The Chicago Strike and the History of American Teachers' Unions

Dana Goldstein takes us back to the 1830s, when, for several very good reasons, free public education was just taking off:

The inescapable reality, however, was that schools were expensive, and Americans, then as now, didn’t like high taxes. So in order to rapidly open many more schools, states, cities, and towns made the conscious choice to hire mostly female teachers, who were cheaper to employ.

Goldstein provides important context to the current strike without engaging in partisanship. This is more than I can say for the post on The Frisky that linked me to Goldstein’s site with the lede: “Why the teachers’ strike in Chicago is a feminist issue” without providing any explanation of why feminists should feel compelled to care about the strike.

Is this where we are now—a place where any issue that touches on ground beloved by certain feminists must be “a feminist issue”? I understand how teachers’ unions have feminism at their roots, but why does that have any bearing on the current conflict?