Das Kapital Questions and Answers
by Karl Marx

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What is Marx's view on women in society?

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Marx was an inclusive economist and political thinker. Despite writing in the Victorian era, when women had few rights, he actively addressed their role in society. Specifically, he saw that women had been exploited by capitalism, as we see in the first volume of Das Kapital:

The labour of women and children was, therefore, the first thing sought for by capitalists who used machinery.

This idea is echoed in The Communist Manifesto. Marx accused the bourgeoisie of viewing women as “instruments of production.” Marx advocates the end of this exploitation and makes clear that under communism, no such treatment of women (or children) would exist.

However, it is worth noting that The Communist Manifesto finishes by calling on “working men of the world to unite.” Notice that women are not directly addressed here. This implies that, although Marx advocated for an end to their oppression and exploitation, he followed the Victorian view that women would not play an active role in a radical...

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