Survival in the Doldrums: The American Women's Rights Movement, 1945 to the 1960s / Edition 1

Survival in the Doldrums: The American Women's Rights Movement, 1945 to the 1960s / Edition 1

by Leila Rupp, Verta Taylor
     
 


Survival in the Doldrums is the first book to explore the persistence of the American women's rights movement in a period generally considered devoid of feminist activism and to show the ways in which the more radical movement of the 1960s was influenced by the successes and failures of the 1950s activities.
Focusing on women who saw themselves asSee more details below

Overview


Survival in the Doldrums is the first book to explore the persistence of the American women's rights movement in a period generally considered devoid of feminist activism and to show the ways in which the more radical movement of the 1960s was influenced by the successes and failures of the 1950s activities.
Focusing on women who saw themselves as heirs of the suffrage movement and who were, in many cases, actual participants in that original campaign, the authors have conducted extensive interviews and searched through rare letters and memoirs to reclaim the lost history of this period of American feminism. Pioneers like Alice Paul, Florence Kitchelt, and Alma Lutz were not subverted or overwhelmed by the "feminine mystique" of the 1950s, Rupp and Taylor reveal. These activists maintained their commitment by building a supportive community of mostly white, middle- and upper-class, like-minded women.
The movement of the '50s focused on the Equal Rights Amendment with Alice Paul's National Woman's Party leading the fight for its adoption (the ERA had first been formulated by Paul in 1921). Although the movement did not succeed in passing the ERA, it did have some impact. The Amendment came to a vote in the Senate for the first time in the 1950s and the movement's agitation played an important role in the establishment of President Kennedy's Commission on the Status of Women, with Eleanor Roosevelt, Pauli Murray and others. Furthermore, activists worked for the inclusion of sex discrimination in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which remains one of the most significant feminist achievements to date.
But the social homogeneity of the movement robbed it of any chance of launching a broad-based challenge on behalf of women's rights. The group remained isolated, small and exclusive -- in the authors's words, "elite-sustained" -- remote from black, labor and socialist movements and often highly conservative. Rupp and Taylor conclude this fascinating history with the observation that it was, nevertheless, these women who maintained the movement until the equation of forces changed, making it possible for a later generation of women to resume a more overt and radical mass-based protest.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195049381
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
05/21/1987
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
306
Product dimensions:
6.56(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.13(d)

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