If Eight Hours Seem Too Few

Mobilization of Women Workers in the Italian Rice Fields

By Elda Gentili Zappi

Subjects: Sociology Of Work
Series: SUNY series on Women and Work
Paperback : 9780791404829, 396 pages, July 1991
Hardcover : 9780791404812, 396 pages, July 1991

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Table of contents



1. The Formation of a Female Labor Force in the Rice Fields

2. Weeders' Lives

3. The Early Stage of Mobilization: Protest Actions, Socialist Propaganda, and the Weeders' Response in 1901

4. The First Results of Mobilization

5. Years of Progress, Years of Action, 1903-6

6. Holding the Line, 1907-10

7. Withstanding Agrarian Militancy and Wars, 1911-15

8. Weeders' Consciousness as Women and Workers






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. .