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The Other Feminists

The Other Feminists: Activists in the Liberal Establishment

Copyright Date: 1998
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    The Other Feminists
    Book Description:

    This intriguing book enriches our understanding of the women's movement in the United States by showing how feminists captured a place for their goals on the agendas of four male-dominated liberal organizations in the 1960s and 1970s: the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Council of Churches, the Ford Foundation, and the International Union of Electrical Workers. Susan M. Hartmann examines the efforts of women and men who had few ties to the independent women's movement-and thus have been neglected in studies of second-wave feminism-but who nonetheless contributed substantially to the spread of feminist ideas and practices into the mainstream of American society. She identifies key resources that these establishment groups furnished the independent women's movement-money, legitimacy, and access to the critical arenas of public opinion and government.Revising the common view that the second wave of feminism was a white middle-class phenomenon, Hartmann discovers significant numbers of women of color and working-class women who pushed feminist agendas. In demonstrating how feminist change took place within establishment organizations, the book highlights the processes and the benefits that attended the incorporation of feminism into the frames of economic and racial justice, individual rights, and Christian values. It thus illuminates both the reach and the staying power of second-wave feminism.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-14393-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-xi)
  4. [Illustration]
    (pp. xii-xii)
  5. CHAPTER ONE Introduction Feminist Footholds Everywhere
    (pp. 1-13)

    In the late 1960s and early 1970s, when a new wave of feminism swept across the United States, Susan Berresford, a 1965 Vassar College graduate, was a researcher at the Ford Foundation. Winn Newman, in the middle years of a legal career devoted to organized labor, served as chief counsel for the International Union of Electrical Workers (IUE). Joan Martin, a recently ordained African American Presbyterian minister, worked at the National Council of Churches (NCC). Dorothy Kenyon, a lawyer who had been born in the nineteenth century, helped make policy for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) as a member...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Implementing Feminist Policy The International Union of Electrical Workers
    (pp. 14-52)

    Laurie O’Gara’s high-skilled job at the General Electric plant in Cincinnati, Ohio, had not come easily. Even though she had extensive training and experience in welding, General Electric originally classified her as a “helper.” To move up to the classification of welder, she reported, “I fought for my job.” She credited her union for supporting her, even though many of the men were uneasy when women began to work at what had always been considered “male” jobs.

    In conceiving of “women’s lib” as “when men and women can work together,” O’Gara referred most directly to her own advancement, which depended...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Litigating Feminist Principles The American Civil Liberties Union
    (pp. 53-91)

    Suzanne Post, chair of the Kentucky Civil Liberties Union, wrote to fellow ACLU executive board member Pauli Murray in October 1970, a watershed moment in that organization’s developing relationship with feminism. True, in singling out Murray as a “lone feminist,” Post neglected the critical efforts of Murray’s fellow board members Dorothy Kenyon and Harriet Pilpel in mobilizing ACLU support for women’s rights. Yet she correctly recognized how much the feminist positions taken by the organization up to 1970 depended upon the efforts of a few individuals. Thereafter, in part because of Post’s own efforts, “troops in the field” arose to...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR Establishing Feminismʹs Moral Authority The National Council of Churches
    (pp. 92-131)

    Theressa Hoover’s 1983 description of the relationship between secular and religious feminists referred specifically to the Women’s Division of the United Methodist Church, which she directed from 1968 to 1990. Yet her words applied as well to women in such religious institutions as Church Women United (CWU), an organization of denominational women’s groups and individuals, and the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. (NCC), a federation of Protestant churches and ecumenical organizations. Hoover’s strong ecumenical interests and those of the United Methodist Church propelled her into feminist projects in these two organizations as well as in her...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Financing Feminism The Ford Foundation
    (pp. 132-175)

    In November 1972, during a Ford Foundation discussion of women’s roles across cultures, Vice President Mitchell Sviridoff offered his impressions of feminist strategy at the foundation. Noting that efforts at other institutions had been “counterproductive,” he pointed out that when the women “are judicious, they get a response.” Nonetheless, he encouraged feminists “to keep the pressure on all the time” at Ford and anticipated that women would achieve a “position of empowerment” there.

    One of those women was twenty-nine-year-old Susan Berresford, who, upon taking a job at the foundation in 1970, fared better than many college-educated women of her generation....

  10. CHAPTER SIX Closing Gaps in Civil Rights and Womenʹs Rights Black Women and Feminism
    (pp. 176-206)

    The white middle-class face of liberal feminism in the 1960s and 1970s was the image that appeared both in contemporary commentary about the movement and in later scholarship. Frances M. Beal, Toni Morrison, Ida Lewis, and Linda La Rue, all critics of liberal feminism in its early years, as well as such scholars as Paula Giddings, bell hooks, and Jacqueline Jones in the 1980s, focused on the race- and class-based limitations of the new women’s movement. They wrote about the hypocrisy of white women seeking to recruit black women to feminist organizations while adopting agendas that ignored their particular needs....

  11. CHAPTER SEVEN Conclusion Institutionalization and the Persistence of Feminist Change
    (pp. 207-216)

    In 1960 it was legal to pay women in the United States less than men for the same work, to confine women to “women’s” jobs that inevitably fell below pay scales for “men’s” jobs, or to fire women when they became pregnant. It was accepted practice to discriminate against female students and teachers; and no scholarly journal or research center focused on women’s issues. Abortion was a crime in every state, and disadvantaged women were routinely sterilized without their informed consent. Language made women invisible by covering them with such words as “he” and “man”; and women were neither the...

  12. NOTES
    (pp. 217-266)
    (pp. 267-280)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 281-292)