The 1913 Women’s Marches – Learning from the Past

Ela Gandhi


In this reflection I provide a broad background to the times in which the 1913 Passive Resistance Campaign took place, with particular reference to women’s participation. I wish to paint, in broad brushstrokes, women’s developing participation in and contribution to the emerging political resistance in the early decades of the twentieth century. Such resistance happened not only in South Africa, but also in other countries, such as the United States and India. I show the political stirrings among women across the racial spectrum and across continents, to suggest something of the surprising scale of the growing opposition among women at this time, opposition which clearly set the tone for the century-long struggles of women. I believe that such an exploration, with more and more stories being inserted, will provide inspiring and useful lessons for our contemporary world.

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