Transnational Gender Politics in Turkish Labor Unions, 1975-1980

Busra Sati, Binghamton University, SUNY

This paper focuses on the ideology and discourses of Tekstil Iscileri Sendikasi (the Textile Workers' Union, Tekstil ) in Turkey to highlight some of the specific visions of the organized labor for emancipatory gender politics during the 1970s. The history of intersection between gender and working-class organizing in that period has been overlooked by the left scholarship on the one hand and liberal feminist scholarship on the other. My paper addresses this gap in the literature by highlighting gender and class concurrently through the history of the transformation of gender politics in labor organizations. The history of the development of gender politics in Tekstil/DISK and TEKSIF/Turk-Is reveals an unexplored aspect of the fierce competition between rival labor organizations. I argue that between 1975 and 1980, the promotion of gender policies and the promise of gender-specific measures at the workplace became another pillar in trade union competition. Following the transnational roots of this transformation, specifically, the influence of the Soviet gender politics and the US organized labor, this paper highlights a forgotten period of labor organizing and locates it within the history of labor and women's movements on the national and global scale.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 96. The Political Economy of Gender at Work