Thoughts on Women and Society

Thoughts on Women and Society

Thoughts on Women and Society

Thoughts on Women and Society

Excerpt

In the first quarter of 1886, Eleanor Marx-Aveling and Edward Aveling published their essay «The Woman Question» in the quarterly Westminster Review (issued since 1824). This way they joined in the discussion of the role of woman in society and in the companionship of woman and man. This discussion had already been going on for a number of decades and was rapidly gathering force in those years. The authors' Marxist interpretation of the woman question, which has remained of interest up to the present, made them widely known and won them supporters in the growing struggle for the implementation of their ideas.

With this new translation and reprint of the essay on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of its first publication, we want to throw the limelight once more on this important document of working-class history, which deals with the emancipation of woman. Shortly before the founding of the 2nd International in Paris and Clara Zetkin's speech on the professional work of women held there, Marx' youngest daughter and her companion Edward Aveling offered a significant interpretation of the woman question, thus providing a Marxist explanation of a crucial social issue.

Eleanor was induced to write her essay by August Bebel's book Woman and Socialism which, in spite of its being banned by Bismarck's Law against Socialists, had become widely read and well received in 1879. Bebel's book was translated into English in 1885. Eleanor sought to confirm Bebel's thesis with respect to the socialist working- class movement that "there can be no emancipation of hu-

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