Pat Horn initially got exposed to politics in the early 1970s through her involvement with adult literacy projects during her days as a university student. In 1975 she raised funds and started a literacy project involving factory workers in the Western Cape. In 1976 Pat moved to Durban where she was to set up a similar project. It is in Durban that she first got to work closely with trade unionists. Her work with trade unions led to her receiving a banning order that was to last until 1981.
When her banning order was lifted, she went back into union politics and she started working with the Paper, Wood and Allied Workers Union. She was with the union until 1984 when she left. Between 1985 and 1991, Pat worked with the Chemical and Industrial Workers Union, where she was mainly involved in women’s committees. Her involvement with women’s issues within the union triggered to raise funds to start a Women’s Trade union that was to focus on the informal sector, an idea she got from a project based in India. In 1993 SEWA was launched as a body whose purpose was to organize women in the informal sector.
In 2000 Pat’s work extended to organizing street vendors and she is currently the International Coordinator of an alliance of street vendors, Street Net.