Meet Camden's 91-year-old activist, writer and intersectional feminist, Selma James

Selma James pictures in 2015 at an International Women's Day conference held in Hampstead. 

Selma James pictured in 2015 at an International Women's Day conference held in Hampstead. - Credit: Polly Hancock

For the latest edition of the Ham&High Podcast, we interviewed writer, campaigner and “force of nature” Selma James about the 50th anniversary of her pioneering International Wages for Housework Campaign, which put unpaid caring on the agenda. 

Locally, Selma is best known for co-founding the Crossroads Women’s Centre in Kentish Town in 1975, which has become the longest standing women's centre in London. She lives in a commune in Kilburn.

Selma’s work started in 1945, when she was just 15. She joined the Johnson-Forest Tendency, a group within Trotskyism led by Trinidad socialist historian and activist CLR James, whom she later married. When she was 22, Selma wrote her first pamphlet, A Woman's Place. 

At 91 years old, Selma shows no sign of slowing down. In July she published another book, Our Time Is Now. But today, we focused on the impact her International Wages for Housework Campaign had on feminism and the rest of the world. 

Her campaign argued that women’s unwaged work – in the home, in the field, in childcare, in the community – should be paid for by the government. The movement coined the term “unwaged work”. 

But 50 years later, has anything changed for women and unpaid carers? 

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