The Women's Liberation Movement in America

The Women's Liberation Movement in America

The Women's Liberation Movement in America

The Women's Liberation Movement in America

Synopsis

The women's liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s changed the lives of a vast majority of women, especially young women, in America. This introduction to the movement provides not only a narrative overview, but also a wealth of ready-reference materials, including 13 lengthy biographical profiles of key figures, a broad selection of 15 primary source documents, a glossary of terms, and a useful annotated bibliography. The women's liberation movement was an outgrowth of earlier waves of feminism, including the women's suffrage movement that gained women the right to vote in 1920. In a succession of chronologically organized chapters, Berkeley tells the tumultuous story of the movement from its historical roots through the present.

Excerpt

When did the women's liberation movement begin? Who were its leaders and who made up its rank and file? What were the movement's philosophies, goals, and tactics? Are the terms women's liberation, women's rights, and feminism synonymous? If not, what are the differences? Is the movement in existence today, and if so, how popular is it; or did it die out, and if so, when and why? The answers to these questions depend, not so surprisingly, on context, perspective, and definition.

This study seeks answers to the above questions by placing the women's liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s within the larger context of the history of feminism across the landscape of twentieth-century America. This interpretation does not negate those of other historians who link the emergence of women's liberation to the historically specific conditions that produced the political and social unrest of the 1960s. Still, this text is predicated on the assumption that earlier examples of feminist agitation laid the groundwork for the critique of American society offered by those who would rediscover feminism during the turbulent decades of the 1960s and 1970s.

Chapter 1 introduces readers to the concepts of women's rights and women's liberation, terms generally associated with the most recent feminist agitation. Then the chapter moves back in time to examine both the flowering of feminism during the Progressive and New Deal eras and the political assaults on the movement during the years following World War I and World War II. Chapters 2 and 3 pick up the story of modern feminism by exploring its stirrings in the early 1960s with the creation of President John F. Kennedy . . .

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