: Women Transforming American Labor.
Currently a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, Cobble is finishing a historical study of American labor's traditions of egalitarian liberalism and internationalism in the twentieth century.
She is also working on a biography of labor feminist and consumer activist Esther Peterson.
Cobble's research has been funded by organizations including the Russell Sage Foundation, the Charles Warren Center for the Study of American History at Harvard University, the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies and the U. S. Department of Labor.