Women’s Activism brings together twelve innovative contributions from feminist historians from around the world to look at how women have always found ways to challenge or fight inequalities and hierarchies as individuals, in international women’s organizations, as political leaders, and in global forums such as the United Nations.
The book is divided into three parts. Part one, brings together four essays about organized women’s activism across borders. The chapters in part two focus on the variety of women’s activism and explore women’s activism in different national and political contexts. And part three explores the changing relationships and inequalities among women.
This book addresses women’s internationalism and struggle for their rights in the international arena; it deals with racism and colonialism in Australia, India and Europe; women’s movements and political activism in South Africa, Eastern Bengal (Bangladesh), the United Kingdom, Japan and France. Essential reading for anyone interested in women’s history and the history of activism more generally
Table of Contents
Introduction. Part 1: Transnational Women’s Activism 1. ‘Overcoming Hierarchies through Internationalism : May Wright Sewall’s Engagement with the International Council of Women (1888-1904)’ Karen Offen 2. ‘Transnational mentoring: the impact of Sarojini Naidu's 1924 visit to South Africa on Cissie Gool and women's leadership’ Patricia van der Spuy and Lindsay Clowes 3. "Spectacular Feminism": The International History of Women, World Citizenship and Human Rights Glenda Sluga 4. ‘Cold War Internationalisms, Nationalisms and the Yugoslav-Soviet Split: The Union of Italian Women and the Antifascist Women's Front of Yugoslavia’ Chiara Bonfiglioli Part 2: Varieties of Women’s Activism 5. "We are equal to men in ability to do anything!": African Jamaican women and citizenship in the interwar years Henrice Altink 6. ‘The trials and tribulations of a black woman leader: Lilian Ngoyi and the South African liberation struggle’ Barbara Caine 7. ‘East Bengal Women’s Education, Literature and Journalism: From the Late Nineteenth Century Through the 1960s’ Shirin Akhtar 8. ‘Fighting the Double Moral Standard in Edwardian Britain: Suffragette Militancy, Sexuality and the Nation in the Writings of the Early Twentieth-Century Century British Feminist, Christabel Pankhurst' June Purvis 9. ‘Housewives-Lib and Co-op in Japan (1970s-1990s)' Kiyoko Yamaguchi Part 3: Changing Relationships between ‘Unequal Sisters’ 10. ‘Plenty European ladies told me you should give me fair place same as everybody’: Gender, race and Aboriginal domestic service’ Victoria Haskins 11. "A Breach of Confidence by Their Greatly Beloved Principal": A Furore at Women’s Christian College, Chennai, India, 1940. Margaret Allen 12. ‘Confronting ‘Race’: French Feminism’s Struggle to Become Global’ Jennifer Duncan
Francisca de Haan is Professor of Gender Studies at the Central European University,
Budapest, Hungary. Her publications include The Rise of Caring Power. Elizabeth Fry and Josephine Butler in Britain and the Netherlands (Amsterdam University Press, 1999), co-authored with Annemieke van Drenth; and A Biographical Dictionary of Women’s Movements and Feminisms. Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe, 19th and 20th Centuries (Central European University Press, 2006), co-edited with Krassimira Daskalova and Anna Loutfi.
June Purvis is Professor of Women’s and Gender History, University of Portsmouth, UK. Her publications include, Emmeline Pankhurst: a biography (2002, Routledge), and The Women’s Suffrage Movement: new feminist perspectives, co-edited with Maroula Joannou (Manchester University Press, 1998 and 2010).
Margaret Allen is Professor Emerita in Gender Studies, University of Adelaide, Australia. Her publications include, as coauthor, Fresh Evidence, New Witnesses Finding Women's History Adelaide, (Stateprint, 1989) and Limited Access: Women's Disadvantage in Higher Education Employment (NTEU, 1995).
Krassmira Daskalova is a Professor of Modern European Cultural History at the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences, St. Kliment Ohridski University of Sofia, Bulgaria. She is the author, editor and co-editor of fifteen books
"Women's Activism is a groundbreaking collection of essays that explore in depth the histories, contradictions, tensions, and potential coalitions among feminist ideologies and communities around the world. From examining how women’s rights evolved in the early years of the United Nations to feminist organizing in late nineteenth- and early-twentieth century Eastern Bengal to the political organizing of tradition-minded housewives in post-1970s Japan the twelve essays here not only inform but challenge the reader on multiple levels. Perfect for the classroom and for simply reading Women's Activism is a superb, and much needed collection of contemporary scholarship." - Michael Bronski, Harvard University, USA
"This is a very valuable set of essays offering fresh insights on the international contexts that have shaped feminist agency and women's activism across the modern world. It is of significance to all students and scholars of women's and gender history, women's studies, and feminist politics." - Louise A. Jackson, University of Edinburgh, UK
"Women's Activism: Global Perspectives from the 1980s to the Present is an inspiring work. It offers clear and insightful analysis of complex topics within the women's liberation movement, while engaging the reader in an easy-to-read writing style. As it describes recent forms of activism from the 1980s until the present day, as the title already makes clear, Women's Activism not only offers the reader insights into the history of women's activism, but also offers inspiration to individuals and collectives to continue resisting forms of inequality against women at all levels."
Yvette Wijnandts, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, in Women's Studies International Forum
"The editors of... Women’s Activism: Global Perspectives from the 1890s to the Present, Francisca de Haan, Margaret Allen, June Purvis and Krassimira Daskalova, take as their starting-point a tripartite conceptual framework, set out in an excellent introduction. The three main contentions at the heart of this project are the global interconnectedness of women’s activism for social justice, the need to set aside a single-minded focus on gender as a category of analysis, and the urgency of de-centring Eurocentric perspectives... The global focus of this collection throws the differences between women, and the problems of using ‘gender’ as a single category of analysis, into sharp relief."
Josie McLellan, University of Bristol, UK, in English Historical Review