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An invaluable history book about a large segment of the twentieth century workforce--waitresses.
Reframing feminism for the twenty-first century, this bold and essential history stands up against "bland corporate manifestos" (Sarah Leonard). Eschewing the conventional wisdom that places the origins of the American women's movement in the nostalgic glow of the late 1960s, Feminism Unfinished traces the beginnings of this seminal American social movement to the 1920s, in the process creating an expanded, historical narrative that dramatically rewrites a century of American women's history. Also challenging the contemporary "lean-in," trickle-down feminist philosophy and asserting that women's histories all too often depoliticize politics, labor issues, and divergent economic circumstances, Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry demonstrate that the post-Suffrage women's movement focused on exploitation of women in the workplace as well as on inherent sexual rights. The authors carefully revise our "wave" vision of feminism, which previously suggested that there were clear breaks and sharp divisions within these media-driven "waves." Showing how history books have obscured the notable activism by working-class and minority women in the past, Feminism Unfinished provides a much-needed corrective.
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.
Women now comprise the majority of the working class. Yet this fundamental transformation has gone largely unnoticed. This book is about how the sex of workers matters in understanding the jobs they do, the problems they face at work, and the new labor movements they are creating in the United States and globally. In The Sex of Class, twenty prominent scholars, labor leaders, and policy analysts look at the implication of this "sexual revolution" for labor policy and practice. The Sex of Class introduces readers to some of the most vibrant and forward-thinking social movements of our era: the clerical worker protests of the 1970s; the emergence of gay rights on the auto shop floor; the upsurge of union organizing in service jobs; worker centers and community unions of immigrant women; successful campaigns for paid family leave and work redesign; and innovative labor NGOs, cross-border alliances, and global labor federations. Revealing the animating ideas and the innovative strategies put into practice by the female leaders of the twenty-first-century social justice movement, the contributors to this book offer new ideas for how government can help reduce class and sex inequalities. They assess the status of women and sexual minorities within the traditional labor movement and they provide inspiring case studies of how women workers and their allies are inventing new forms of worker representation and power.
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