Feminism and Women's Rights Worldwide

Article excerpt

Michele A. Paludi, ed., FEMINISM AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS WORLDWIDE. Santa Barbara CA: Praeger, 2010. 3 vols. bibl. ill. index. $154.95, ISBN 978-0313375965; eBook set (contact publisher for price), ISBN 978-0313375972. Vol. I, Heritage, Roles, and Issues. 280p. ISBN 978-0313375989. Vol. II, Mental and Physical Health. 290p. ISBN 978-0313376009. Vol. Ill, Feminism as Human Rights. 292p. ISBN 978-0313376023.

  Because women's work is never done and is underpaid
  or unpaid or boring or reperitious and were the first
  to get fired and what we look like is more important
  than what we do ... And for lots of other reasons we
  are part of the women's liberation movement, (vol.
  I, p. ix)

In three volumes totaling some 862 pages, Michele Paludi has drawn together an encyclopedic body of research, analysis, and finely drawn conclusions to paint a remarkably detailed picture of the place and circumstance of women in the world today. Although the title includes the term "feminism," which can imply women having a degree of freedom and power, this work shows not just the opportunities but also the limitations and challenges women face globally, and it does so with remarkable clarity and, at times, aching honesty.

Each volume begins in the same way: a series introduction, acknowledgments, and an introduction to the volume. Each then focuses on a different central theme; is made up of signed chapters, each with a solid bibliography; and concludes with biographies of its own contributors and an index. Each of the first two volumes also has an appendix: "Women's Studies Programs in the United States" in Volume I and "Feminist and Women's Rights Organizations Worldwide" in Volume II.

Although many chapters focus on feminism in the United States, the "worldwide" promise of the title is fulfilled in detailed surveys from many countries. …