Women and Wildcats: Unofficial Women’s Strikes in Sweden in the 1970s and 1980s


1 June 2015


Volume 1 – Number 6

How to cite

Christer Thörnqvist and Susanne Fransson



While the strike propensity in manufacturing declined in the 1980s and 1990s, it remained high or even increased in services, health care, education and so on. Thegrowing portion of tertiary sector employment has further moved the searchlight from men to women, as the demographic transformation in work has promoted a feminization of strikes. However, what if we go back in history, to when strikes and industrial conflict was still mainly a men’s concern? Did women go on strike at all, and if so, how did their strikes differ from the overall pattern? The 1970s was the decade of “resurgence of class conflict” in Western societies, including Sweden, with an outstanding upsurge of strikes in many countries. There is an affluence of studies of both the 1970s strike-waves and single strikes in this rebellious decade, but few of them deal with female-dominated strikes. This article explores women’s strikes in Sweden in the 1970s and 1980s with special attention to the treatment in the Labour Court, since the article finds a remarkable difference in legal outcome between “male” and “female” strikes.


Wildcat strikes, Sweden, 1970s-1980s, Feminization of strikes, Labour Court