The American Women's Movement
First Edition   ©2009

The American Women's Movement

A Brief History with Documents

Nancy MacLean

  • ISBN-10: 0-312-44801-5; ISBN-13: 978-0-312-44801-1; Format: Paper Text, 224 pages

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. Nancy 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.
"At long last a collection that dispels the myth that feminism was a movement of white middle-class women only! Longtime activists from labor union, civil rights, and homophile movements played their part as did young women from different races, classes, and sexual preferences. Nancy MacLean conveys the diversity, dynamism, and development of the movement with an incisive introductory essay and compelling documents. Students and teachers alike will find much to consider and discuss."
— Nan Enstad, University of Wisconsin, Madison