The Strength of Women

The strength of women has been essential for the construction of the 100-year history of Votorantim. Learn in this record images of the Memória Votorantim collection that represent this journey of struggle, work and strength.

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Women

When Votorantim was bought by Antonio Pereira Ignacio, the company was going through a difficult period involving financial troubles and the relationship with factory workers who were on strike. They were claiming, among other issues, equality of wages between men and women in the same function – thus showing the importance of women as a workforce already in the beginning of the 20th century. Historical data indicate that nearly 60% of the workforce in the emerging industries in Brazil came from women.

Loom section in the Votorantim Textile Factory, n.d.

We should not forget that, in the beginning of the 20th century, Brazil was a country which had recently achieved the status of republic, coming from an imperial experience strongly based on slave labor. Therefore, there was little or no regularization concerning work in the country.

After the strike agreement, the subsequent improvements in working conditions reflected in the production of the factory and the evolution of the industry. In a few years, Votorantim was the main textile firm in the State of São Paulo and one of the largest in Brazil, being in second place concerning the amount of capital invested and production – and the women workers of Votorantim were essential for that.


Loom section in the Votorantim Textile Factory, 1930´s.

WAGE EQUALITY

The following historical document, integral part of the Memória Votorantim collection, is the strike agreement signed by Votorantim with its workers, ensuring, among other rights, the wage equality between man and woman in the same function. “6th The equality of women wage to men wage in the same kind and quality of service and concerning the exclusion of women in night shifts will depend on the Law of the Congress.”

Strike agreement, May 21, 1919