The life and work of Selma James spans four continents and eight decades. What started as a life of political organizing as a Brooklyn teenager led her to co-found Wages for Housework to fight for the rights of women – from the marginalized to the unseen around the world. Celebrated by the working class, but shunned by Feminists, it’s only now that the concepts of women’s ‘unwaged’ work she first promoted over 70 years ago are finally being recognized by the mainstream.
In 1953, when women were seen and not heard, Selma James, a single mother and factory worker, knew they had a lot to say. She wrote a pamphlet called “A Woman’s Place”. It was the first time the experience of working-class women was reflected back to them in an accessible and authentic way. This drew them together to start a movement: “because of the fact that women lead such similar lives, they know and understand each other.” It struck a profound chord and informed the work she would do for the next 70 plus years.
A WOMAN’S PLACE brings together personal interviews, historical context and compelling narratives to inspire, educate, and spark dialogue about a polarizing figure and her revolutionary ideas. From the factories of 1930s Brooklyn to the women’s movement in 1970s London where feminism was hitting its stride but clashed head on with the approach of Selma James. At 92, she’s had a hand in changing the course of history more than once, but if you think she’d be kicking her feet up in retirement, you’d be wrong.