Editors: Kathryn Kish Sklar
and Thomas Dublin
Published by Alexander Street Press and the
Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender, SUNY Binghamton
In This Issue
The Equal Rights Amendment divided organized feminism from the 1920s until the modern women's movement in the 1960s. In "How Did State Commissions on the Status of Women Overcome Historic Antagonisms between Equal Rights and Labor Feminists to Create a New Feminist Mainstream, 1963-1973?" Kathleen A. Laughlin explores how the deliberations of state commissions on the status of women in the 1960s provided a mechanism to overcome historic antagonisms between equal rights and labor feminists. The documents show that even though the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs was largely responsible for the formation of status of women commissions, these broad-based deliberative bodies also included male and female labor feminists. Consequently, women and men from both sides of the ERA controversy participated on commissions charged to investigate the status of women and to formulate policies to improve their social, civil, and economic status. The deliberations of ongoing state commissions were eventually influenced by the strategies and goals of the modern women's movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In "How Did Diverse Activists in the Second Wave of the Women's Movement Shape Emerging Public Policy on Sexual Harassment?" Carrie N. Baker takes a close look at the history of the emergence of sexual harassment activism, revealing a diverse group of people involved in conceptualizing and theorizing sexual harassment, and creating legal prohibitions against it. African-American women, blue-collar women, as well as middle-class white women participated in different ways to create a powerful movement that changed the social landscape of U.S. workplaces and schools. Activists against sexual harassment approached the problem on three fronts. First, individual women around the country began filing lawsuits in the early 1970s. Second, the organized women's movement began to raise awareness about sexual harassment through speak-outs, surveys, and media work. Third, individuals, representatives of feminist organizations, union activists, and government officials lobbied Congress for changes in public policy. At the intersection of these three strands of activism emerged increased awareness of sexual harassment, government policies to discourage it, and legal prohibitions against it. This project presents documentary evidence of hew this racially and economically diverse array of activists first articulated the issue of sexual harassment in the 1970s.
Women and Social Movements has undertaken an initiative to enhance the use, integration, and interpretation of visual images on its website to further the study of women and social movements. We seek to develop the potential for images to help document the rich history of women in social movements in the United States. We want to illustrate, interpret, and explore visuals as a part of the evidence the website provides for scholars, teachers and students, making visual images in Women and Social Movements more than simple "illustrations." We believe that scholars, teachers and students can "do" history with images when we bring to visuals the same critical tools that we bring to our work with text-based materials. Understanding context, audience, conditions of creation, and iconographic language in visuals can extend our knowledge of women and power. The Visual Record debuts in this issue.
Carol Lasser's "Making Gendered Poverty Visible: W.A. Rogerss 'Slaves of the Sweaters' and Attitudes toward Women and Child Wage Earners" demonstrates that a close reading of the 1890 graphic yields an analysis of urban poverty and the exploitation of women and child wage earners at odds with the editorial of the same name published in the same issue of Harper's Weekly. Rogers emphasized the helplessness of his subjects caught within the system of the tenement-bound system of sweated labor thus suggesting the need for intervention on their behalf, while his editors optimistically envisioned the progress of immigrant male wage earners and their dependents. Taken together, text and graphic illuminate a moment of transition in the thinking of the Progressive Movement, and make clear how visual analysis of historical materials enrich our understandings of the past.
With this issue, we are publishing a new section, News from the Archives, that will become a regular feature of the Women and Social Movements website. This section will provide news about collections and projects of interest from archives and repositories. If you are affiliated with an archive or repository and would like to submit an announcement that you feel would be of interest to our readers, please contact the editor of the new section, Tanya Zanish-Belcher, Associate Professor and Head of the Special Collections Department and University Archives at Iowa State University.
In this issue we are publishing four additional full-text sources. We expect to add roughly 1,250 pages each quarter in the future. Our first title, Anna Hallowell, ed., James and Lucretia Mott: Life and Letters (1884), offers valuable primary documents on two of the leading abolitionists and woman's rights supporters of the nineteenth century. Our remaining publications this quarter provide resources that will be useful for the exploration of women and social reform in the Progressive period. Annie Meyer, in Woman's Work in America (1891), contributes to a long tradition of exploring female occupations in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The Work and Words of the National Congress of Mother (1897) illuminates the work of a turn-of-the-century women's reform organization, and Helen Ferris, Girls Clubs: Their Organization and Management (1918) offers an advice book for those active in club life in the World War I era. All of these full-text sources are fully indexed and full-text searchable.
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