In 1934, the Ligue Feminine d’action sociale was formed among women of the upper classes. According to Haitian historian Madeleine Boucherau, Ligue members chose to move away from their usual model of inidvidualized patronage to a more communal one of inter-class cooperation which would attack Haiti’s greater social problems. The Ligue founded the “Association des Femmes Haitiennes pour l’Organisation du Travail / Association of Haitian Women for the Organization of Work” in 1935, a foundation for homemakers in 1937, and an organization working on behalf of children’s rights in 1939. The latter pursued legislation for the protection of children and published a journal entitled l’Aube [Sunrise]. A fund for social assistance was created in 1939, following a successful lobbying campaign in 1934 to provide an equal minimum wage for men and women, and three weeks paid maternity leave for women. In 1943, their efforts resulted in the opening of a high school for young women in Port-au-Prince and by 1944, girls were admitted to traditionally male high schools in the capital.
Myriam J.A. Chancy, “Feminism in the Third World: Women in Haiti,” Framing Silence: Revolutionary Novels by Haitian Women (1997)
Image: Haitian girl at a market, circa 1970. Bryan Slides Collection, University of Central Florida, Digital Library of the Caribbean.