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Gender Equity Toolkit: Recommended Reading

The #MeToo Movement

Of Woman Born

Feminist Activism, Women's Rights, and Legal Reform


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This ground-breaking collection investigates the relationship between feminist activism and legal reform as a pathway to gender justice and social change. Since the advent of feminist movements legal reform has been a popular and yet contentious vehicle for seeking women's rights and empowerment. This important book looks at comparative insights drawn from field-based research on the processes, the challenges, and the outcomes of legal reform and feminist activism. Feminist Activism, Women's Rights, and Legal Reform brings together cases from Middle East, Latin America, and Asia of the successes and failures of reform efforts concerning the promulgation and implementation of new family laws and domestic violence codes.

Searching for Scientific Womanpower: Technocratic Feminism and the Politics of National Security, 1940-1980


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This compelling history of 'technocratic feminism' traces contemporary feminist interest in science to the World War II and early Cold War years. During a period when anxiety about America's supply of scientific personnel ran high and when open support for women's rights generated suspicion, feminist reformers routinely invoked national security rhetoric and scientific 'manpower' concerns in their efforts to advance women's education and employment. Despite the limitations of this strategy, it laid the groundwork for later feminist reforms in both science and society. Drawing on an impressive array of archival collections and primary sources, Puaca brings to light the untold story of an important but largely overlooked strand of feminist activism.

Big Sister: Feminism, Conservatism, and Conspiracy in the Heartland


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The mid-Seventies represented a watershed era for feminism. A historic National Women's Conference convened in Houston in 1977. The Equal Rights Amendment inched toward passage. Conservative women in the Midwest, however, saw an event like the International Year of the Woman not as a celebration, but as part of a conspiracy that would lead to radicalism and one-world government. Erin M. Kempker delves into how conspiracy theories affected--and undermined--second wave feminism in the Midwest. Focusing on Indiana, Kempker views this phenomenon within the larger history of right-wing fears of subversion during the Cold War. Feminists and conservative women each believed they spoke in women's best interests. Though baffled by the conservative dread of 'collectivism,' feminists compromised by trimming radicals from their ranks. Conservative women, meanwhile, proved adept at applying old fears to new targets. Kemper's analysis places the women's opposing viewpoints side by side to unlock the differences that separated the groups, explain one to the other, and reveal feminism's fate in the Midwest.

We Should All Be Feminists

Rachel Carson and Her Sisters

Silent Spring

Cold War Progressives: Women's Interracial Organizing for Peace and Freedom


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In recognizing the relation between gender, race, and class oppression, American women of the postwar Progressive Party made the claim that peace required not merely the absence of violence, but also the presence of social and political equality. For progressive women, peace was the essential thread that connected the various aspects of their activist agendas. This study maps the routes taken by postwar popular front women activists into peace and freedom movements of the 1960s and 1970s. Historian Jacqueline Castledine tells the story of their decades-long effort to keep their intertwined social and political causes from unraveling and to maintain the connections among peace, feminism, and racial equality.

More Than Medicine: A History of the Feminist Women's Health Movement


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In 1948, the Constitution of the World Health Organization declared, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Yet this idea was not predominant in the United States immediately after World War II, especially when it came to women's reproductive health. Both legal and medical institutions—and the male legislators and physicians who populated those institutions—reinforced women's second class social status and restricted their ability to make their own choices about reproductive health care. In More Than Medicine, Jennifer Nelson reveals how feminists of the ‘60s and ‘70s applied the lessons of the new left and civil rights movements to generate a women's health movement.

Dr. Harriot Kezia Hunt: Nineteenth-Century Physician and Woman's Rights Advocate


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Harriot Kezia Hunt was a pioneer in a number of ways. The first woman to establish a successful medical practice in the United States, she began seeing patients in Boston in 1835 and promoted a new method of treatment by listening to women's troubles or their 'heart histories.' Her unsuccessful efforts to attend lectures at Harvard's Medical School galvanized her activism in the woman's rights movement. During the 1850s she played a prominent role in the annual woman's rights conventions and was the first woman in Massachusetts to publicly protest the injustice of taxing propertied women while denying them the franchise. In this first comprehensive, full-length biography of Hunt, Myra C. Glenn shows how this single woman from a working-class Boston home became a successful physician and noted reformer, illuminating the struggle for woman's rights and the fractious and gendered nature of medicine in antebellum America.

Sister Outsider

Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom

The Woman's Hour

Transnational Feminism in the United States: Knowledge, Ethics, Power


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The acceleration of economic globalization and the rapid global flows of people, culture, and information have intensified the importance of developing transnational understandings of contemporary issues. Transnational feminist perspectives have provided a unique outlook on women's lives and have deepened our understanding of the gendered nature of global processes. Transnational Feminism in the United States examines how transnational perspectives shape the ways in which we create and disseminate knowledge about the world within the United States, and how the paradigm of transnational feminism is affected by national narratives and public discourses within the country itself.

Fighting Chance: The Struggle Over Woman Suffrage and Black Suffrage in Reconstruction America


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The advocates of woman suffrage and black suffrage came to a bitter falling-out in the midst of Reconstruction, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton opposed the 15th Amendment because it granted the vote to black men but not to women. How did these two causes, so long allied, come to this? Based on extensive research, Fighting Chance is a major contribution to women's history and to 19th-century political history--a story of how idealists descended to racist betrayal and desperate failure.

The Subjection of Women