Remarkable Women: Clara Lemlich
This #InternationalWomensDay we’ll be taking a look back at its historical origins, and women throughout history who’ve fought for the rights of other workers.
Born in Ukraine to a Jewish family in 1886, Clara emigrated to the US with her family following the outbreak of anti-Jewish violence in 1903.
A committed socialist, Clara found work in the garment industry when she arrived in New York, but railed against the conditions she found herself and her fellow workers in.
Long hours, high demands following new industrial sewing machines, and humiliating treatment were all issues that Clara fought against that still prevail in the garment industry today.
She became a leader in the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. In 1909 helped facilitate 20,000 of the city’s 32,000 shirtwaist makers to go on strike, known as the Uprising of the 20,000.
She went on to campaign for both womens’, and working class suffrage, and forged alliances with African-American Civil Rights organisation Sojourners For Truth. As a resident in her nursing home in the 1960s, she encouraged workers there to organise.