League of Women Shoppers

Christmas card sold by the League of Women Shoppers, 1942

Twenty socially conscious women who wished to use their power as consumers to obtain justice for workers founded the League of Women Shoppers (LWS) in New York City in June 1935. By 1937, the New York group claimed thousands of members and established branches in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Newark, New Jersey, and Columbus, Ohio. Although the LWS was officially non-partisan and, according to its constitution, "non-political," many members, including Jessie Lloyd O'Connor, Lillian Hellman, and Freda Kirchwey, had ties to other progressive and labor organizations. The official purposes of the League were threefold: to investigate the working conditions in the stores they patronized and the factories that produced the goods they consumed; to educate and organize consumers to support union organizing and to press for better wages and working conditions for workers who produced goods and provided services; and to protect and improve American living standards through both grassroots actions, such as boycotts and buyers' cooperatives, and legal regulation, such as rent and price controls and the protection of wages. In keeping with its unofficial progressive bent and political agenda, the LWS also supported other social justice causes, including civil rights for African-Americans and equal pay for women workers.

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2016-08-18 01:08:14 am

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