Magazine article Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women's Studies Resources

The Women's Liberation Movement

Magazine article Feminist Collections: A Quarterly of Women's Studies Resources

The Women's Liberation Movement

Article excerpt

Sylvia Engdahl, ed., THE WOMEN'S LIBERATION MOVEMENT Detroit, Ml: Greenhaven Press, a part of Gale Cengage Learning, 2012. (Perspectives on modern world history.) 218p. bibl. index. $42.45, ISBN 978-0737757903.

The movement for women's equality cannot possibly be summed up in 218 pages, bur this volume does a creditable job of covering the most important events, mainly in the United States from the 1960s forward. Recognizable names like Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem are included, but other major activists during the same time period, such as Bella Abzug, are barely mentioned.

The story of the movement is told in the activists' own words through original documents, essays and personal narratives, beginning with the Statement of Purpose of the National Organization for Women (NOW) when it was formed in 1966. Historic documents include 1970 Congressional testimony by Gloria Steinem and a Shirley Chisholm speech to Congress in 1969 arguing for the enactment of the Equal Rights Amendment.

Beloit College's "Mindset List" points out that for the class of 2016, women "have always piloted war planes and space shuttles." (1) These students will benefit from the introduction and first two chapters, which explain the status of women in previous decades, reviewing the movement toward equality from the beginning of the twentieth century and providing context for the subsequent chapters. College students who were born in 1994, twelve years after the time limit for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) expired, will find an overview of the ratification effort reprinted from the Library of Congress American Memory.

The global women's liberation movement is acknowledged by documents from the United Nations and UNESCO. One personal narrative recounts a visit with Swedish feminists in the 1970s who "believed they didn't need one [a liberation movement] since they were so far ahead of everyone else in the sex role debate" (p. …

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