David Hanzlick traces the rise and evolution of women’s activism in a rapidly growing, Midwestern border city, one deeply scarred by the Civil War and struggling to determine its meaning. Over the course of 70 years, women in Kansas City emerged from the domestic sphere by forming and working in female-led organizations to provide charitable relief, reform society’s ills, and ultimately claim space for themselves as full participants in the American polity. Focusing on the social construction of gender, class, and race, and the influence of political philosophy in shaping responses to poverty, Hanzlick also considers the ways in which city politics shaped the interactions of local activist women with national women’s groups and male-led organizations.
During World War II, as women stepped in to fill jobs vacated by men in the armed services, the federal government established public child care centers in local communities for the first time. When the government announced plans to withdraw funding and terminate its child care services at the end of the war, women in California protested and lobbied to keep their centers open, even as these services rapidly vanished in other states.
Analyzing the informal networks of cross-class and cross-race reformers, policymakers, and educators, Demanding Child Care: Women's Activism and the Politics of Welfare, 1940–1971 traces the rapidly changing alliances among these groups. During the early stages of the childcare movement, feminists, Communists, and labor activists banded together, only to have these alliances dissolve by the 1950s as the movement welcomed new leadership composed of working-class mothers and early childhood educators. In the 1960s, when federal policymakers earmarked child care funds for children of women on welfare and children described as culturally deprived, it expanded child care services available to these groups but eventually eliminated public child care for the working poor.
Deftly exploring the possibilities for partnership as well as the limitations among these key parties, Fousekis helps to explain the barriers to a publically funded comprehensive child care program in the United States.
Many immigrant communities along the U.S. border with Mexico are colonias, border settlements lacking infrastructure or safe housing. A Jumble of Needs examines the leadership of Mexican women immigrants in three colonias in New Mexico, documenting the role of NGOs in shaping women’s activism in these communities. Ethnographer Rebecca Dolhinow, who worked in the colonias, uncovers why such attempts to exercise political agency are so rarely successful.
Central to the relationship between NGOs and women activists in colonias, Dolhinow argues, is the looming presence of the neoliberal political project. In particular, the discourses of caretaking that NGOs use to recruit women into leadership positions simultaneously naturalize and depoliticize the activist work that these women do in their communities. Dolhinow discovers the connections between colonias as isolated communities and colonia leaders as political subjects who unintentionally reinforce neoliberal policy. In the long run, she finds, any politicization that might take place is limited to the women leaders and seldom involves the community as a whole.
Surprisingly, Dolhinow reveals, many NGOs promote neoliberal ideals, resulting in continued disenfranchisement, despite the women’s activism to better their lives, families, and communities.
Vitally linked to the Caribbean and southern Europe as well as to the Confederacy, the Cigar City of Tampa, Florida, never fit comfortably into the biracial mold of the New South. In Southern Discomfort, highly regarded historian Nancy A. Hewitt explores the interactions among distinct groups of women--native-born white, African American, Cuban and Italian immigrant women--that shaped women's activism in this vibrant, multiethnic city.
Southern Discomfort emphasizes the process by which women forged and reformulated their activist identities from Reconstruction through the U.S. declaration of war against Spain in April 1898, the industrywide cigar strike of 1901, and the emergence of progressive reform and labor militancy. This masterful volume also recasts our understanding of southern history by demonstrating how Tampa's triracial networks alternately challenged and reinscribed the South's biracial social and political order.
In this groundbreaking study, Portnoy links antebellum Indian removal debates with crucial, simultaneous debates about African Americans--abolition of slavery and African colonization--revealing ways European American women negotiated prohibitions to make their voices heard. Situating the debates within contemporary, competing ideas about race, religion, and nation, Portnoy examines the means by which women argued for a "right to speak" on national policy.
In Women's Activism and Feminist Agency in Mozambique and Nicaragua, Jennifer Leigh Disney investigates the contours of women’s emancipation outside the framework of liberal democracy and a market economy. She interviews 146 women and men in the two countries to explore the comparative contribution of women’s participation in subsistence and informal economies, political parties and civil society organizations. She also discusses military struggles against colonialism and imperialism in fostering feminist agency to provide a fascinating look at how each movement evolved and how it changed in a post-revolutionary climate.
Through in-depth interviews with activists, the authors provide a broad and thorough introduction to the emerging women's movement and women's organizations in Russia. The focus is on the development of women's activism in late Soviet and post-Soviet Russia and the challenges for activists in a time of resurgent nationalism and turmoil over democratic reform.
Linda Racioppi and Katherine O'Sullivan See present a concise history of women's situation in tsarist Soviet Russia, which shows how their ability to organize was constrained by social strictures and state policies. They also analyze how the state-sponsored Soviet Women's Committee and new groups like the Independent Women's Forum, the Women's League, and the International Institute for Entrepreneurial Development responded to the challenges and opportunities of the transition. The authors examine the dynamics among these groups as well. The personal life histories of the activists reflect the ways women have responded to the changing political, economic, and social landscape in the former Soviet Union.
Women's Activism in Latin America and the Caribbean brings together a group of interdisciplinary scholars who analyze and document the diversity, vibrancy, and effectiveness of women's experiences and organizing in Latin America and the Caribbean during the past four decades. Most of the expressions of collective agency are analyzed in this book within the context of the neoliberal model of globalization that has seriously affected most Latin American and Caribbean women's lives in multiple ways. Contributors explore the emergence of the area's feminist movement, dictatorships of the 1970s, the Central American uprisings, the urban, grassroots organizing for better living conditions, and finally, the turn toward public policy and formal political involvement and the alternative globalization movement. Geared toward bridging cultural realities, this volume represents women's transformations, challenges, and hopes, while considering the analytical tools needed to dissect the realities, understand the alternatives, and promote gender democracy.