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The Other Women's Movement: Workplace Justice and Social Rights in Modern America / Edition 1

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Overview

American feminism has always been about more than the struggle for individual rights and equal treatment with men. There's also a vital and continuing tradition of women's reform that sought social as well as individual rights and argued for the dismantling of the masculine standard. In this much anticipated book, Dorothy Sue Cobble retrieves the forgotten feminism of the previous generations of working women, illuminating the ideas that inspired them and the reforms they secured from employers and the state. This socially and ethnically diverse movement for change emerged first from union halls and factory floors and spread to the "pink collar" domain of telephone operators, secretaries, and airline hostesses. From the 1930s to the 1980s, these women pursued answers to problems that are increasingly pressing today: how to balance work and family and how to address the growing economic inequalities that confront us. The Other Women's Movement traces their impact from the 1940s into the feminist movement of the present.

The labor reformers whose stories are told in The Other Women's Movement wanted equality and "special benefits," and they did not see the two as incompatible. They argued that gender differences must be accommodated and that "equality" could not always be achieved by applying an identical standard of treatment to men and women. The reform agenda they championed—an end to unfair sex discrimination, just compensation for their waged labor, and the right to care for their families and communities—launched a revolution in employment practices that carries on today.

Unique in its range and perspective, this is the first book to link the continuous tradition of social feminism to the leadership of labor women within that movement.

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Editorial Reviews

Noteworthy Books in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics (Firestone Library Princeton)
The unheralded advocacy and pivotal role of working-class women in the labor movement in the decades following the Depression are illuminated for the first time in this work. . . . . This book scrutinizes intersections and divergences in the history of the labor movement and American feminism.
Women's Review of Books - Eileen Boris
Dorothy Sue Cobble has recovered . . . a feminist legacy that in its embrace of female difference refused to conform to 'men's ways.' She provides a usable past for those of us who wish to revalue women's labors. . . . Cobble's stunning reinterpretation persuasively shows that we've been looking in the wrong place for a mass movement after suffrage and before women's liberation. She names this movement 'labor feminism.'
Reviews in American History - Annelise Orleck
[A] sweeping new history of working-class feminism. . . . Future studies of post-World War II labor activism, politics, and feminism will build on this crucial work.
British Journal Of Industrial Relations - Mary Margaret Fonow
Meticulously researched and beautifully written. The kind of history that causes us radically to rethink what we thought we knew about the relationship between feminism and social class. We cannot afford to ignore the lessons of the past she so cogently analyzes for today's activists and scholars.
The American Prospect - Sarah Blustain
[A] remarkable . . . fascinating new history of the 'other,' forgotten feminism.
Industrial Relations Journal - Sue Ledwith
Dorothy Sue Cobble's book is a tour de force of feminist historical research and scholarship.
Noteworthy Books in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics

The unheralded advocacy and pivotal role of working-class women in the labor movement in the decades following the Depression are illuminated for the first time in this work. . . . . This book scrutinizes intersections and divergences in the history of the labor movement and American feminism.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2005 - 28th Annual Philip Taft Labor History Award, International Association of Labour History Institutions

Honorable Mention for the 2004 Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award, Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2004

"This [book] . . . shows the results of prodigious research. . . . Cobble believes that labor feminism learned from second-wave feminism and that later the new feminism learned from the old. She outlines steps that must be taken for labor feminism to be revitalized."Library Journal

"Dorothy Sue Cobble has recovered . . . a feminist legacy that in its embrace of female difference refused to conform to 'men's ways.' She provides a usable past for those of us who wish to revalue women's labors. . . . Cobble's stunning reinterpretation persuasively shows that we've been looking in the wrong place for a mass movement after suffrage and before women's liberation. She names this movement 'labor feminism.'"—Eileen Boris, Women's Review of Books

"A rich contribution to the history of American women and American labor from the 1930s to the 1980s."Choice

"In this meticulously documented and richly characterized book . . . [Cobble] provides a detailed and lively account . . . of the aspirations of an often-overlooked movement within what is commonly considered a monolithic American [feminism]."Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review

"[A] sweeping new history of working-class feminism. . . . Future studies of post-World War II labor activism, politics, and feminism will build on this crucial work."—Annelise Orleck, Reviews in American History

"Meticulously researched and beautifully written. The kind of history that causes us radically to rethink what we thought we knew about the relationship between feminism and social class. We cannot afford to ignore the lessons of the past she so cogently analyzes for today's activists and scholars."—Mary Margaret Fonow, British Journal Of Industrial Relations

"[A] remarkable . . . fascinating new history of the 'other,' forgotten feminism."—Sarah Blustain, The American Prospect

"The unheralded advocacy and pivotal role of working-class women in the labor movement in the decades following the Depression are illuminated for the first time in this work. . . . . This book scrutinizes intersections and divergences in the history of the labor movement and American feminism."Noteworthy Books in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics, Firestone Library, Princeton

"Dorothy Sue Cobble's book is a tour de force of feminist historical research and scholarship."—Sue Ledwith, Industrial Relations Journal

Women's Review of Books
Dorothy Sue Cobble has recovered . . . a feminist legacy that in its embrace of female difference refused to conform to 'men's ways.' She provides a usable past for those of us who wish to revalue women's labors. . . . Cobble's stunning reinterpretation persuasively shows that we've been looking in the wrong place for a mass movement after suffrage and before women's liberation. She names this movement 'labor feminism.'
— Eileen Boris
Choice
A rich contribution to the history of American women and American labor from the 1930s to the 1980s.
Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review
In this meticulously documented and richly characterized book . . . [Cobble] provides a detailed and lively account . . . of the aspirations of an often-overlooked movement within what is commonly considered a monolithic American [feminism].
Reviews in American History
[A] sweeping new history of working-class feminism. . . . Future studies of post-World War II labor activism, politics, and feminism will build on this crucial work.
— Annelise Orleck
British Journal Of Industrial Relations
Meticulously researched and beautifully written. The kind of history that causes us radically to rethink what we thought we knew about the relationship between feminism and social class. We cannot afford to ignore the lessons of the past she so cogently analyzes for today's activists and scholars.
— Mary Margaret Fonow
Industrial Relations Journal
Dorothy Sue Cobble's book is a tour de force of feminist historical research and scholarship.
— Sue Ledwith
The American Prospect
[A] remarkable . . . fascinating new history of the 'other,' forgotten feminism.
— Sarah Blustain
Industrial Relations Journal
Dorothy Sue Cobble's book is a tour de force of feminist historical research and scholarship.
— Sue Ledwith
Library Journal
This third title by Cobble (Inst. of Management & Labor Relations, Rutgers Univ.), whose first book was a history of waitress unionism (Dishing It Out) and whose second was an edited collection of essays (whose Women and Unions), shows the results of prodigious research in the service of "labor feminism," called by others "working-class feminism." She explains how this powerful and equally good form of feminism was eclipsed by "equal rights feminism," the middle-class feminism that came to dominance in the 1960s. Labor feminists wanted both the equality and the special treatment given by protective legislation, and they did not see incompatibility between the two. Labor feminists value employee representation and collective power rather than the individual's upward mobility, which they might characterize as "thrills for the few." One result of these diverging feminisms was that equally dedicated women voted yes and no to the first Equal Rights Amendment in 1948 and later to the Women's Status Bill. Cobble believes that labor feminism learned from second-wave feminism and that later the new feminism learned from the old. She outlines steps that must be taken for labor feminism to be revitalized. This solid argument for the value of "the other women's movement" is recommended for academic libraries and special labor and women's studies collections.-Janice Dunham, John Jay Coll. Lib., CUNY Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Dorothy Sue Cobble is Professor of Labor Studies, History, and Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University where she directs the Institute for Research on Women. She is the author of "Dishing It Out: Waitresses and Their Unions in the Twentieth Century" and "Women and Unions: Forging a Partnership".
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Table of Contents

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS ix
PREFACE xi
TEXT ABBREVIATIONS xiii
INTRODUCTION: The Missing Wave 1
CHAPTER ONE: The Other Labor Movement 11
CHAPTER TWO: Social Feminism Remade 50
CHAPTER THREE: Women's Job Rights 69
CHAPTER FOUR: Wage Justice 94
CHAPTER FIVE: The Politics of the "Double Day" 121
CHAPTER SIX: Labor Feminism at High Tide 145
CHAPTER SEVEN: The Torch Passes 180
CHAPTER EIGHT: An Unfinished Agenda 206
EPILOGUE: The Next Wave 223
ABBREVIATIONS FOR NOTES 229
NOTES 231
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 299
PERMISSIONS 301
INDEX 303

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