If Eight Hours Seem Too Few
Mobilization of Women Workers in the Italian Rice Fields
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This book is the first to present a vivid and accurate picture of the thousands of women who worked weeding the rice fields in northern Italy during the early part of the nineteenth century. It explores a wide range of issues including the political, economic, and social history of Italy; labor legislation; the role of the judicial system; the sexual division of labor; family structure; class conflict between the rural proletariat and the politically influential capitalist farmers; work-related diseases; internal migration of labor; and child labor.
The author provides penetrating insights into the Socialist Party's efforts to wrest women workers from the influence of the Catholic Church; the history of Italian feminism and the campaign for the vote; and finally, the workers' opposition to Italy's entrance into World War I. She analyzes the weeders' relations with labor organizers; their desire to preserve their autonomy; and their decisions regarding labor actions; and she highlights similarities between the weeders' experiences and those of other women workers and labor organizers in Europe and the U. S. .