Animal rights is one of the fastest growing social movements today. Women greatly outnumber men as activists, yet surprisingly, little has been written about the importance and impact of gender on the movement. Women and the Animal Rights Movement combats stereotypes of women activists as mere sentimentalists by exploring the political and moral character of their advocacy on behalf of animals.
Emily Gaarder analyzes the politics of gender in the movement, incorporating in-depth interviews with women and participant observation of animal rights organizations, conferences, and protests to describe struggles over divisions of labor and leadership. Controversies over PETA advertising campaigns that rely on women's sexuality to "sell" animal rights illustrate how female crusaders are asked to prioritize the cause of animals above all else. Gaarder underscores the importance of a paradigm shift in the animal liberation movement, one that seeks a more integrated vision of animal rights that connects universally to other issues--gender, race, economics, and the environment--highlighting that many women activists recognize and are motivated by the connection between the oppression of animals and other social injustices.