The Feminist Promise: 1972 to the Present by Christine Stansell

I’ve recently become interested in feminism, but I’m not quite sure why.  I saw this book on the shelf in the library, and I thought that if I were interested in feminism it would be good for me to learn a bit of history.

This book is an extremely thorough history of feminism from the writings of Mary Wollstonecraft in 1792 up until the present.  It covers how feminism intertwines with history, beginning with the Revolutionary War and concluding with the implications of feminism on a global society.

I learned a lot about history in general and even more about the history of feminism.  Something I hadn’t known was that the push for women’s rights really got going with the abolitionist movement in the early to mid-nineteenth century.  After the Civil War, the women’s rights movement began the fight for the vote.  It was amazing to me how long it took for women to get the vote.  What amazed me even more was how long it took for women to get equal protection under the law.  For most of our country’s history, women were relegated to a position in society that was defined by their husbands and fathers.  It was only in the past fifty years that women began to enjoy the rights and protections that we currently have.

I can’t imagine living fifty years ago, when women were still fighting for equal rights.  What is really sad is that even now, women are still not equal to men.  We are under-represented in government, and we still do not get paid as much as men.

This book made me want to look into what I can do to help in the fight for true equality between women and men.  Although we have come a long way, the global issues with women still remain prescient and urgent.  Countries outside of the US, Canada, and Western Europe still leave much to be done in the rights of women.  I never before really thought about the plight of women in the second and third world countries in the world.  I guess I was happy in my own little middle-class world.

I think this book should be required reading for all women in the developed world.  The things we take for granted now were only very recently won, and there is still much to be done.

Take It

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