The American women’s movement was one of the most influential social movements of the twentieth century. Beginning with small numbers, the women’s movement eventually involved tens of thousands of women and men. Longstanding ideas and habits came under scrutiny as activists questioned and changed the nation’s basic institutions, including all branches of government, the workplace, and the family.
MacLean’s introduction and collection of primary sources engage students with the most up-to-date scholarship in U.S. women’s history. The introduction traces the deep roots of the women’s movement and demonstrates the continuity from women’s activism in the labor movement and New Deal networks, the black civil rights movement, and the peace movement to the height of Second Wave feminism and into the Third Wave. The primary sources reflect the social breadth and depth of the movement.
Dispelling the misconception that the American women’s movement was solely a white, middle-class cause, the documents include the voices of women of all ages, classes, and ethnicities. Topics addressed range from wage discrimination, peace activism, housework and childcare, sexuality, and reproductive rights to welfare, education, socialism, violence against women, and more. Document headnotes, a chronology of the women’s movement, questions for consideration, a selected bibliography, and index support student learning, classroom discussion, and further research.