Girls Strike

Girls as Striking Workers (Paterson Strike, 1913)

On January 27, 1913, over 800 workers from the Henry Doherty Silk Mill went on strike when four members of the workers' committee were fired for organizing. Within a week, workers across 300 mills in Paterson, New Jersey, went on strike. Although the workforce was mainly composed of adult women, many mill girls joined the strike.

As factory workers, girls had skin in the game.

Paterson Strike Pageant, New York, June 1913

Paterson Strike Pageant, New York, June 1913

Courtesy of Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University

 

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who became a full-time organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World at age 17, June 1913.

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, June 1913

Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, June 1913

Courtesy of Walter P. Reuther Library, Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University

Young girls helped skilled women workers produce this silk.

Ribbon Woven by Paterson Strikers, 1914

Ribbon Woven by Paterson Strikers, 1914

Ribbon Woven by Paterson Strikers, 1914

Ribbon Woven by Paterson Strikers, 1914

Gift of Doris Mauck Friedrichs

While I am on strike, I go around to the school yard to watch the kids play.

—Unidentified girl, 1913

We were frightened when we went in, but we were singing when we went out.

—Unidentified girl, 1913

A girl who has arrived at suffrage will listen to an organizer, but a simpering fool who says “Women ain't got brains enough to vote!” or “Women ought to stay at home,” is beyond hope.

—Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, 1916