Two bad there aren't more female truck drivers. Maybe things would be different! I don't think women get enough credit for what they actually accomplish when fighting for the unions.

“Whatever the fight, don’t be ladylike.”

So said labor organizer and self-professed “hell-raiser” Mary “Mother Jones” Harris more than a century ago as she called to action the wives of striking coal miners across Appalachia. Their combined efforts helped drum up public support and turn the tide in the miners’ favor. At the time, women were shut out of union activity and shunted to the sidelines during labor battles; they were relegated to domestic duties or caught in the crossfire as collateral damage.
This renewed energy is coming disproportionately from women. In fact, women — and particularly women of color — remain on the front lines of worker-organizing in a variety of industries, including those our patriarchal society has long coded as “women’s work.” Workers in a slew of traditionally feminized labor sectors — from education and domestic work to food service and sex work — have driven some of the movement’s most important victories. That is critically important both because they now make up the majority of the working class, and because their involvement is helping to reshape the priorities of organized labor.

Women always have been on the front lines of labor, but during the 1970s, U.S. working-class demographics started their decisive shift toward the current reality, one in which the stereotypical “white guy in a hard hat” who once signified working class, has been supplanted by women, specifically women of color. The Coalition of Labor Union Women was founded by union women in 1974, and the 1979 film “Norma Rae” resonated for a reason. Women radicalized by the feminist movements of the ’60s and ’70s were bringing that energy into the workplace and started demanding more. During the Reagan era, when the 1981 PATCO strike was defeated and organized labor was brought to its knees, women’s voices were present, but not amplified.