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very interesting all the history of feminism in one book with the most important turning points
16 April 2020 (21:22)
I guess I'm not a feminist
12 July 2020 (16:32)
05 September 2020 (19:07)
this is not true pdf
22 September 2020 (20:22)
I love this book so lot
08 November 2020 (16:06)
It's nice they were able to put all that crap into one book. Now when I need to point out radical nonsense in the guise of feminism, I dont have to search through several different sources. Handy
27 November 2020 (10:16)
Love this comment section ?
11 February 2021 (20:32)
Not all the misogynist in this comment section .
18 March 2021 (13:06)
What's with all the hate here?
02 April 2021 (16:19)
Thank you to the comment section for demonstrating how necessary this book is ;)
05 April 2021 (23:57)
back in my day everyone was equally prey
05 May 2021 (00:46)
This comment section is gold lol
28 May 2021 (08:58)
i hope i can benefit from this book in my dissertation?
28 May 2021 (19:11)
So many dull, hyper-sensitive man-babies in the comments. Go run to mummy if you can't handle the truth and don't want to develop into proper men. That's how accustomed you thickos are to having been coddled and overprotected all of your lives.
01 June 2021 (01:14)
interesting comment section
11 June 2021 (04:42)
This comment section is plagued by radical feminists and trolls.
14 June 2021 (18:30)
It's noice that they put all junk garbage nonsense inside one book
20 June 2021 (07:28)
ayu and anastasie and all the other underserving douche bags of this comment section, ur all misogynistic, annoying, and this is why ur secretly gay, sad, alone, mad and with no respect, and no one loves you. So go ahead and log yourselves tf off.
27 June 2021 (00:03)
Before reading works I do not give my comments. Now after reading this book I felt that it is a book of great worth in just two setting it gave me all the basic ideas regarding feminism.I recommend the book to all those learners who want to grasp a large sum of idea in little time. You can spare me for my poor English grammar.
28 June 2021 (05:02)
The fact that this comment section had been given a whole damn book to hopefully get them to finally understand feminism and they still can't get out of their own way. We have a name for everyone who left a misogynistic comment; fucking privileged.
11 July 2021 (02:05)
Hey, Alex. I think feminists have a name for you: 'Potential r4pist', if I remember correctly.
02 August 2021 (02:38)
shut up user PDFs_Lover
09 September 2021 (03:30)
The "quality star" rating was 4/5
That's not true
A lo-q EPUB to PDF conversion, no margins, I rate it a 2/5
That's not true
A lo-q EPUB to PDF conversion, no margins, I rate it a 2/5
21 September 2021 (00:05)
I'm training my machine learning algorithms to recognize mental illnesses using this trash.
05 October 2021 (08:48)
Very very useful for all females！！！Every female should read this book！！！
09 October 2021 (13:33)
I know there are too many "males" who don't want this book seen. But females are also human beings, not slaves! Everybody should know this truth.
09 October 2021 (13:36)
Ces commentaires sont intéressants, dans le sens où cela montre la nécessité d'un tel livre. En effet, il y a aussi pas mal de livres sur le féminisme en français sur ce site, mais aucun n'a autant de commentaires. Est-ce une question de langue qui empêche certains de les comprendre et de laisser des insultes dans les commentaires ? C'est pour cela que j'écris ici en français, pour voir s'il y a des francophones qui lisent celui-ci et vont laisser des commentaires de tout genre.
12 November 2021 (05:54)
Where can i find a true pdf version of this book ?? Not a conversion from EPUB
09 January 2022 (20:42)
^ shut up loserrrrrr
22 February 2022 (01:01)
i think people should be required to actually read the book before leaving comments under it. that'd probably solve a lot of issues in this comment section
06 March 2022 (12:34)
Another book full of western crapass bullshit for broke females this time which targets all problems on another sex .
14 April 2022 (14:15)
This is converted from epub
18 April 2022 (14:36)
funny how most people, and I can guarantee u that 99% of them are men, came here just to talk shit about this book when they didn't even read a single line, they just saw the word "Feminism" and started speaking ill. obsessed much?
12 July 2022 (22:13)
fr comment above mines
24 July 2022 (22:42)
feminism is a jewish trick to get women in the workforce so that they can be taxed.
07 September 2022 (07:18)
As if we don't pay to live already
19 September 2022 (12:25)
CONTENTS HOW TO USE THIS EBOOK INTRODUCTION THE BIRTH OF FEMINISM • 18TH–EARLY 19TH CENTURY Men are born free, Women are born slaves • Early British feminism Our body is the clothes of our soul • Early Scandinavian feminism Injured woman! Rise, assert thy right! • Collective action in the 18th century It is in your power to free yourselves • Enlightenment feminism I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves • Emancipation from domesticity We call on all women, whatever their rank • Working-class feminism I taught them the religion of God • Education for Islamic women Every path laid open to Woman as freely as to Man • Female autonomy in a male-dominated world THE STRUGGLE FOR EQUAL RIGHTS • 1840–1944 When you sell your labor, you sell yourself • Unionization A mere instrument of production • Marxist feminism We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal • The birth of the suffrage movement I have as much muscle as any man • Racial and gender equality A woman who contributes cannot be treated contemptuously • Marriage and work Marriage makes a mighty legal difference to women • Rights for married women I felt more determined than ever to become a physician • Better medical treatment for women People condone in man what is fiercely condemned in woman • Sexual double standards Church and state assumed divine right of man over woman • Institutions as oppressors All women languishing in family chains • Socialization of childcare Woman was the sun. Now she is a sickly moon • Feminism in Japan Take courage, join hands, stand beside us • Political equality in Britain We war against war • Women uniting for peace Let us have the rights we deserve • The global suffrage movement Birth control is the first step toward freedom • Birth control Men refuse to see the capabilities of women • Early Arab feminism There is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind • Intellectual freedom Resolution lies in revolution • Anarcha-feminism THE P; ERSONAL IS POLITICAL • 1945–1979 One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman • The roots of oppression Something is very wrong with the way American women are trying to live • The problem with no name “God’s plan” is often a front for men’s plans • Feminist theology Our own biology has not been properly analyzed • Sexual pleasure I have begun to make a contribution • Feminist art No More Miss America! • Popularizing women’s liberation Our feelings will lead us to actions • Consciousness-raising An equalizer, a liberator • The Pill We are going all the way • Radical feminism Feminism will crack through the basic structures of society • Family structures Women have very little idea how much men hate them • Confronting misogyny Ms. authors translated a movement into a magazine • Modern feminist publishing Patriarchy, reformed or unreformed, is patriarchy still • Patriarchy as social control Uterus envy plagues the male unconscious • Uterus envy We are always their indispensable workforce • Wages for housework Health must be defined by us • Woman-centered health care There is no beginning to defiance in women • Writing women into history The liberty of woman is at stake • Achieving the right to legal abortion You’ve got to protest, you’ve got to strike • Women’s union organizing Scream quietly • Protection from domestic violence The male gaze projects its phantasy on to the female • The male gaze Rape is a conscious process of intimidation • Rape as abuse of power Womyn-born-womyn is a lived experience • Trans-exclusionary radical feminism Fat is a way of saying “no” to powerlessness • Fat positivity Women’s liberation, everyone’s liberation • Indian feminism Our voices have been neglected • Feminist theater All feminists can and should be lesbians • Political lesbianism Woman must put herself into the text • Poststructuralism THE POLITICS OF DIFFERENCE • 1980s The linguistic means of patriarchy • Language and patriarchy Heterosexuality has been forcibly imposed on women • Compulsory heterosexuality Pornography is the essential sexuality of male power • Antipornography feminism Women are guardians of the future • Ecofeminism “Woman” was the test, but not every woman seemed to qualify • Racism and class prejudice within feminism The military is the most obvious product of patriarchy • Women against nuclear weapons Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender • Black feminism and womanism The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house • Anger as an activist tool Half the population works for next to nothing • Gross domestic product White society stole our personhood • Anticolonialism A community of sisters in struggle • Postcolonial feminism Let us be the ancestors our descendants will thank • Indigenous feminism Women remain locked into dead-end jobs • Pink-collar feminism Women’s issues have been abandoned • Feminism in post-Mao China Forced marriage is a violation of human rights • Preventing forced marriage Behind every erotic condemnation there’s a burning hypocrite • Sex positivity Everyone has the right to tell the truth about her own life • Survivor, not victim Unearned privilege is permission to dominate • Privilege All systems of oppression are interlocking • Intersectionality We could be anyone and we are everywhere • Guerrilla protesting A NEW WAVE EMERGES • 1990–2010 I am the Third Wave • Postfeminism and the third wave Gender is a set of repeated acts • Gender is performative Feminism and queer theory are branches of the same tree • Feminism and queer theory The beauty myth is prescribing behavior, not appearance • The beauty myth All politics are reproductive politics • Reproductive justice Society thrives on dichotomy • Bisexuality The antifeminist backlash has been set off • Antifeminist backlash Girls can change the world for real • The Riot Grrrl movement Figures of women constructed by men • Rewriting ancient philosophy Theological language remains sexist and exclusive • Liberation theology Disability, like femaleness, is not inferiority • Disability feminism Women survivors hold families and countries together • Women in war zones A gender power control issue • Campaigning against female genital cutting Raunch culture is not progressive • Raunch culture Equality and justice are necessary and possible • Modern Islamic feminism A new type of feminism • Trans feminism FIGHTING SEXISM IN THE MODERN DAY • 2010 ONWARD Maybe the fourth wave is online • Bringing feminism online Feminism needs sex workers and sex workers need feminism • Supporting sex workers My clothes are not my consent • Ending victim blaming Femininity has become a brand • Anticapitalist feminism We should all be feminists • Universal feminism Not a men vs women issue • Sexism is everywhere We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back • Global education for girls No female leaders, just leaders • Leaning in When you expose a problem you pose a problem • The feminist killjoy Women are a community and our community is not safe • Men hurt women Equal pay is not yet equal • The pay gap Survivors are guilty until proven innocent • Fighting campus sexual assault Driving while female • The right to drive #MeToo • Sexual abuse awareness DIRECTORY GLOSSARY CONTRIBUTORS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS COPYRIGHT How to use this eBook Preferred application settings For the best reading experience, the following application settings are recommended: Colour theme: White background Font size: At the smallest point size Orientation: Landscape (for screen sizes over 9”/23cm), Portrait (for screen sizes below 9”/23cm) Scrolling view: [OFF] Text alignment: Auto-justification [OFF] (if the eBook reader has this feature) Auto-hyphenation: [OFF] (if the eBook reader has this feature) Font style: Publisher default setting [ON] (if the eBook reader has this feature) Images: Double tap on the images to see them in full screen and be able to zoom in on them FOREWORD Fresh out of university, I applied for a job in the city. The older of the two men who interviewed me looked at my resumé and, seeing that I had written about women’s issues for the student paper, asked: “Are you a feminist, then?” I could practically see the thought cloud full of heavily dungareed women yomping around the streets with placards but I wanted a job, so I replied cautiously, “Well, I’m my idea of a feminist. I doubt whether I’m yours.” He acknowledged my diplomacy with a nod but kept returning to the subject and—despite attempted intervention by his younger colleague—badgering me about it. In the end, in exasperation, I said, “Oh for God’s sake! I shaved my legs for this interview, if that makes you feel any better!” His colleague froze but he laughed. I got the job. All of which is by way of saying: it’s a complicated business, feminism. Ignorance abounds, as do stereotypes, hostility, and simple confusion. The only way to dispel any and all of these is to provide greater information. To fill with facts the void that allows fears, doubts, and prejudices to rush in. Anything, from mastodons to global socio-political movements, become a whole lot less frightening when they step out of the shadows and you can see exactly what it is you are dealing with. This book illuminates feminism on all sides and beats back ignorance with every page. The Feminism Book also performs a second vital function—to give women in particular a sense of their place in history, which is famously written by the victors. Female activists and their achievements have always been undercelebrated, underbroadcast, and underacknowledged. And when that happens, it becomes harder to build on what has gone before. The wheel has to be reinvented, which is exhausting even when you don’t have to give birth to and raise the next generation at the same time. Most of us are not taught the history of feminism in school. If we come to an awareness of the imbalance between the sexes, it is piecemeal. More often than not, for me, a tiny but outrageous snippet of news would catch my attention and lodge in my brain like a burr. When I was 10, for example, I learned that my friend’s younger brother got more pocket money than she did. Why? Because he was a boy. My body practically jackknifed with the pain of the injustice. A few years later, I read in Just Seventeen magazine that Claudia Schiffer, the most super of the 1980s supermodels, was consumed with anxiety about her “uneven hairline.” Somewhere deep within me I recognized that a world in which a young woman could feel like this was possibly not one that was fully arranged around women’s comfort and convenience. Realizations come, large and small, over the years until the skewing of the world in favor of men eventually becomes too obvious to ignore. Then we start casting around for answers. Which is either electrolysis—or feminism. But what is feminism? Can you be equal, but different? Can you be against the patriarchy but still like men? Should you fight every little thing or save your energy for the big ones? And did I disqualify myself from the sisterhood forever by shaving my legs for that interview? How much better it would be to know what forms feminism has taken over the years, how it has evolved, its strengths and its blind spots. To know what fights have already been fought and won, or fought and need fighting again. To be able to look to your historical reserves, marshal your argument troops, and go into battle armed with the knowledge that you are not, and have never been, alone in it. Herein lie mystics, writers, scientists, politicians, artists, and many more who offered new thoughts, new attitudes, new definitions, new rules, new priorities, new insights, then and now. What is feminism? It’s in here. Lucy Mangan INTRODUCTION For centuries, women have been speaking out about the inequalities they face as a result of their sex. However, “feminism” as a concept did not emerge until 1837, when Frenchman Charles Fourier first used the term féminisme. Its use caught on in Britain and the US during the ensuing decades, where it was used to describe a movement that aimed to achieve legal, economic, and social equality between the sexes, and to end sexism and the oppression of women by men. As a consequence of differing aims and levels of inequality across the globe, various strands of what constitutes feminism exist. The evolving ideas and objectives of feminism have continued to shape societies ever since its conception, and as such, it stands as one of the most important movements of our time—inspiring, influencing, and even surprising vast populations as it continues to develop. Paving the way Male dominance is rooted in the system of patriarchy, which has underpinned most human societies for centuries. For whatever reasons patriarchy came into being, societies required more regulation as they became more complex, and men created institutions that reinforced their power and inflicted oppression on women. Male rule was imposed in every area of society—from government, law, and religion, to marriage and the home. Subordinate and powerless to this male rule, women were viewed as inferior to men in terms of their intellectual, social, and cultural status. Evidence of women challenging the limitations imposed by patriarchy is sparse, mainly because men controlled the historical record. However, with the onset of the Enlightenment in the late 17th and early 18th centuries and the growing intellectual emphasis on individual liberty, pioneering women began to draw attention to the injustices they experienced. When revolutions broke out in the US (1775–1783) and France (1787–1799), many women campaigned for the new freedoms to be applied to women. While such campaigns were unsuccessful at the time, it was not long before more women took action. The waves Sociologists identify three main “waves,” or time periods, of feminism, with some feminists hailing a fourth wave in the second decade of the 21st century. Each wave has been triggered by specific catalysts, although some view the metaphor as problematic, reducing each wave to a single goal when feminism is a constantly evolving movement with a wide spectrum of aims. The goals of first-wave feminism dominated the feminist agenda in the US and Europe in the mid-19th century, and arose from the same libertarian principles as the drive to abolish slavery. Early feminists (mainly educated, white, middle-class women) demanded the vote, equal access to education, and equal rights in marriage. First-wave feminism lasted until around 1920, by which time most Western countries had granted women the right to vote. “I have never felt myself to be inferior … Nevertheless, ‘being a woman’ relegates every woman to secondary status.” Simone de Beauvoir With energy centered on the war effort during World War II (1939–1945), it was not until the 1960s that a second wave began to flourish, nonetheless influenced by writings that emerged during the war period. The slogan “the personal is political” encapsulated the thinking of this new wave. Women identified that the legal rights gained during the first wave had not led to any real improvement in their everyday lives, and they shifted their attention to reducing inequality in areas from the workplace to the family to speaking candidly about sexual “norms.” Spurred on by the revolutionary climate of the 1960s, the second wave has been identified with the fearless Women’s Liberation Movement, which further sought to identify and to put an end to female oppression. While new courses in feminist theory at universities examined the roots of oppression and analyzed the shaping of ideas of gender, grassroots organizations sprang up to tackle injustices. Women wrenched back control of childbirth from the male-dominated medical profession, fought for the right to legal abortion, and stood up to physical assault. The vitality of the second wave waned during the 1980s, weakened by factionalism and the increasingly conservative political climate. Yet the ’80s saw an emergence of black feminism (also termed “womanism”) and the idea of intersectionality—a recognition of the multiple barriers faced by women of color, which feminism, dominated by white, middle-class women, had failed to address. This concept, first put forward in 1989 by Kimberlé Crenshaw, resonated not only in the US and UK, but also across former colonial countries worldwide. “A woman must not accept; she must challenge.” Margaret Sanger New concerns When American feminist Rebecca Walker responded to the acquittal of an alleged rapist in the early 1990s, she vocalized the need for a third wave, arguing that women still needed liberation, and not just the equality that postfeminists thought had already been achieved. The third wave comprised diverse and often conflicting strands. Areas of division included attitudes toward “raunch culture” (overtly sexual behavior) as an expression of sexual freedom, the inclusion of trans women in the movement, and the debate over whether feminist goals can be achieved in a capitalist society. This rich exchange of ideas continued into the new millennium, aided by feminist blogs and social media. Addressing issues from sexual harassment in the workplace to the gender pay gap, feminism is more relevant now than it ever has been. This book By no means an exhaustive collection of the inspiring figures who have advanced women’s place in society, this book unpacks some of the most prominent ideas from the 1700s to the present day. Each entry focuses on a specific period of time, and centers around evocative quotes from those who spoke up either within, or about, these periods. The Feminism Book reflects how fundamental feminism is to understanding the way the world is organized today, and how far the movement still has left to go. INTRODUCTION The word “feminism” did not gain currency until the 1890s, but individual women were expressing feminist views long before. By the early 1700s, women in different parts of the world were defining and examining the unequal status of women and beginning to question whether this was natural and inevitable. Exploring their situation through writing and discussion, women, individually or collectively, began to voice their objection to women’s subservient position and to express their wish for greater rights and equality with men. From weakness to strength In the early 18th century, women were largely regarded as naturally inferior to men on an intellectual, social, and cultural level. This was a deep, long-held belief, reinforced by the teachings of the Christian Church, which defined women as the “weaker vessel.” They were subject to their father’s and, if married, their husband’s control. As the century wore on, social and technological changes began to have further profound influences on the lives of women. The growth of trade and industry created a burgeoning, aspirational middle class in which social roles were sharply defined by gender. The public sphere of work and politics was seen as uniquely male, while women were expected to remain in the private sphere of “home,” a distinction that was to become increasingly entrenched. Technology also transformed the printing industry, leading to an outpouring of journals, pamphlets, novels, and poetry, all spreading information and new ideas. These were absorbed by privileged, educated women, some of whom, despite social restrictions, turned to writing, expressing feminist views through the printed word. Some of the earliest feminist writings came out of Sweden in the mid-18th century. There, a relatively liberal approach to women’s legal rights enabled intellectuals such as the publisher and journalist Margareta Momma and the poet Hedvig Nordenflycht to develop feminist themes in print. Britain, though less liberal than Sweden, had seen the expression of recognizably feminist theories by the start of the 1700s, notably through the work of Mary Astell. Arguing that God had made women just as rational as men, she daringly stated that women’s socially inferior role was neither God-given nor inevitable. By around 1750, in Britain and other European countries, groups of intellectual women were coming together in literary “salons.” In these forums, women discussed literature and shared ideas, carving out a space for female experience, the sharing of ideas, and the fostering of women writers and thinkers. New ideas and revolution Two particular intellectual, cultural, and political developments in Europe and America in the 18th century helped to galvanize the growth and spread of feminism: the Enlightenment and revolutions in America and France. Philosophers of the Enlightenment, such as the Frenchmen Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Denis Diderot, challenged the tyranny of societies based on inherited privileges of kings, nobles, and churches. They argued for liberty, equality, and the “rights of man,” which, particularly for Rousseau, excluded women. Women were, however, actively involved in the revolutions that won America its independence from Britain in 1783 and convulsed France from 1789. Amid the rallying cries of liberty and citizens’ rights, women also began to demand their own rights. In America, Abigail Adams, the wife of the second US president, called for the founding fathers to “remember the ladies” in the revolutionary changes, while in France playwright and activist Olympe de Gouges published The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen, calling for equal legal rights for women and men. Influenced by the French Revolution, the British writer Mary Wollstonecraft published A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, a landmark feminist treatise that identified domestic tyranny as the chief barrier preventing women from living independent lives and called for women to have access to education and work. Although many of the most visible advocates of women’s rights were from the privileged classes, by the early 19th century, working-class women in the US and the UK were becoming politically active, often within the newly forming labor movements. Feminist opinions were also being raised in parts of the Islamic world. Those voices would become much louder as the 19th century progressed. IN CONTEXT PRIMARY QUOTE Mary Astell, 1706 KEY FIGURE Mary Astell BEFORE 1405 In The Book of the City of Ladies, French writer Christine de Pizan creates a symbolic city of major historical female figures, highlighting women’s importance to society. 1589 Englishwoman Jane Anger pens a defense of women and a critique of men in her pamphlet “Jane Anger: her Protection for Women”. AFTER 1792 In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft calls for women to cease depending on men. 1843 Scottish feminist Marion Reid writes A Plea for Woman, criticizing society’s concept of “womanly behavior,” which limits women’s opportunities. Nearly 200 years before “feminism” became a concept, some women began to challenge society’s view that they should be subordinate. One of the most significant voices in Britain was that of Mary Astell. She argued in her writings that women were just as capable of clear and critical thought as men; their apparent inferiority was the result of male control and limited access to a sound education. The weaker vessel? The 17th century was a time of political upheaval, yet the English Civil War (1642–1651), followed by the restoration of the monarchy, had little impact on women. They were regarded as “the weaker vessel”— a view supported by the Christian Church and the Bible’s assertion that Eve was created from Adam’s rib. Their natural role was presumed to be only that of wife or mother. There were exceptions. Certain nonconformist or dissenting sects, including the Anabaptists and Quakers, protested that women and men were equal before God. Not only could women attend their meetings, they could even preach. Women were also prominent in the Levellers, an egalitarian political movement of the English Civil War, but were excluded from this group’s call for wider suffrage. Margaret Cavendish declared that she wrote because women were denied so much else in public life. In 20 years, she published 23 works, including plays, essays, fiction, verse, and letters. Proto-feminists Despite the barriers, a number of women turned to writing to challenge the view that the female sex was inferior. They included Bathsua Makin, who wrote “An Essay to Revive the Ancient Education of Gentlewomen” (1673), and Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle, who offered a forceful critique of women’s place in society. In her Philosophical and Physical Opinions (1655), she complained that women were “kept like birds in cages,” shut out of all power, and scorned by conceited men—a view met by harsh male criticism. Born in 1640 of humble stock, traveller, spy, and writer Aphra Behn was said to be the first Englishwoman to earn her living from her pen. Her many plays mocked the male-dominated literary world and male behavior. Critics called them bawdy and accused her of plagiarism, but her popular works drew enthusiastic audiences. “Since GOD has given Women as well as Men Intelligent Souls, how should they be forbidden to improve them?.” Mary Astell A radical analysis Against this background, writer Mary Astell explored and analyzed the contention that women, being “inferior,” should be under the control of men. A devout Christian, she countered the Church’s stance that women’s secondary role was divinely ordained by arguing that God had created women with equally “intelligent souls” and the “faculty of Thinking.” It was men who had made them subordinate. By denying women independent thought, men effectively kept them enslaved—an insult to God. For Astell, a better education was the key to greater equality. In A Serious Proposal to the Ladies (1694), she urges women to learn to develop their intellect and skills, rather than constantly deferring to men. She even proposes setting up a type of secular nunnery or university where women can follow a “life of the mind.” She accepts the need for marriage, although she herself did not marry, but, in Some Reflections on Marriage (1700), she warns women to avoid marriages based on lust or money. Education, she believes, will help women choose wisely and avoid unhappiness. Like her contemporaries, Astell was not an activist, but observed and wrote incisively about the situation of women around her, from what would now be described as a feminist perspective; her theories remain recognizable today. It would be nearly a century before other women took up the argument so publicly. Aphra Behn, here in a portrait by the 17th-century Dutch artist, Peter Lely, originally wrote to escape debt. Her writings made her a celebrity in her lifetime, and, at her death in 1689, she was buried in Westminster Abbey. MARY ASTELL Born into an upper middle-class Anglican family in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1666, Mary Astell received little formal education. However, her uncle, Ralph Astell, educated her in classical philosophy. Following the death of her mother in 1688, Mary Astell moved to Chelsea, London, where she struggled financially as a writer but was encouraged by literary and intellectual women friends and patrons. William Sancroft, Archbishop of Canterbury, was also a friend and gave her financial support. Her first book, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies established her as a significant thinker. In 1709 she withdrew from public life and founded a charity school for girls in Chelsea. She died in 1731 following a mastectomy to remove breast cancer. Key works 1694 A Serious Proposal to the Ladies 1700 Some Reflections on Marriage See also: Early Scandinavian feminism • Enlightenment feminism • Emancipation from domesticity IN CONTEXT PRIMARY QUOTE Sophia Elisabet Brenner, 1719 KEY FIGURES Sophia Elisabet Brenner, Margareta Momma, Hedvig Nordenflycht, Catharina Ahlgren BEFORE 1687 King Christian V of Denmark and Norway passes a law defining unmarried women as minors. AFTER 1848 Swedish writer and feminist activist Sophie Sager prosecutes her landlord for rape in a landmark court case. 1871 The women’s rights association Dansk Kvindesamfund (Danish Women’s Society) is founded in Denmark by Matilde and Fredrik Bajer. At the beginning of Sweden’s Age of Liberty (1718–1772), when power shifted from the monarchy to the government, there was increased political and philosophical debate, including calls for greater freedoms for women. This progressive milieu was reflected in the Civil Code of 1734, which gave women some property rights and the right to divorce on the grounds of adultery. Eighteenth-century Stockholm, seen in this painting by Elias Martin (1739–1818), was a place of growing civil rights and home to some of the world’s first feminists. Early enlightenment One of the first women to declare publicly that women deserved the same rights as men was Swedish writer Sophia Elisabet Brenner, an educated aristocrat. In 1693, she published the poem “The justified defense of the female sex,” asserting that women were intellectually equal to men, and in 1719, in a poem to Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden, she argued that men and women were the same except for outward appearance. In “Conversation between the Shades of Argus and an unknown Female” (1738–1739), journalist Margareta Momma takes up the call for women to be educated and satirizes critics who deem women incapable of debate. Influenced by the European Enlightenment, and urging freedom of speech and religion, Momma also promoted the use of the Swedish language rather than aristocratic French to allow more people access to new ideas. “A forceful woman, but full of talent.” Jonas Apelblad Swedish travel writer describing Catharina Ahlgren Intellectual recognition Another writer and thinker, Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht made her literary debut with “The lament of the Swedish woman” (1742), a poem for the funeral of Queen Ulrika Eleonora, in which the poet speaks out for greater rights for her own sex. Unlike Momma and many of her contemporaries, Nordenflycht published under her own name. Her career thrived and, in 1753, she was admitted to the Tankebyggararorden (Order of Thought Builders), a Stockholm literary group seeking to reform Swedish literature, of which she was the only female member. Nordenflycht hosted a salon in her home, attended by the best writers of the time, in order to exchange ideas. Defending the female intellect in poems such as “The duty of women to use their wit” and refuting misogyny in “Defense of women” (1761), she claimed the right to be intellectually active. Hedvig Nordenflycht was born in Stockholm in 1718. A poet, writer, and salon hostess, she was one of the first women whose opinions were taken seriously by the male establishment. The language of science Catharina Ahlgren, a friend of Nordenflycht, published her first poem in 1764 for Queen Louisa Ulrika’s birthday. Ahlgren was already known as a translator of English, French, and German works when, in 1772, under the pseudonym “Adelaide,” she wrote rhetorical letters published in two series of popular Swedish-language journals. Addressing men and women in the letters, Ahlgren argues for social activism, democracy, gender equality, and women’s solidarity against male dominance, and expresses a belief that true love is only possible when a woman and a man treat one another as equals. Friendship is the most frequently aired subject in the “Adelaide” letters, but other topics include morality and advice to daughters. Ahlgren is also presumed to have been the author of the essay “Modern women Sophia and Belisinde discuss ideas.” Here, she criticizes the teaching of French, the language of light romances, advocating instead that women study English, the language of science and learned discourse. CATHARINA AHLGREN Born in 1734, Catharina Ahlgren served Sweden’s queen, Louisa Ulrika, at court. The queen was an inveterate plotter and eventually dismissed Ahlgren from court because of an intrigue. Ahlgren subsequently made her living by writing, editing, printing, and managing a bookstore. Ahlgren married and divorced twice and had four children. Later she moved to Finland where, in 1782, she appeared in the city of Åbo (now Turku) as the editor of The Art of Correct Pleasing, one of the first Finnish newspapers. In 1796, she returned to Sweden to live with her youngest daughter, and died in around 1800. Key works 1772 “A Correspondence between a Woman in Stockholm and a Country Woman” 1793 “Amiable Confrontations” See also: Early British feminism • Enlightenment feminism • The global suffrage movement IN CONTEXT PRIMARY QUOTE Anna Laetitia Barbauld, 1792 KEY FIGURE Elizabeth Montagu BEFORE 1620 Catherine de Vivonne holds her first salons in Paris, at the Hôtel de Rambouillot. 1670 Aphra Behn becomes the first Englishwoman known to have earned her living as a writer after her play The Forc’d Marriage is staged. AFTER 1848 The first public gathering devoted to American women’s rights takes place in Seneca Falls, New York. 1856 The Langham Place Circle meets for the first time in London, UK, with a mission to campaign for women’s rights. In 18th-century Britain, as the middle classes grew wealthier and leisure time increased, an ideology developed that promoted a distinction between public and private realms. Men, who were busy exploiting the opportunities offered by industrialization and trade, occupied the “public realm” where public opinion was formed, while women “nurtured virtue” within the “private realm,” or home. A woman’s place The publication of pamphlets, magazines, and conduct books that prescribed appropriate feminine behavior proliferated throughout this period and represented an effort to encourage women to embrace this new private role, which was seen as a hallmark of elite status. These publications urged women to read “improving” books, especially the Bible and historical works. Novels, however, were actively discouraged, being described by Thomas Gisborne in his conduct book An Enquiry into the Duties of the Female Sex (1797) as “secretly corrupt.” The entreaty to “improve” was designed to encourage women to keep high moral standards in the home, serve their husbands dutifully, and thus raise the virtue of society as a whole. Yet it also increased the number of educated women who strove to look beyond the narrow confines of domestic life. This was fueled by a surge in printed works that embraced not only the reading lists dictated by the conduct books, but also novels, newspapers, and journals. All this stimulated women’s curiosity about the world, but they had limited means of influencing public debate because they were still confined to the private realm. “To despise riches, may, indeed, be philosophic, but to dispense them worthily, must surely be more beneficial to mankind.” Fanny Burney Meetings of minds Some educated women found mutual support through “salons” where they could meet. These were spaces set up for debate by privileged women who saw private patronage and sociability as outlets for their intellectual capabilities and a way to influence society. The premier London salon was held in the Mayfair home of Elizabeth Montagu, who had married into a rich family of coal mine and estate owners. Around 1750, she and a number of like-minded women, in particular the wealthy Irish intellectual Elizabeth Vesey, established the Blue Stockings Society. The name derived from the preference among men for blue worsted over black silk for daytime stockings. Its name symbolized a less formal occasion than a courtly gathering. The Bluestockings brought together educated women, as well as selected men, to promote “rational conversation” that would engender moral improvement. Members generally met once a month, arriving in the late afternoon and sometimes staying until nearly midnight. Tea and lemonade were served rather than alcohol, and gambling, the usual diversion at social occasions, was banned. Between meetings, the Bluestockings were prolific letter writers. Elizabeth Montagu, for example, is known to have written some 8,000 letters. Each of the regular hostesses had her own style. Elizabeth Vesey’s gatherings, for example, were particularly informal, with chairs scattered around the room to encourage small discussion groups; Elizabeth Montagu, on the other hand, arranged her chairs in an arc, with herself at the center. Another hostess, Frances Boscawen held gatherings at Hatchlands Park, her country house in Surrey as well as in her London home in Audley Street. The Salon English tea is served to a group conversing and listening to music in the Salon des Quatre Glaces at the Palais du Temple in Paris in 1764. The women outnumber the men and are relaxed in the mixed company. The word “salon” was first used in France in the 17th century, derived from the Italian salone, meaning “large hall.” Catherine de Vivonne, the marquise de Rambouillet (1588–1665), was one of the first women to establish a salon, located at her Paris home in a room that became known as the Chambre bleu (Blue Room). Her success as a literary hostess inspired women to adopt roles of intellectual and social leadership as salonnières. Salons provided a respectable space in which women could exhibit their intellectual curiosity. At first, they featured discussions about literary works, then drew both men and women into discourse about political thought and scientific ideas. Salons thrived across Europe throughout the 18th century, including the scientific salon hosted by Julie von Bondeli in Bern, Switzerland, and the literary salon of Henriette Herz, an emancipated Jewish woman, in Berlin, Germany. Mary, Duchess of Gloucester (center), a prominent patron of the Bluestockings, introduces the poet and playwright Hannah More to an elite gathering. Literary aspirations The Bluestockings supported the education of women and supported women such as Fanny Burney, Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Hannah More, and Sarah Scott (Elizabeth Montagu’s sister) trying to make their way as writers. Called “amazons of the pen” by the author Samuel Johnson (another member of the society), these women challenged traditional notions about women and their intellectual capabilities by not only providing commentary on classic literary works but also writing their own poems, plays, and novels. Elizabeth Montagu traveled to Paris to defend Shakespeare from attacks by the writer and philosopher Voltaire. Her Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespeare, initially published anonymously, was well received by critics and dented Voltaire’s reputation when it was eventually translated into French. Another Bluestocking member, Elizabeth Carter, was described by Samuel Johnson as the best scholar of classical Greek he had ever known. Over time, some Bluestocking members who were not financially independent even managed to earn a living from their work. Rather than being seen as a threat to the established order of male superiority, the Bluestockings were praised as bastions of female virtue and intellect. In 1778, the artist Richard Samuel portrayed nine of the most eminent members as the classical nine muses and symbols of national pride. Yet behind this aura of learning and elegance was a desire for a more public place for women. Elizabeth Montagu, for example, had long been interested in the Scottish Enlightenment, which advocated a more prominent role for women. “Our intellectual ore must shine, Not slumber idly in the mine. Let education’s moral mint The noblest images imprint.” Hannah More “The Bas Bleu” (“Blue Stockings”) Challenging men Women were proving themselves the equals of men, perhaps where it mattered most, in the realm of ideas and intelligence. As they became more powerful, with some of them pursuing successful literary careers, the Bluestockings acquired a collective consciousness and a public voice. Within 50 years of the first Bluestocking meetings, educated women were transforming from figures of social stability and cohesion into rebels and radicals, brought into the open in an era of revolution in Europe and America. Upper-class women, including the Duchess of Devonshire, march in support of the radical politician Charles James Fox in 1784. By this time, women were making their voices heard. “The men are very imprudent to endeavour to make fools of those to whom they so much trust their honour, happiness, and fortune.” Elizabeth Montagu ELIZABETH MONTAGU Known as the “Queen of the Blues,” Elizabeth Montagu was a writer, social reformer, and literary critic, and the preeminent intellectual and artistic patron in 18th-century Britain. Born in 1718, as a child Elizabeth often visited Cambridge, where her step-grandfather, Conyers Middleton, was a university academic. Her marriage in 1742 to Robert Montagu, grandson of the 1st Earl of Sandwich, gave her the wealth and resources to support the work of English and Scottish writers. From 1750, she wintered in London, hosting intellectual parties and maintaining friendships with leading literary and political figures such as Samuel Johnson, Horace Walpole, and Edmund Burke. Montagu’s salon in Mayfair thrived for 50 years until her death in 1800. Key works 1760 Three anonymous sections in George Lyttleton’s Dialogues of the Dead 1769 An Essay on the Writings and Genius of Shakespeare See also: Enlightenment feminism • Emancipation from domesticity • Working-class feminism • Rights for married women • Consciousness-raising • Radical feminism IN CONTEXT PRIMARY QUOTE Olympe de Gouges, 1791 KEY FIGURES Olympe de Gouges, Judith Sargent Murray BEFORE 1752 In London, women are invited to attend a public speaking event, “The Temple of Taste,” but are not allowed to take part in the debates. 1762 French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau publishes Émile in which he argues that a woman’s main role is to be a wife and mother. AFTER 1871 The Union des Femmes (Union of Women) forms during the Paris Commune in France. It organizes working women to take up arms for the revolution and demands civic and legal gender equality, right of divorce, and equal pay. The 18th-century intellectual movement known as the Enlightenment transformed Europe and North America. It emphasized reason and science over superstition and faith, and advanced new ideals about equality and freedom. Yet opinion was divided on whether notions of liberty and equal rights applied to women as well as men. The French thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau, for example, deemed women to be weaker and less rational than men by nature, and therefore dependent on them. Others—including philosophers Denis Diderot, Marquis de Condorcet, Thomas Hobbes, and Jeremy Bentham—publicly acknowledged the intellectual capabilities of women and supported their goal of achieving gender equality. Enlightenment thinkers from across Europe met at the weekly Paris salon held by wealthy patron Madame Geoffrin, depicted here during a reading of a play by Voltaire in 1755. Making their voices heard On both sides of the Atlantic, women sought platforms from which they could actively engage in the intellectual discussions of the period and prove their equality with men. In London, public debating societies, which were initially dominated by men, later hosted mixed-gender gatherings. In the 1780s, several women’s debating societies flourished in London, including La Belle Assemblée, the Female Parliament, the Carlisle House Debates, and the Female Congress. Here, women could draw public attention to their demands for equality in education, in political rights, and in the right to carry out paid work. “We women have taken too long to let our voices be heard.” Penelope Barker Leader of the Edenton Tea Party, North Carolina Joining the revolution In North America, and then in France, revolutionary movements challenged the established order, creating a political environment in which women could be actively involved. In the years leading up to the American Revolution (1775–1783), women began to take part in debates about the colonies’ relationship with Britain. When the Townshend Acts of 1767–1768 imposed import duties payable to the British Crown on tea and other commodities, American women organized boycotts against the consumption of British goods. Some gave up tea in favor of coffee or herbal brews; others showed their commitment to the non-importation movement and the national (Patriot) cause by making their own homespun cloth. Mass gatherings known as “spinning bees” to spin yarn were sponsored by the Daughters of Liberty—the first formal female association supporting American independence, which formed in 1765 in response to the taxation burden imposed on the colonies by Britain’s Stamp Act of that year. Such initiatives encouraged women to join the revolutionary movement. With the outbreak of war in 1775, women’s participation increased. They took on roles outside the home, running businesses and making important family decisions, as their fathers and husbands were called up to serve in the army. Women also became politically active. In 1780, Esther Reed published the broadside, “The Sentiments of an American Woman,” to boost female support for the Patriot cause. Her campaign raised $300,000. Together with Sarah Franklin Bache, daughter of Benjamin Franklin (one of the founding fathers of the US), Reed then launched the Ladies Association of Philadelphia, the largest women’s organization of the American Revolution; its members went door to door gathering money for the Patriot troops. Some women stepped further into the male arena, playing an active military role. For example, Anna Smith Strong and Lydia Barrington Darragh served as Patriot spies, obtaining information on the British to give to General Washington. English spies included Ann Bates, who disguised herself as a peddler and infiltrated an American army camp. A few women even passed themselves off as men, so they could fight alongside other soldiers. Deborah Sampson, who loaded cannons, went on to receive a pension in recognition of her military service in Washington’s army. “And women” is inserted into the statement from the 1776 American Declaration of Independence that “All men are created equal” in this 1915 cover image from Life magazine. “Remember all men would be tyrants if they could.” Abigail Adams Letter to her husband and statesman John Adams An ongoing fight for rights From the outset, women played an active role during the French Revolution (1789–1799), which generated new demands for the advancement of women’s rights. The thousands of working women who marched on the palace of Versailles demanding bread in October 1789 achieved what the storming of the Bastille on July 14 had not: their action effectively toppled the crumbling French monarchy. Yet when a group of these women submitted a six-page petition proposing equal rights to the National Assembly that was now the governing body of France, the petition was never even discussed. Frenchwomen persisted in the fight for equality as the revolution unfolded through the 1790s, taking part in public demonstrations, publishing newspapers, and creating their own political clubs when they were excluded from the male-dominated assemblies. The most notable of these was the Society of Revolutionary and Republican Women, founded in 1793, which promoted sexual equality and a political voice for women. Female clubs also addressed the issue of citizenship by claiming the title of citoyenne (female citizen) and therefore the rights and responsibilities that accompanied full citizenship in a republic. Liberty is portrayed as a woman in France, as in Eugène Delacroix’s painting depicting the July Revolution of 1830. Yet Frenchwomen did not gain the vote until 1944. “The idea of the incapability of women is … in this enlightened age, totally inadmissible.” Judith Sargent Murray Words as weapons Amidst the din of war, key writers ensured that the discussion of women’s rights was still heard. When the French revolutionary Declaration of Man and the Citizen in 1789 asserted the rights and liberty of all men, playwright and activist Olympe de Gouges penned her pamphlet The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen (1791), asserting equal rights for women. In all her work, she articulated the values of the Enlightenment and how they could effect change in women’s lives. In America, the essayist and playwright Judith Sargent Murray challenged the widespread notion of women’s inferiority in her landmark essay “On the Equality of Sexes,” in which she argues that women would rival men’s achievements if they were only permitted a similar education. In Britain, Mary Wollstonecraft similarly stressed the importance of education in A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792). She contended that, from childhood, girls were taught to be subordinate and inculcated with the notion of their inherent inferiority to men— ideas Wollstonecraft vociferously challenged throughout her life. Despite these clarion calls for equality, the legacy of the two revolutions would be somewhat mixed for women. Taking on male roles in time of war proved no guarantee of immediate gains in the gender equality battle. In France, the executions of three politically active women—de Gouges, Madame Roland, and Charlotte Corday (who had assassinated the Jacobin leader Jean-Paul Marat)—temporarily deterred French women from expressing political views. However, the examples of politically active women, and the debates and writings about gender equality that began during the Enlightenment and proliferated through the two revolutions, are fundamental to modern feminist arguments, and helped women to gain momentum in the fight for equal rights. OLYMPE DE GOUGES Born Marie Gouze in 1748, Olympe de Gouges overcame a questionable parentage as the illegitimate daughter of the Marquis de Pompignon, and then a marriage against her will at the age of 16, to fashion a place for herself among the French aristocracy. In the 1780s, she began writing plays and publishing political pamphlets that challenged male authority in society. She also addressed the evils of the slave trade. With her “Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen,” de Gouges was one of the first to make a persuasive argument in favor of full citizenship and equal rights for French women. During a bloody period of the French Revolution known as the Reign of Terror, de Gouges was arrested for criticizing the government and was executed by guillotine in 1793. Key works 1788 “Letter to the people, or project for a patriotic fund” 1790 The Necessity of Divorce 1791 The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen See also: Early British feminism • Collective action in the 18th century • The birth of the suffrage movement • Marriage and work IN CONTEXT PRIMARY QUOTE Mary Wollstonecraft, 1792 KEY FIGURE Mary Wollstonecraft BEFORE 1700 In Some Reflections upon Marriage, English philosopher Mary Astell queries why women are born slaves, while men are born free. 1790 British historian Catherine Macaulay writes Letters on Education. She argues that perceived female weaknesses are caused by an inferior education. AFTER 1869 British philosopher John Stuart Mill publishes The Subjection of Women, whose powerful case for equal rights he developed with feminist Harriet Taylor Mill, his wife. In 1792, with the publication of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Mary Wollstonecraft fired a powerful early salvo in the battle for female emancipation from domesticity. She wrote her feminist polemic in response to 18th-century Enlightenment thinkers, such as the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who did not extend their ideas of liberalism to women. She criticizes the injustice and inconsistency of such men calling for freedom yet still subjugating women. She also rejects the contemporary perception that women were less rational. “Who made man the exclusive judge?” she demands. Women, she writes, might be weaker physically, but are just as capable of rational thought as men. “She was created to be the toy of man, his rattle, and it must jingle in his ears whenever, dismissing reason, he chooses to be amused.” Mary Wollstonecraft Men’s playthings Wollstonecraft maintains that women remained inferior because they were kept in the domestic sphere, forced to be men’s “toys and playthings.” Society taught them that looks, male opinion, and marriage were more important than intellectual and personal fulfilment. Sculpted by a gender stereotype that their mothers reinforced, girls were brought up to exploit their looks in order to find a man who would support and protect them. Wollstonecraft was the first feminist to describe “marriage for support” as a form of prostitution— a shocking assertion for the time. A lack of means often compelled women to marry. Degraded by their dependency on male approval, they effectively became men’s slaves. She felt that such a restricted life, limited by domestic trivia, could also wreak psychological damage. To restore women’s dignity, Wollstonecraft recommends “a revolution in female manners.” She believed women and men should be educated equally, even suggesting a coeducational system. Women, she believed, should be in the public sphere and should be trained for work outside the home, in areas such as medicine, midwifery, and business. She urges an end to the social distinction between the sexes and calls for equal rights for women to enable them to take control of their lives. Mixed reactions Vindication was well received, particularly in intellectual circles. A hostile press, however, described Wollstonecraft as a “hyena in petticoats” for both her book and her unorthodox lifestyle. The book was not reprinted until the mid-19th century, when it was admired by figures such as British suffragist Millicent Fawcett and American activist Lucretia Mott. Wollstonecraft’s advanced ideas would be echoed in the works of feminists from Barbara Bodichon to Simone de Beauvoir. Woman’s work in the 18th century was invariably of a domestic nature. Laundresses might work outside the home, but they did long, backbreaking hours for little pay. MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT The Anglo-Irish feminist and radical Mary Wollstonecraft was born in London in 1759. Her father was a bully and a spendthrift. She was largely self-educated and started a school in North East London with a friend. When the school failed, she became governess to Lord Kingsborough’s family, a position she hated. By 1790, Wollstonecraft was working for a London publisher and was part of a group of radical thinkers that included Thomas Paine and William Godwin. In 1792, she went to Paris, where she met Gilbert Imlay with whom she had a daughter, Fanny. Imlay was unfaithful, and the affair ended. In 1797, Wollstonecraft married Godwin, but she died later that year, 10 days after giving birth to their daughter, Mary, who later, as Mary Shelley, would write the novel Frankenstein. Key works 1787 Thoughts on the Education of Daughters 1790 A Vindication of the Rights of Men 1792 A Vindication of the Rights of Woman See also: Enlightenment feminism • Female autonomy in a male-dominated world • Rights for married women • Wages for housework IN CONTEXT PRIMARY QUOTE Suzanne Voilquin, 1832–1834 KEY FIGURE Suzanne Voilquin BEFORE 1791 In revolutionary France, Olympe de Gouges publishes The Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen, advocating women’s equality with men. 1816 French aristocrat and political theorist Henri de Saint-Simon publishes “l’Industrie,” the first of several essays stating that human happiness lies in a productive society based on true equality and useful work. AFTER 1870s French socialist and early leader of the French labor movement Jules Guesde tells French women that their rights are diversionary and will come as a matter of course once capitalism is dismantled. In many ways, industrialization increased the gulf between middle-class and working-class women. Both groups of women often felt oppressed, but while middle-class women—excluded from any economic function in the new industries—campaigned for better education, access to meaningful work, and the right to vote, working-class women—who contributed to the family income by working in the new mills and factories—were less audible and much more concerned with improving their pay and working conditions. Some working women looked to trade unionism; others were drawn to utopian movements such as SaintSimonianism, which flourished in France in the first half of the 19th century. Inspired by the ideas of Henri de Saint-Simon, the movement advocated a “union of work” in which all classes cooperated to mutual and equal advantage in an increasingly technological and scientific world. The Saint-Simonians promoted a communal lifestyle free of the tyranny of marriage, in which the feminine principles of peace and compassion would replace more aggressive masculine values. Satirical prints of the time depict male Saint-Simonians performing domestic chores and wearing corsets while their female counterparts take up what were considered male pursuits, such as hunting and making speeches. “Men! Be … no longer surprised by the disorder that reigns in your society. It is an energetic protest against what you have done alone.” Suzanne Voilquin A journal for women Among those influenced by Saint-Simonianism was Suzanne Voilquin, a French embroiderer by trade who resolved to live as an independent woman after amicably separating from her husband. She wished to be both an example to others and an advocate for the Saint-Simonian cause, which she believed was urgent, especially in the wake of the July Revolution of 1830, which had done nothing to alter the fortunes of the working-classes. Voilquin herself had experienced hardship after the revolution, when a steep decline in the sale of luxury goods affected her work as an embroiderer and she endured a period of unemployment. In 1832, Voilquin became editor of La tribune des femmes, a journal promoting Saint-Simonian values. Women of all classes were invited to contribute to the paper, though recruitment focused on working-class women. The writers published under their first names only, as a protest against having to take their husband’s name. The journal advocated an alliance between “proletarian women” and “women of privilege” to create a nouvelle femme (new woman). “Each individual woman will place a stone from which the moral edifice of the future will be built,” Voilquin said. La tribune des femmes was the first attempt to create a female consciousness. As countries industrialized, women and girls were increasingly employed outside the home. This 1898 photograph of a mill in Malaga, Spain, shows workers in the spooling room. SUZANNE VOILQUIN The daughter of a hat-maker, Suzanne Voilquin was born in Paris in 1801. Her early life was comfortable, but she yearned for the education that her brothers had. When her father’s bankruptcy led to hard times, Voilquin became an embroiderer. In 1823, Voilquin married and joined the Saint-Simonian movement, an early type of utopian socialism. In 1832, after separating from her husband, she began to edit La tribune des femmes, the first known working-class feminist journal. She wrote about the unfairness of France’s Civil Code, which did not include women in public affairs, and advocated women’s education and economic self-sufficiency. In 1834, Voilquin answered the call to spread the word about Saint-Simonianism and traveled to Egypt, where she became a nurse. She later went to Russia and the US, but returned to France in 1860 and died in Paris in 1877. Key works 1834 My Law for the Future 1866 Memories of a Daughter of the People See also: Marxist feminism • Racism and class prejudice within feminism • Pink-collar feminism • The pay gap IN CONTEXT PRIMARY QUOTE Nana Asma’u, 1858–1859 KEY FIGURE Nana Asma’u BEFORE 610 The Prophet Muhammad starts to receive revelations from God, which later form the Quran. AFTER 1990s Shaykh Ibrahim Zakzaky establishes the Islamic Movement in Nigeria. It promotes female education. 2009 The Taliban carries out attacks on schools in the Swat Valley, Pakistan. Survivor Malala Yousafzai receives the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for advocating human rights, in particular for education for women and children. 2014 Boko Haram, a jihadist organization, kidnaps female students in the town of Chibok, western Nigeria. Education is considered a duty for every Muslim. The Prophet Muhammad (571–632 CE) emphasized the need for learning, saying that a person seeking knowledge attains spiritual rewards equivalent to that person having fasted all day and kept a prayer vigil all night. Islamic teachings do not differentiate between religious and worldly knowledge: all learning is considered part of humanity. In the Middle Ages, science thrived in Muslim lands. Scholars led the way in medicine, astronomy, and mathematics, calculating the Earth’s circumference and laying down the principles of algebra. In the early days of Islam (7th–8th century), women played an important role in spreading knowledge. Shia sources record how Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter, and her daughter Zaynab were impeccably versed in the Quran and Hadith (a record of the sayings and deeds of the Prophet) and taught women in Medina. The Prophet himself told the city’s women to learn from Fatima. Zaynab’s nephew, Ali ibn alHusayn (659–713 CE), thought by members of the Shia branch of Islam to be the divinely appointed Imam (leader), called his aunt “the scholar without a teacher,” implying she had imbibed knowledge from the environment in which she lived. “Seeking knowledge is incumbent upon every Muslim, male and female.” Prophet Muhammad Learned women By the 11th century, Muslim women no longer had access to the same level of education as men. This was partly due to patriarchy, which assumed men would take on more public roles and therefore need a higher level of education. However, privileged women sometimes used their wealth and connections to overcome these barriers and fund women’s education. Fatima al-Fihri founded the University of Karaouine, in Tunisia, in 859 CE. Ibn Asakir (1105–1176), a Sunni scholar who traveled across the Muslim world, studied the Hadith with hundreds of teachers, including 80 women. Hajji Koka counseled the Indian Mughal emperor Jahangir (1569–1627) and used her wealth to fund educational endowments for women. One of the most remarkable women in the 19th century was Nana Asma’u of the Sokoto caliphate in what is now Nigeria, in West Africa. She rose to prominence not just because she was the caliph’s daughter but also on account of her wisdom. Believing that education for girls needed to be institutionalized and standardized, she trained a network of women teachers known as jajis, who then traveled through the empire, enabling women to be taught in their own homes. Nana’s legacy lives on in Nigeria, in spite of efforts by the militant jihadists to disrupt girls’ education: countless schools and women’s organizations in Nigeria today are named after her, and her contributions have been enshrined in Nigerian history and culture. She is a reminder of the importance of education for all in Islam. “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” Malala Yousafzai A young Nigerian girl learns the Quran using a lawh (a wooden tablet). To this day, in many Muslim countries a solid grounding in the Quran forms the basis of early education. “If girls aren’t given opportunities to study and learn—it’s basically live burial.” Shayk Mohammed Akram Nadwi Islamic scholar NANA ASMA’U Born in northern Nigeria in 1793, Nana Asma’u was the daughter of Usman dan Fodio, the founder of the Sokoto caliphate (1809–1903) in West Africa. Like her father, Nana was a scholar of Quranic studies. She was also fluent in four languages; she used the medium of poetry to teach the principles of the caliphate. When Nana’s brother Mohammed Bello became the second Sokoto caliph, Nana was his close adviser. Her greatest legacy, however, was in producing an education system for women. When she died in 1864, she left a large legacy of writings—poetic, political, theological, and educational—in Arabic, Fula, Hausa, and Tamacheq Tuareg. Key work 1997 The Collected Works of Nana Asma’u Daughter of Usman dan Fodiyo (1793–1864) See also: Early Arab Feminism • Feminist theology • Patriarchy as social control • Anticolonialism • Modern Islamic feminism IN CONTEXT PRIMARY QUOTE Margaret Fuller, 1845 KEY FIGURES Frances (Fanny) Wright, Harriet Martineau, Margaret Fuller BEFORE 1810 Sweden grants women the right to work in all guild professions, trades, and handicrafts. 1811 In Austria, married women are permitted financial independence and the right to choose a profession. AFTER 1848 Three US states (New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island) grant new property acts that give women control of what they own. 1870 The Married Women’s Property Act allows married British women to have money and inherit property. As the Industrial Revolution (1760–1840) gathered pace in the early 19th century, women began to examine their status in societies that increasingly emphasized the importance of performing productive labor. French philosopher and utopian socialist Charles Fourier, who coined the term féminisme, advocated a new world order that was based on cooperative autonomy for men and women alike. He believed that all work should be open to women, according to their individual skills, interests, and aptitudes, and that their contribution—free from patriarchal oppression—was vital for a harmonious, productive society. His views spread from Europe to the US, where, in the 1840s and ’50s, supporters of his ideas created a number of utopian communities in which men and women lived and worked cooperatively. Educated women had few ways to earn a good living. From the 1870s, the introduction of typewriters—such as this one, made by Scholes & Glidden— led to opportunities for office work. “The extension of women’s rights is the basic principle of all social progress.” Charles Fourier Thinkers and writers Frances (Fanny) Wright, a Scottish-born feminist, freethinker, and abolitionist living in America, advocated Fourier’s beliefs. In a series of letters published as Views of Society and Manners in America in 1821, she asserts that American women were “assuming their place as thinking beings” but were hampered by their lack of financial and legal rights. She spent time in the utopian community of New Harmony, Indiana, founded by the Welsh social reformer Robert Owen, a follower of Fourier, and became the first woman in America to edit a journal, The New Harmony Gazette. In 1829, she moved to New York, where she broke the taboo on female public speaking and gave lectures calling for the emancipation of slaves and women, legal rights for wives, liberal divorce laws, and the introduction of birth control. British writer Harriet Martineau tackled social, economic, and political issues that were more usually discussed by men. She rose to prominence with Illustrations of Political Economy (1832), 25 fictional “portraits” describing the impact of economic conditions on ordinary people at different levels of society. Martineau traveled to the US in 1834–1836, to examine its professed democratic principles, and then published her findings in Society in America in 1837. One chapter, “The Political Non-existence of Woman,” notes that women receive “indulgence rather than justice” and calls for women to be better educated so they can exist without the financial support and control of men. A few years later, the American journalist Margaret Fuller added her voice to these feminist writers with the book Woman in the Nineteenth Century, published in 1845. The book envisages a new awakening, in which independent women would build a better society on an equal footing with men. While accepting physical differences between the sexes, Fuller rejects defined attributes for each gender, writing, “There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman,” a remark that was well ahead of her time. Lasting influence Such women inspired the fight for female emancipation in the US and Europe, and in the second half of the 19th century, a new wave of female campaigners would make their voices heard—a force that governments were eventually compelled to recognize. While these voices were generally from the middle-classes, the huge growth in business enterprises and bureaucracy fueled a demand for literate women from the working and lower middle classes to become stenographers, copyists, and bookkeepers —roles previously filled by men. However, any personal autonomy and satisfaction that such employment might have brought was reduced by its low pay and low status—women’s work was still seen as secondary to men’s. “There exists in the minds of men a tone of feeling toward women as toward slaves.” Margaret Fuller HARRIET MARTINEAU Born in Norwich, UK, in 1802, the daughter of a cloth merchant, Harriet Martineau received a good education, but was confined to the domestic sphere by her mother’s strict views on traditional gender roles. After her father’s death in 1826, Martineau broke with convention to earn a living as a journalist, despite having been deaf since the age of 12. The notable success of Martineau’s Illustrations of Political Economy enabled her to move to London in 1832, where she met influential thinkers such as John Stuart Mill. After traveling to America and the Middle East, Martineau returned home and continued writing. Publishing more than 50 books and 2,000 articles, she campaigned for women’s education, civil liberties, and suffrage all her life. She died in 1876 at a house she had designed and built in the Lake District. Key works 1832 Illustrations of Political Economy 1836 Philosophical Essays 1837 Society in America 1848 Household Education See also: Enlightenment feminism • Marriage and work • Rights for married women • Intellectual freedom INTRODUCTION Feminist history often describes the period from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century as that of “first-wave” feminism. During this time, a definite women’s movement emerged as feminists worldwide analyzed aspects of their lives and aimed to change the institutions that oppressed them. Gradually women began to get together to demand equal rights—in law, education, employment, and politics. From about the 1840s in the US, and then in Britain, women’s demands for rights were channeled into what became a broad-based and sometimes divided campaign to win the vote. However, feminism was never one unified movement. Different political approaches caused the emergence of a variety of often conflicting strands. First-wave feminists campaigned on many fronts. In Britain, activists Caroline Norton and Barbara Bodichon orchestrated attacks on laws that kept women, particularly married women, in a subordinate role. Their efforts resulted in the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857— which forced men to prove a wife's adultery in court and allowed women to cite a husband's cruelty or desertion—followed by two married women’s property acts, the second of which, in 1882, enabled married women to own property. Breaking out of the home Women also challenged the social restrictions that kept them in the domestic sphere of home and family. English feminists Harriet Taylor Mill and Elizabeth Blackwell argued that women should have the same access as men to university training, the professions, and paid employment, and threw their energies into opening up greater opportunities for women. The writings of the German political theorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were an influence on socialist feminists, such as Clara Zetkin in Germany and Alexandra Kollontai in Russia. They viewed women’s oppression as a class issue, arguing that the development of the family as an economic unit fundamental to capitalism forced women into a subordinate role and that only a socialist revolution would free them. While middle-class women in Western countries protested against lives of enforced idleness, workingclass women in mills and factories had different concerns. They had always contributed to the family income, but industrialization had pulled them out of home-based activities into outside work with no protection from exploitation. Facing opposition from male trade unions, who saw women’s work as a threat to their livelihoods, working-class women in the US and Britain took action, going on strike and forming women-only trade unions. Race, sex, and the vote Issues of race permeated first-wave feminism from the 19th century onward. Black feminists, such as the activist and former slave Sojourner Truth, experienced a double oppression on both gender and ethnic grounds. The abolitionist cause brought white and black women together, but divisions emerged during the latter part of the century, particularly during the fight for the vote, when, in the US, women’s suffrage was postponed in favor of votes for black men. Despite the social taboos against women talking about sex, some pioneering feminists in Britain, Sweden, and elsewhere highlighted sex and reproduction as key areas in which women had little control. In Britain and the US, feminist campaigners argued against male control of women’s reproductive rights and fought for access to birth control. Even more radical were those, such as the English social reformer Josephine Butler, who identified a sexual double standard within society, whereby sexual activity was condoned in men but not in women, highlighted by society's ambiguous attitude to prostitution. From around the middle of the first-wave period, feminists in Britain and the US came together in a mass movement to achieve suffrage, or the right to vote. Strategies for achieving this right varied enormously, and in Britain the struggle became increasingly bitter and violent. Despite divisions among feminists, the campaign for suffrage dominated much of their activity up to World War I (1914–1918) and in its immediate aftermath. By the 1920s, feminist ideas and campaigns had emerged in many countries across the world, including Japan, where feminists such as Fusae Ichikawa argued for a woman’s right to be involved in politics. In the Arab world, too, particularly Egypt, Huda Sharaawi and other feminists had set up the first feminist organizations. IN CONTEXT PRIMARY QUOTE Lowell Mill Girls, 1841 KEY ORGANIZATIONS Lowell Mill Girls, the Match Girls BEFORE Mid-1700s British inventions such as the spinning jenny, the water-frame, and improvements to the steam engine lead to the automation of heavy work. 1833 In the UK, the first Factory Act provides some legal protection to children working in factories. AFTER 1888 American activist and suffragist Leonora O’Reilly begins a female chapter of the Knights of Labor, a national labor federation. 1903 Mary Harris Jones leads a parade of child workers from Philadelphia to New York to protest against child labor. The Industrial Revolution fundamentally shifted the way people worked and lived. Mechanization made mass-production of goods possible, and companies began to hire large numbers of unskilled workers to tend to the machines, including women and children. As this work was usually repetitive and unskilled, bosses paid very low wages. Individual craftspeople could not compete with the low cost of industrially made goods, and for many people, selling their labor for a wage soon became the only option for finding employment. “I will speak of the small to the great, and of the feeble to the strong.” Annie Besant Jobs for women Women had traditionally done repetitive and tedious work in the home and on the land, and old notions of “women’s work” dictated which jobs were open to women in the industrial economy. They took on a large proportion of low-paid clerical, retail, and factory work. As women typically sewed and mended clothing at home, textile factories usually hired largely female workforces. Leadership roles were rarely available to women, unmarried women were assumed to be working only until they found a husband, and companies paid women a fraction of what male laborers received. In the early 1800s, a textile mill in Lowell, Massachusetts, sent recruiters to small farms to hire young women workers. Most of New England’s economy was agrarian at this time, and quite a few farming families sent their daughters off to earn extra money in the factories. The mill owners promised to fulfil a paternal role in these young women’s lives by sending them to church and giving them a moral education. In reality, the factory’s conditions were exploitative; women’s wages at Lowell were about $4 per week in 1845 (around $100 today), and managers often lengthened the working day or demanded higher productivity with no change in pay. The average length of the working day was 13 hours. Women wanting to unionize faced resistance from employers and male coworkers and received little support from middle-class suffragists. SARAH BAGLEY Born in Rockingham County, New England, in 1806, Sarah Bagley moved to Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1836 to work in one of the town’s many textile mills. Over the course of a decade, Bagley noticed how the mill workers’ pay and their quality of life remained the same even when production in the mills increased. A strong personality and a charismatic speaker, Bagley and 12 other “Mill Girls” started the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association (LFLRA) in January 1845, and in May 1846 purchased a worker’s newspaper, The Voice of Industry, to share their ideas. The LFLRA joined a growing group of labor organizations in the US that were demanding fair wages and a 10-hour working day. The first union of women workers in the US, it grew to 600 branches. In later life, Bagley practiced homeopathic medicine with her husband in New York City. She died in Philadelphia in 1899. Key work 1846–1848 The Voice of Industry Collective action Women began to organize and unionize (make demands as a group rather than as individuals) early on in the industrial revolution, calling for better pay and fairer treatment from their employers. As early as 1828, the “Lowell Mill Girls,” effectively the first female union in the US, took to the streets with banners and signs to protest against their employer’s restrictive rules. In 1836, 1,500 female workers walked out in a full strike, bringing production to a halt. The backlash against Lowell’s strikers, who were portrayed as ungrateful and immoral by their employers, was fierce. Nonetheless, the Mill Girls came to be well known as a powerful union. In 1866, the year after the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution ended slavery in the US, a group of formerly enslaved washerwomen formed the first labor union in the state of Mississippi. On June 20, they sent a resolution to the mayor of Jackson, the state capital, demanding a uniform wage for their labor. They also requested that any woman found working for less should be fined. A few days later, a group of formerly enslaved men, inspired by the women, held a meeting in Jackson’s Baptist church to discuss striking for better wages. Further strikes ensued. In the town of Lynn, Massachusetts, on July 28, 1869, a group of women shoeworkers created their own trade union. Calling themselves the “Daughters of St. Crispin” after their male counterparts, the “Knights of St. Crispin” (Crispin being the patron saint of cobblers), the female union grew rapidly, with lodges forming in Massachusetts, California, Illinois, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and became the first national women’s labor union in the US. In 1870, the Daughters of St. Crispin demanded equal pay with men for equal labor. They organized two strikes in 1872: the first, in Stoneham, Massachusetts, was unsuccessful, but the second, in Lynn, won higher wages for female workers. In 1874, the Daughters of St. Crispin went on to demand a 10-hour working day for women and children in manufacturing jobs. A monthly magazine, the Lowell Offering, published for the workers at Lowell Mill, idealized the life of the mill girls. The reality was rather different, with long hours and low pay. “Our present object is to have union and exertion, and we remain in possession of our own unquestionable rights.” Lowell Mill Strike Proclamation Socialist links In Britain and mainland Europe, industrialization advanced at an even faster pace than in the US. Britain’s 1847 Factory Act limited the work day to 10 hours a day for women and teenagers, but factory owners and large companies continued to pay low wages for work in unsafe conditions. A vast, impoverished workforce that had migrated to the cities from the countryside provided a large, desperate workforce. If a worker quit her job or fell ill, it was easy to find a replacement. Philosophers and political theorists such as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote about the unfair exploitation of labor and suggested socialist alternatives to the capitalist system. The role of women, however, did not play a central part in the writings of Marx or Engels. Instead, women activists such as British suffragists Emma Paterson and Clementina Black based their politics on their own experiences of labor and class relations. In 1872, at the age of 19, Paterson became assistant secretary to the Workmen’s Club and Institute Union, and two years later founded the Women’s Protective and Provident League, with the specific goal of getting more women involved in trade union organizing. It was made up of mostly middle- and upper-class people with socialist views. Clementina Black, a middle-class Englishwoman who was a family friend of Karl Marx, took a different approach. At first, she focused on using women’s power as consumers to bring about social change. She worked on creating a consumers’ league, which advocated buying only from industries that paid their workers fair wages. In 1886, Black became a member of Emma Paterson’s Women’s League, working as secretary to the organization. Militant action In 1888, Clementina Black became involved in the Match Girls’ strike in London’s East End. Its success convinced her that more militant, direct action was the best way to effect social change. In 1889, she helped found the Women’s Trade Union Association, and in 1894, became editor of Women’s Industrial News, the journal of the Women’s Industrial Council (WIC), which published investigations into the quality of life and the working conditions of women laborers. In the US, African American socialist and anarchist Lucy Parsons helped to found the International Working People’s Association (IWPA) in Chicago in 1881. After moving with her husband to Chicago from Texas in 1873, she had opened a dress shop and hosted meetings of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU). She also wrote articles for The Socialist and The Alarm, two radical IWPA newspapers that were published in the city. In 1886, Parsons helped to organize a May Day protest in which more than 80,000 workers in Chicago and some 350,000 workers across the US walked out on their jobs in a general strike to fight for an eight- hour work day. The strike became violent on May 3 after police fired into a crowd of protesters in Chicago. When one police officer was killed, retribution was swift and harsh. Despite not being at the meeting, Parsons’ husband was hunted down, arrested, found guilty of the murder, and then executed. Parsons continued with her activist work. She was the only female speaker at the inaugural meeting of the Industrial Workers of the World, an international labor organization founded in Chicago in 1905, and she traveled the world to lecture on socialist causes. The labor abuses associated with industrialization were experienced by men and women, but most labor unions were still open only to men at the beginning of the 20th century. Women workers were generally forced to organize their own unions to address their specific concerns. These struggles were eventually taken up by the suffrage and women’s movements. Women’s unions helped to secure the eight-hour work day as standard (by 1940 in the US), end some of the worst workplace abuses of child labor, and achieve a better wage for women. “Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth.” Lucy Parsons The National Federation of Women Workers (NFWW) fought for a minimum wage in Britain and exposed the evils of sweatshop labor’s long hours, poor conditions, and low pay. Founded in 1906, it had 20,000 members by 1914. The Match Girls’ Strike In July 1888, 1,400 women and girls walked out of the Bryant & May match factory in London, in what came to be known as the Match Girls’ Strike. British socialist Annie Besant used her newspaper, The Link, to publicize the 14-hour workday, toxic materials, and the unfair difference between shareholder profits and the poverty wages paid to employees. The strike in 1888 was not the match girls’ first protest. In 1871, they marched against a proposed tax on matches. Workers complained of fines that cut into their wages, and of unfair dismissals. They also suffered breathing difficulties and other health problems because of the phosphorus fumes in the factory. Bryant & May attempted to crack down on public criticism by making their workers sign a written denial of any ill-treatment. This, combined with another unfair dismissal, set off the strike. The public sided with the workers, and Bryant & May relented. The success of the match girls inspired a wave of similar strikes in the UK and boosted the rise of trade unionism. See also: Collective action in the 18th century • Working-class feminism • Marxist feminism • Women’s union organizing • Anticapitalist feminism IN CONTEXT PRIMARY QUOTE Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, 1848 KEY FIGURES Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Rosa Luxemburg, Clara Zetkin, Alexandra Kollontai BEFORE 1770s Scottish economist Adam Smith’s work largely ignores the role of women in the economy. 1821 German philosopher George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel claims that women do not belong in public spheres. AFTER 1972 Marxist feminists launch the Wages for Housework Campaign in Italy. 2012 In the US, women’s unpaid domestic work is said to raise GDP by 25.7 percent. In The Communist Manifesto of 1848, German philosophers and revolutionary political theorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels claim that capitalism oppresses women, treating them as subordinate, secondclass citizens in both the family and society. Marxist feminism adapts this theory to seek women’s emancipation through the dismantling of the capitalist system. Marx’s later writings primarily focused on economic and social inequalities between classes, and paid little attention to the issue of male domination, but he returned to the subject of female oppression at the end of his life, producing extensive notes. Engels drew upon some of Marx’s notes and the research of the progressive American scholar Lewis Henry Morgan to write The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (1884), in which he examines the start and institutionalization of women’s oppression. Women’s servitude Engels asserts that the violence and oppression that women suffer were rooted in the family at its very foundation. He describes the rise of the nuclear family as the “world historical defeat of the female sex” in which the woman was the slave of her husband and a mere instrument for the production of children. To ensure her fidelity, Engels writes, “she is delivered unconditionally into the power of the husband; if he kills her, he is only exercising his rights.” Classical Marxist writings maintain that, while the gender-based division of labor has always existed, the work performed by men and women is equally necessary. Only with the rise of capitalism, the advent of surplus product, and the accumulation of property did the human race become interested in the concept of inheritance. Engels maintains that the right of inheritance was supported by the idea of morality, the monogamous family, and the separation between private and public spheres, which then led to the control of female sexuality. Karl Marx (left) and Friedrich Engels (right) met when Engels began writing for Rheinische Zeitung, a journal edited by Marx. When Marx’s views led to his expulsion from Germany, the pair moved to Belgium and later England. Class struggle According to classical Marxist theory, women’s emancipation required their inclusion in social production, and therefore women’s struggle became an important part of the class struggle. The followers of Marxism believed that women shared the same goals as workers, and that gender inequality would disappear with the elimination of private property, since the reason for any exploitation would no longer exist. Marxist feminists believed that in capitalist society women were a “reserve army of labor,” called on when the need arose, such as during war, and excluded when that need disappeared. Arguing that the patriarchy and male domination existed before the emergence of private property and class divisions, Marxist feminists identified capitalism and patriarchy as the dual systems that underpinned the oppression of women. In male-dominated capitalist societies, “unproductive” women’s work was at the bottom of the social pyramid. A joint struggle Between the deaths of Marx (1883) and Engels (1895) and World War I (1914–1918), female socialist and communist theorists further elaborated on issues of women’s empowerment and universal suffrage. Rosa Luxemburg and Clara Zetkin in Germany, and Alexandra Kollontai in Russia, leading theorists of the international communist movement, rejected the idea that because of their gender women did not belong in the socialist leadership. Following their own principles, they brought the issue of women’s rights to the fore in the fight for workers’ emancipation. CLARA ZETKIN Born in Saxony, Germany, in 1857, Clara Zetkin was an activist in the international communist movement and advocated suffrage and the reform of labor legislation for women. She helped make the Social Democratic Women’s Movement in Germany one of the strongest in Europe. She edited its newspaper Die Gleichheit (Equality) from 1892 to 1917, and led the Women’s Office of the Social Democratic Party in 1907. Zetkin refused to support Germany’s war effort during World War I and later urged workers to unite against fascism. When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, she fled to the Soviet Union. She died in Arkhangelskoye, near Moscow, later that year. Key works 1906 “Social-Democracy and Woman Suffrage” 1914 “The Duty of Working Women in War-Time” 1925 “Lenin on the Women’s Question” The women’s question While the empowerment of women was not the chief focus of Rosa Luxemburg’s writing, she believed that revolution was key to their emancipation and that women had the right to work outside the family. Highlighting the hypocrisy of preachings on gender equality by Christianity and by scholars from the bourgeois ruling class, she stated that capitalist society lacked any genuine equality for women and that only with the victory of a proletarian (working-class) revolution would women be liberated from household enslavement. In her 1912 speech “Women’s Suffrage and Class Struggle,” delivered at the Social Democratic Women’s Rally in Stuttgart, Germany, she maintained that “socialism has brought about the spiritual rebirth of the mass of proletarian women,” adding wryly, “and in the process has doubtless made [women] competent as productive workers for capital.” Luxemburg criticized the bourgeois women’s movement. She described bourgeois wives as “parasites on society” and “beasts of burden for the family,” and argued that only through the class struggle could “women become human beings.” She maintained that the bourgeois woman had no real interest in pursuing political rights because she did not exercise any economic function in society and enjoyed the “readymade fruits of class domination.” For Luxemburg, the struggle for women’s suffrage was not simply a mission for women, but the common goal of all workers. She also saw women’s suffrage as a necessary step in educating the proletariat and leading them forward in their struggle against capitalism. Along with other socialist women, in particular her friend and confidante Clara Zetkin, who also dismissed liberal feminism as bourgeois, Luxemburg was involved in numerous campaigns that strengthened the solidarity of women. Many leftist female leaders met at international congresses to exchange their experiences and ideas, and established international women’s organizations. During World War I, Luxemburg and Zetkin participated in the antiwar campaign of the largest socialist newspaper for women, Die Gleichheit (Equality), urging readers to oppose militarism. Jailed in 1915 for expressing antiwar views, Luxemburg went on to found the Spartacus League with Zetkin in 1916; this underground Marxist group opposed German imperialism and sought to provoke revolution. “The unstoppable advance of the proletarian class struggle pulled working women into the vortex of political life.” Rosa Luxemburg A new idea of woman Revolutionary movements in Russia in the early 1900s spurred on the development of Marxist feminism. Alexandra Kollontai, a prominent communist revolutionary, placed female emancipation and gender equality at the center of the international socialist agenda. From 1905, she was active in promoting Marxist ideas among Russia’s female workers. Kollontai demanded the radical break-up of traditional family relations, insisting that when a woman was economically dependent on a man and did not directly participate in public and industrial life, she could not be free. Kollontai’s 1918 article “The New Woman” proclaims that women would have to emerge from the subservient role imposed by patriarchal traditions and cultivate qualities traditionally associated with men. The new woman would conquer their emotions and develop strong self-discipline. She would demand a man’s respect and not ask for his material support. Her interests would not be limited to home, family, and love, and she would not hide her sexuality. In Society and Motherhood (1916), Kollontai analyzes factory work and states that hard labor turned motherhood into a burden, leading to health and social issues for women and children. Advocating improved working conditions and state recognition of the value of motherhood through the provision of national insurance, she claims that the health of a working woman and her child, as well as childcare while the mother worked, should be the responsibility of the state. Marxist feminists of the early 20th century influenced state policies of later communist governments around the world. Later, in the 1960s and ’70s, radical feminist groups such as Wages for Housework were also inspired by their ideas. International Women’s Day and its origins Celebrated annually on March 8, International Women’s Day is traced back to the US in 1907, when more than 15,000 female textile workers marched through New York City, demanding better working conditions and voting rights. In 1909, the Socialist Party of America declared a National Women’s Day, celebrated until 1913 on the last Sunday of February. Women from many countries attend the International Women’s Day march in London on March 8, 2018. The day was adopted by the United Nations in 1975 and is a national holiday in some countries. In 1910, about 100 women from 17 countries attended the Second International Conference of Women in Copenhagen, Denmark, at which Clara Zetkin proposed the establishment of International Women’s Day, on which women would highlight women’s issues. The following year, more than one million women and men attended International Women’s Day rallies worldwide. In Russia in 1917, women marked the day with a fourday strike for “peace and bread” that was a key event in the lead up to Russia’s October Revolution that year. See also: Unionization • Socialization of childcare • Anarcha-feminism • Radical feminism • Family structures • Wages for housework • Gross domestic product IN CONTEXT PRIMARY QUOTE Elizabeth Cady Stanton, 1848 KEY FIGURES Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone BEFORE 1792 Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman is published in the UK. 1837 In “Letters on the Equality of the Sexes,” Sarah Grimké argues that women have the same responsibility as men to act for the good of humanity. AFTER 1869 Wyoming becomes the first US territory to grant female suffrage. 1920 The 19th Amendment to the US constitution is ratified, giving all American women the right to vote. On July 19, 1848, 300 women and men gathered at Seneca Falls, New York, for the first assembly of women’s rights activists. It was a time of great social change, especially in Europe. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels had just published The Communist Manifesto in London, England, and republican revolts, known as the 1848 Revolutions, had erupted in France, the Netherlands, and Germany. The impetus for the Seneca Falls Convention, however, came out of women’s experience of the abolitionist movement and the shift from moral opposition to slavery to political activism against it. Like minds The organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention were Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, abolitionists who had met at the World Antislavery Convention in London in 1840, where they had been united in their outrage at the marginalization of female delegates. By 1848, Stanton had moved to Seneca Falls, New York. When Mott contacted her there, the pair decided it was time to confront the lack of social, civil, and religious rights for women and organized a convention in the town. With only a few days’ notice, they and other women, including the orator and abolitionist Lucy Stone, drew up “The Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions,” perhaps the single most important document in the 19th-century American women’s movement. They advertised the event in the Seneca County Courier and Mott, a well-known preacher, was the only listed speaker at the convention. Her husband, James, chaired the convention, and 40 men were among the 300 attendees. They included the noted abolitionist Frederick Douglass, who was invited to the convention by Elizabeth M’Clintock, Stanton’s friend and fellow activist. ELIZABETH CADY STANTON Born in Johnstown, New York, in 1815, Elizabeth Cady Stanton claimed she received her first lesson in gender discrimination while studying in her father’s law firm. Due to the laws at the time, a female client was denied a legal means to recover money that her husband had stolen. A well-educated woman, Elizabeth married abolitionist and lawyer Henry Stanton in 1840, and the couple went on to have seven children. In later life, Elizabeth turned her attention to the representation of women in the Bible, arguing that organized religion had contributed to the subjugation of women. Such views, expressed in The Woman’s Bible, published in 1895, were unpopular with both the Church and women’s organizations. She continued writing well into old age, before dying of heart failure in 1902. Key works 1881–1886 The History of Woman Suffrage Volumes 1–3 (with Susan B. Anthony) 1892 The Solitude of Self 1895 The Woman’s Bible Lucretia Mott (center) and a fellow campaigner are escorted through a crowd of angry male protestors trying to derail the historic Seneca Falls Convention of 1848. Constitutional precedent Inspired by the US Declaration of Independence of 1776, “The Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions” set out the ways in which the rights enshrined in the founding document of the US Constitution were denied to women. Stanton read out a list of 16 injustices, including the fact that women had no right to vote, limited property rights, and restricted access to advanced education and most occupations. Women’s rights were taken away not just by marriage, she said, but by all of the ways in which they had been deprived of responsibility and made dependent upon men. If these rights were to be given to women, Stanton argued, they could protect themselves and realize their potential as moral and spiritual leaders. The “sentiments” were followed by 12 “resolutions,” which the attendees were asked to adopt. Eleven of these were passed unanimously, including resolutions for equal rights in marriage, religion, education, and employment. However, the one for women’s suffrage was given less support— especially from the men at the convention—and was only adopted when Douglass, who advocated female suffrage in his newspaper The North Star, defended it from the floor. After his intervention, 100 people signed the resolution. Two years later, in 1850, the first National Women’s Rights Conference was held at Worcester, Massachusetts. Organized by Lucy Stone, it attracted 1,000 participants from 11 states. Further conferences took place through the 1850s, both nationally and locally. “The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman.” Elizabeth Cady Stanton Property matters In 1851, Stanton was introduced to Susan B. Anthony by Amelia Bloomer, a campaigner against tight corsetry and other restrictive garments worn by women. Stanton and Anthony’s complementary personalities and skills—Stanton was lively and talkative while Anthony was quiet and serious, with a good grasp of statistics— made them a powerful force for change. “In writing we did better work together than either did alone,” said Stanton. Anthony,