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Authors write about what led up to their achievements, what their accomplishments were, and how their lives were consequently changed. They describe their personal stages of development in becoming feminists, from unawareness to activism to action. Some women focus on the painful barriers to success, fame, and social change; others focus on the surprise they experience at how well they, and the women’s movement, have done. Some well-known feminist foremothers featured include:
In Feminist Foremothers in Women’s Studies, Psychology, and Mental Health, many of the women see in hindsight how prior projects and ideas and even dreams were the forerunners to their most important work. They note the importance of sisterhood and the presence of other women and the loneliness and isolation experienced when they don’t exist. They note the validation they have received from grassroots feminists in contrast to disbelief from professionals. Although these women have been and continue to be looked up to as foremothers, they realize how little recognition they’ve been given from society-at-large and how much better off their male counterparts are.
Some foremothers write about the feeling of being different, not meshing with the culture of the time and about challenging the system as an outsider, not an insider. These are women who had few mentors, who had to forge their own way, “hit the ground running.” Their stories will challenge readers to press on, to continue the work these foremothers so courageously started.
Throughout the pages of Feminist Foremothers in Women’s Studies, Psychology, and Mental Health runs a sense of excitement and vibrancy of lives lived well, of being there during the early years of the women’s movement, of making sacrifices, of taking risks and living to see enormous changes result. Throughout these pages, too, sounds a call not to take these changes for granted but to recognize that feminists, rather than arguing over picayune issues or splitting politically correct hairs, are battling for the very soul of the world.