Harmar celebrates Women’s History Month.
Throughout March, we’ll feature the strong, principled, courageous, and visionary women that have given of themselves to make a difference in the world.
Born in 1882 and an immigrant to the United States in 1890, Rose Schneiderman would become one of the most important voices in the United States for the rights of working women.
After being forced to work at a young age, due to the death of her father and the need to help support her family, Ms. Schneiderman would find employment in the dangerous garment industry in NYC. At just 21 years old, working at a cap factory, Schneiderman would help to organize a labor union and would lead a successful strike to earn more rights for the workers at the plant.
By 1908 Rose Schneiderman was organizing full-time and joined the New York Women’s Trade Union League as the first full-time organizer for women in the garment industry. By 1917, she would be named the president of the New York Women’s Trade Union.
Facing pervasive discrimination and sexism, and mounting disappointment with the predominantly male leadership in trade unions, Schneiderman moved on to working at the state level in New York to enact laws to protect laborers – most especially women who were protected by separate laws at the time.
Through her activism and efforts, Schneiderman met Eleanor Roosevelt and would become friends with both Eleanor and Franklin D. Roosevelt, eventually becoming a trusted advisor to FDR. As President, Roosevelt appointed Schneiderman as the only woman on the Labor Advisory Board of the National Recovery Administration. In her role, she would help inform key legislation like the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 and the National Industrial Recovery Act.
From 1937 – 1943 Ms. Schneiderman served as the secretary of the New York State Department of Labor. At the time of her death in 1972, in her obituary, the New York Times declared that she had done, “more to upgrade the dignity and living standards of working women than any other American.”
Harmar salutes Rose Schneiderman.