Women s Studies International Forum

Published by Elsevier
Online ISSN: 0277-5395
Publications
Article
In Britain, the feminization of the cigarette is a 20th-century phenomenon. Prior to 1900 few women smoked, but during the 1920s and 1930s smoking amongst women increased dramatically. Set in the context of the increased prevalence of smoking among women during the interwar years, and negotiations around the meanings of gender and gender relations in this period, this article examines some of the ways in which popular young women's magazines represented smoking as a gendered practice. An examination of the fiction and illustrations featured in popular magazines, as well as articles and advertisements, reveals that representations of women smoking were employed in the interwar years to convey and develop key gender issues—these were rebellion, modernity, and heterosexual intimacy.
 
Article
While new economic and social possibilities were opening up for American women in the post World War II period, it was a time in which the only acceptable goals for women were marriage and the family. However, in spite of the fact that so many women conformed to this norm, they were simultaneously blamed for being overbearing with their children. Mothers were especially blamed for overprotecting their sons and creating weak and unmasculine men. It was a period of changing gender configurations and new personality goals. The anxiety and hostility this generated was directed at the mothers who were devoting themselves to their children in the way they were ‘supposed’ to.
 
Article
This article uses a discursive analysis to explore constructions of unmarried women in three 1950s library career novels. We suggest that, within these texts, spinsters were constructed as oppositional to single women. Through a discussion of the stereotype of the library spinster we illustrate that spinsters were portrayed as old and unattractive, as “Other” to single women who were portrayed as young and heterosexually attractive, or “heterosexy.” We also argue that whilst the stated aims of these career novels were to encourage teenage girls into library work, they also, paradoxically, along with other contemporary discourses, contributed to the impoverishment of some women’s library career prospects. A significant factor in this curtailment was the marriage bar which we define in relation to employment generally and library work specifically. Our arguments are supported by reference to both library history and women’s history.
 
Article
The abortion issue is defined here as a gender conflict of rights, and the research question is formulated within an interest group framework. Using data from a U.S. national opinion survey the merits of the formulation that opinions on abortion should reflect conflicting gender interests are explored. Although no gender polarization on abortion opinions is found, values regarding gender equality for women and conservatism for men reflect the impact of self-interest. The most powerful predictors of opposition to abortion are different for American women and men: high religiosity (for women) and low education (for men). The implications of these findings for a gender-equalitarian future are discussed. While support for a solution based on increased education is noncontroversial, sacrificing religiosity to gender equality is a more problematic proposition.
 
Article
In this article, I record the perspectives of four Western Australian women peace activists, each over 70 years old, who have been committed to pacifism since childhood. The article is written out of a desire to make visible women’s struggles, resistances, and active defiances. In particular, the article seeks to alert Australian women to their own histories of political activism, and to trace links between the so-called first and second waves of feminism by providing fresh insight into the political activities of Australian women during the middle decades of this century, a period commonly held to be an interregnum between two distinct waves of feminist activism. Consequently, the article focuses on the women’s own accounts of their lives as peace activists, paying particular attention to the processes of their politicisation and to the nature of their local and international support networks, in an attempt to uncover how they were each able to resist mainstream ideologies in their active pursuit of peace.
 
Article
South Africa has been in the forefront of countries that articulate gender rights as vital human rights. Therefore, it came as no surprise to many observers that when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission began hearings in 1996 to investigate human rights abuses during the apartheid era, women's stories were being neglected, and the country was getting a distorted view of the past. In response to pressure from women's organizations, the TRC held three all-women hearings in which women were encouraged to tell their own stories of human rights violations. This article highlights women's oppression during the period of review (1960–1964), the TRC's handling of gender issues, and an assignment of the TRC's contribution toward the promotion of gender rights.
 
Article
This article examines the changing nature of gendered paternalist employment relations on South African fruit farms. We suggest that in the past family employment—in which women were dependent on a male partner for employment and housing—helped institutionalise an unequal gender division of labour that was integral to paternalist production. Women constituted a cheap and flexible source of labour. Since the early 1980s, however, traditional paternalist production systems have been disrupted by intensified competition pressure and political reform, including the granting of new labour rights to workers. Many farmers have responded by modifying their production and management regimes. The key question this article examines is the extent to which these new practices are disrupting historically embedded paternalist relations from a gender perspective. We argue that new employment strategies are producing contradictory outcomes for women, opening up new opportunities, but also reproducing traditional forms of gender inequality in employment.
 
Article
In this article, the authors use the example of a schoolteacher and lifelong feminist activist born in Vienna in the late 19th century to discuss questions of biographical writing and the representation of feminist agency. They analyze the ambivalent status of a woman who can neither be conceptualized as a political leader or pioneer nor just as a nameless representative of a social group. In this way, they aim to challenge hidden paradigms in feminist history that make it difficult to represent types of biography that do not fit into conventional models of feminist agency. They propose to look at the archive that is the material background of biographical research as a strategic and symbolic space to discuss questions of memory and the ways in which past and present strategies of narrating and documenting women’s lives are intertwined. They argue that collecting and storing ‘facts’ always has strong imaginary aspects despite the realistic appeal of documents. By discussing two biographical models—the pioneer of women’s education and the political activist—as two possible ways to see the biography of their protagonist, they draw attention to the dependency of any biography on the biographer’s perspectives as well as the contingencies and limitations of any biographical model.
 
Article
In the mid-1980s, Swedes often regarded the relative absence of assistance for abused women as evidence that it was unnecessary. The Swedish state no longer dismisses the prevalence of abuse. Instead, it rigorously emphasizes the actions it has taken against it. This follow-up study, completed nearly a decade after the first nation-wide survey of battered women, examines the character of Sweden's policy shift by exploring its consequences. The principal question of this project is: What changes, if any, have resulted from the increased expenditures and additional reforms the state has pursued in its recent efforts to prevent violence against women? The results of this survey of battered women in shelters suggest that while police and prosecutors appear to be somewhat more responsive to abused women, social workers have not improved. In general, significant obstacles remain for women in need of assistance and protection from the men who abuse them.
 
Article
Sexuality continues to be a key issue for those studying the history and evolution of gender relations. It has also attracted many social theorists interested in the construction of social relations more generally.This paper aims to contribute to both areas. It uses the texts of two leading feminist birth controllers at the turn of the century, Margaret Sanger and Marie Stopes, to examine changing attitudes to female sexuality and to see how attitudes on other issues such as class influenced their views on sexuality.Sanger and Stopes had several agendas, including a desire to improve women's sex lives and their experience of marriage, and a political commitment to Anglo-Saxon, middle-class hegemony. Their membership in this particular social group determined the conceptual system within which they worked and imposed constraints on their analysis of women's roles and needs.
 
Article
This article reflects on the achievements, involvements, and complexities of feminism's involvement in education change in Australia over the past quarter century. In doing so, it continues a discussion about feminist theory and its relationship to politics and contexts. The article argues that this has been a period in which feminism has made a considerable impact on education, but that these achievements and even the growing wealth of experiences and sophistication of those working for such change have led to a more murky situation. The argument attempts to account for the particular form of Australian feminist work (theorizing as well as other practices) and to identify some of its consequences today.
 
Article
In spite of the ‘maternal turn’ in feminist theory, at the level of policy and practice feminism has neglected the politics of motherhood. This article explores the ambivalent relationship between the Australian women's movement and mothers' organisations formed to contest the management of childbirth and lactation. It argues that the advent of a ‘politics of difference’ allows greater acceptance of seemingly non-feminist positions on maternity and recognition of the role played by childbirth reformers in effecting social change. It examines Australian feminist attitudes to motherhood before discussing the response to feminism of women's groups which saw themselves as possibly part of a wider women's movement, but ‘different’ from mainstream feminism. A strong familial orientation was often contradicted by the everyday lives of activist women, who gained new skills and self-confidence in a significant challenge to medicalised reproduction.
 
Article
The Bangladeshi university system has been open to women since its beginnings in 1921. In practice, however, Bangladeshi social norms place many limitations in the way of female students. The increasing politicization of the universities in recent years has led to campuses being dominated by male student cliques allied to whichever party is ruling at the time. This has further worsened the situation of female students, as a recent series of events at Jahangirnagar University, the second university of Dhaka, illustrates. In 1998, a group of male students were involved in several rape incidents on the campus. The University was reluctant to take action, because the offenders had powerful political connections, and the resulting protest campaign led to a widespread discussion in the Bangladeshi media. In this article, I consider these events. I show how Bangladeshi social norms have brought about an effective and worsening “culture of exclusion” for female students and academic staff, and also discuss the attempts by staff (mainly female) and students to counter this situation and to claim the campus as a space in which women are able to take a full role.
 
Article
This article traces the beginnings and growth of the author's research into 18th and 19th century obstetric discourse in an effort to develop a perspective on the male theories about the female body inherent in current obstetric and gynecological practice. The author first discusses previous work within feminism to theorise about women and childbirth and the search for an authentic female practice of birth. She then focuses on the issue of power, and using examples from the texts of men midwives and obstetricians, argues that the obstetric discourses reveal the power of obstetric science to control the way women labour and give birth.
 
Article
This article attempts to challenge the Euro-American feminist representation of Chinese women as victims of the socialist system. The critique of this representation is grounded by an examination of the intersection between Mao’s gender ideology and rural/Beishadao village women’s experiences. Through a comparative study of two generations of Beishadao women’s lives, our attention is brought to a set of social changes in rural China that took place between the 1950s and 1990s. These changes strongly suggest that women who grew up under Mao’s regime have achieved significant power, although patriarchal privilege does not thoroughly disappear in their lives. These mixed consequences are influenced by contradictions generated by socialist gender ideas. Recognition of differences between two generations of women’s lives thus raises a feminist inquiry about the agents for social change.
 
Article
This article examines the mode of understanding and experiences of family relationships of Chinese migrant women in Britain. In contrast to much existing research work on the patterns and experiences of postwar settlement of unskilled Chinese male labourers in Britain, the focus here is on the life stories of 41 Chinese women with different migration trajectories and varying economic and cultural capital. Their oral testimonies reveal Chinese women's diverse expectations and experiences of migrant family relationships and their different strategies to achieve self-fulfillment both within and outside the confines of the migrant family. For some women, migration brings opportunities for a fulfilling and independent lifestyle. They are successful in negotiating their way around and sometimes out of their initial familial and social position. For others, they bear the disproportionate cost and labour of familial strategies of advancement and remain vulnerable to the most constraining aspects of diasporic existence.
 
Article
Historically, women have played crucial roles in the care of sick family members, and this pattern continues today. Women's involvement in folk medicine is particularly noteworthy, yet there has been very little study of this topic. Discussions of folk medicine frequently overlook and/or downplay women's contributions. Only recently have researchers focused on women and examined the complexity and extensiveness of female healers' knowledge and practices. Studies of three areas in the United States where folk medicine has flourished—the Ozarks, Appalachia, and the South—provide valuable insights about the major roles women have played as midwives, herbalists and spiritual healers. Intergenerational networking by women, especially within kin groups, has proven to be the most important mechanism for transmission of folk healing knowledge and beliefs in these locales. Information from studies in the U.S. highlights both the limitations and the horizons existing in the exploration of women's roles as keepers and carriers of folk medicine traditions.
 
Article
Since the advent of modern contraceptive techniques, sexuality and reproduction have been divided more than at any other time in human history. At first, this was seen as a liberating process for women, particularly for heterosexual women. Now, new reproductive technology has separated sexuality and the procreative process even further: a child can now be created without recourse to sexual intercourse. This too has been presented as a liberation for women. However, within this process men are gaining control of an experience uniquely female. The result of allowing this technological process to go unchecked could be the elimination of women and the development of artificial wombs.
 
Article
Children and parents' daily lives are rarely highlighted in coverage of drug wars. Using 16 interviews with parents in the Mexican border city of Juárez in 2010, we examine how drug violence impacts families with a focus on intersections of gender and social class. Related to mobility (the first emergent theme), fathers had increased mobility as compared to mothers, which caused different stresses. Material hardships heightened mothers' isolation within the home, and mothers more often had to enforce children's mobility restrictions, which children resisted. Related to employment (the second emergent theme), fathers took on dangerous jobs to provide for the family while mothers had fewer options for informal employment due to violence. In sum, men and women faced different challenges, which were intensified due to class-based material disadvantages. Conformity with traditional gender expectations for behavior was common for men and women, illustrating the normalization of gender inequality within this context.
 
Article
Clomiphene citrate is a drug that has been given to women for conventional fertility treatment for over 20 years. It is also now being administered—often in connection with other hormone-like drugs—to an increasing number of women in IVF programmes-(many of whom are fertile), in order to stimulate egg cell growth. Clomiphene citrate is handed out as if it were a “safe drug.” This paper analyses some of the medical and scientific literature on the drug including its effect on the women themselves and the children born after such treatment. It also incorporates our research with women who have used the drug. What surfaces is a disturbing array of health hazards ranging from depression, nausea, and weight gain, to burst ovaries, adhesions, and the promotion of cancer leading to death in some women, worrying rates of birth anomalies in the children and severe chromosomal aberrations in egg cell development. Of great concern is the evidence that the drug may stay in a woman's body for at least six weeks. Since clomiphene citrate has a chemical structure similar to DES there may be as yet unknown long-term adverse effects similar to those from DES. Given the fact that all these “side-effects” have stirred considerable debate in the medical and scientific literature, we are shocked to learn that (a) the women taking the drug are not informed of its possible detrimental effects; and (b) that researchers continue to state, contrary to scientific evidence, that the drug has no side effects. We posit that the potential risks from the drug are too great to administer it to any women and demand the development of a different science that places values on women's lives instead of using them as “living test-sites.”
 
Article
The New Woman, the figure of feminist rebellion who emerged in 1880s and 1890s in English fiction and social commentary, became the focus of a good deal of anxious polemic. In the context of the massive wave of expansionism during these years of the Second British Empire, the New Woman—and feminism, as it appeared to undermine woman’s reproductive “duty”—came to be seen as a sign of imperial decline. It was in response to this view that suffragism undertook to transform the New Woman into the feminist image of the woman as “mother of the race.” In the white settler colonies, this image held a particular iconic value, since both the imperial mother and the “virgin” territories of the New World were configured as the last hope for the Empire. This article traces the analogy of New Woman and New World, and discusses how Anglo-colonial fictions of woman suffrage re-presented the question of white women’s role in the progress of nation and Empire.
 
Article
Since the late 1990s, Zimbabwe has been enmeshed in a major economic and political crises that has seriously eroded the status of women in that country. Despite these problems, however, two women's organizations have emerged that offer some hope for poor and low-income women in that country, namely the Zimbabwe Women's Resource Center and Network and the Musasa Project Trust. These groups have attempted to address the strategic and human rights needs of grassroots women in Zimbabwe, particularly through disseminating information about the status of women, providing training about gender issues and working against domestic violence. These organizations, coupled with the UN's Fourth International Conference on Women and the NGO Forum on Women held in China in 1995, have promoted the empowerment of grassroots women in Zimbabwe. In this regard, they demonstrate the increasing strength of civil society and the future possibilities for women's enhanced contributions to their communities and to national development.
 
Article
In the post-Communist time and space of Romania, it seems that the values of gender rights are lagging behind other concepts such as democracy, human rights, civil society, and political institution building. A general survey of the gender problematic in post-Communist Romania, the article focuses on the present gender politics within pre-Communist traditionalist and national-Communist legacies, and post-Communist neo-conservatism and nationalism grafted onto a background of globalization. In what terms can one talk about feminism in Romania today? Are gender politics and patriarchy universal experiences? Such questions will be addressed in an effort to understand the value of Western feminist theories and experiences in the Romanian post-Communist context, as well as local perceptions of gender politics. Overall, the article brings to light the main problems that post-Communism posits for the gendering of Romania, within an East–West feminist dialogue.
 
Article
A major effect of globalization has been the opening up of the Indian economy for international trade. Economic reforms under the “New Structural Adjustment Programme” (1991) include the deregularisation of the economy to allow free market forces to operate unfettered. With increasing global economic competition, employment conditions have declined and government spending on social and welfare services has decreased. This article demonstrates the impact upon women, and how policy makers take for granted that the burden of social services can be “costlessly” transferred from the “productive” economy to the “non-productive” economy, that is, to women within the household. Women's multiple role in production and reproduction is negated by the absence of gender analysis in economic policy making. It is, therefore, necessary for feminists to identify the forces that continue to deconstruct and reconstruct patriarchy, and to investigate the interrelationships between public and private spheres, and social and economic capital.
 
Article
This essay outlines some of the ways in which contemporary developmental biology has been shaped by the exigencies of particular social movements and ideologies. The work is divided into three parts. Part One explores how the removal of the developing organism from its environmental context and the placement of the nucleus rather than the integrated cell at the head of a developmental control hierarchy has powerfully advanced our abilities to create chimeric organisms, to use genetic engineering for better and for worse and even to create mammalian clones. Part Two outlines a relationship between a central tenet of developmental and evolutionary theory, the continuity of the germ line, and the eugenics movement active during the first quarter of this century. Part Three discusses how assumptions about gender which are deeply embedded in our language have affected theories of male and female development.
 
Article
Cosmetic surgery emerged at the end of the 19th century in the United States and Europe. Like most branches of surgery, it is a ‘masculine’ medical specialty, both numerically and in terms of professional ‘ethos’. Given the role cosmetic surgery—and, more generally, the feminine beauty system—play in the disciplining and inferiorization of women's bodies, a feminist cosmetic surgeon would seem to be a contradiction in terms. It is hard to imagine how cosmetic surgery might be practiced in a way which is not, by definition, disempowering or demeaning to women. In this article, I explore the unlikely combination of a feminist cosmetic surgeon, using one of the pioneers of cosmetic surgery, Dr. Suzanne Noël, as an example. She was the first and most famous woman to practice cosmetic surgery, working in France at the beginning of this century. She was also an active feminist. Based on an analysis of the handbook she wrote in 1926, La Chirurgie Esthétique, Son Rôle Social in which she describes her views about her profession, her techniques and procedures, and the results of her operations, I tackle the question of whether Noël's approach might be regarded as a ‘feminine’ or even feminist way of doing cosmetic surgery—in short, an instance of surgery in ‘a different voice’.
 
Article
The question remains over what a private market, even one that is well-regulated and modified, ultimately means for the future of Cuban society. This article examines the impact of the recent economic changes in Cuba on women, and explores whether the status of women in Cuba can be sustained or improved with the introduction of a modified private market economy. Based on field visits to Cuba and on secondary sources, the authors discuss the status of Cuban women since the Revolution, and document the changes and challenges that these women currently face. The authors conclude that the unique gains of women following the Revolution may be threatened by the imperatives of a market-driven economy, but that Cuban women appear to be bracing themselves for the struggles that this may entail. Cuban women have retained their commitment to gender equality and are actively working toward improving their status in society.
 
Article
This article examines the phenomenon of dowry-murders in India, as an example of the ways in which violence against women is perpetuated on a global scale. As the capitalist-patriarchal structure continues to perpetuate and strengthen, women need to understand and address its effects across nation states. The example of the Indian Women's Movement in combatting violence against women can be universalized as a model for prevention of violence against women.
 
Article
“Prostitute for a Good Reason. Stars and Morality in Egypt” introduces briefly the history of Egyptian film industry, its current star system and the general evaluation of stars on the artistic and moral level. It examines whether and to what extent Egyptian stars may attain a quasi-mythical power and the kind of moral concepts that are conveyed through them. Hence, it touches on the process of how Egyptian audiences are inclined to read mass-mediated messages. In this context the study refers to the phenomenon of veiling that spread among actresses during the early 1990s and tries to relate it to relevant ideological tensions at work. Consequently, the study investigates the position of actresses, primarily top star Nadia al-Gindi. Her image and film persona seem to indicate a very specific interaction between prevalent ideological and moral concepts of different origins including Islamism and modernism on the one hand and cultural taboos of sexuality and power on the other.
 
Article
This article is about the recent history and development of the ‘Women’s International Sports Movement', characterised as a global cultural flow which links women from different countries across the world in a common cause. Its growth and apparent success is treated critically, raising questions about local-global connections and strategies, which in turn lead to questions about empowerment. Pivotal to the various groups and organisations which compose the international women's sports movement is the idea that they should cater to a global community of women, but it is argued that its original middle-class, elitist character and white, Western, educational and cultural hegemonic stance, has not changed fundamentally over the years. Empirical evidence shows that women from the developed world are in dominant positions throughout the movement and that they have been joined by ‘neo-colonial elites’ from the developing world, facilitating complex hegemonic relations based on Western consciousness and acculturation. Although in some ways the women's international sports movement has provided a channel of empowerment for women working for female sport in countries with a wide geographic spread, and it claims to embody a sensitivity to difference and an understanding of the lives and problems of women in the developing world, it has strong links with state apparatuses and stands the risk of remaining subject to overt or subtle forms of neo-colonial domination. The final argument is that if the women's international sports movement is going to grow in strength, it needs to transform the existing sets of power relations and to involve women from under-privileged backgrounds in a process of reconstruction. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd
 
Article
Second-wave feminists challenged liberal democratic conceptions of the political. Part of this challenge involved politicising relationships. Relationships between women and men were the major target and connected to debates about in what ways sexuality was political. Focussing on examples from New Zealand feminist writings between 1970 and 1984, I argue that interrogating relationships led to an understanding of sexuality as both producing and produced by social relations of power. This insight was limited by a feminist view of power as ‘power over’, which prevented a constructive analysis of differences between women and could produce personalised conflict between feminists. But it is through the political exploration of relationships and sexuality that diversity could be recognised and that feminists could begin to consider how to represent themselves and their interests in more complex ways.
 
Article
Globalization has influenced Mexican feminism—its politics are no longer strictly local or regional; but at local level Mexican feminists continue to work towards demarginalising themselves and occupying a more central position in Mexican politics. This article explores the development of feminism in Mexico, its origins in earlier political struggles for freedom, and its development from the 1970s according to local demands for women's rights. In Mexico, particular ethnic and class divisions in society have impacted upon feminism. The demands of Indigenous women are now being heard by the previously middle-class Mexican feminist movement, and this article depicts how the contradictions between feminism and cultural traditions might be reconciled. The issue of co-ordinating women's rights with human rights is also discussed, and it is argued here that it can be possible to integrate both according to the demands of specific situations.
 
Article
Despite seemingly favorable conditions for the development of a feminist movement in Poland, such a movement has been slow to develop. This article illustrates the importance of examining the particular, local contexts within which women's movements emerge and unfold. Specifically, I focus on historical, political, economic and social conditions that pose obstacles to the formation of a strong feminist movement in Poland. These include long periods of foreign domination which resulted in forced unity and reinforced traditional roles for women, the significant role of the Catholic church; a communist legacy of distrust of feminism and centralized forms of organization; suppression of women's interests in the Solidarity movement; and the limited opportunities for women created by political and economic policies during the current transition. The fledgling movement does show some signs of growth and strengthening: the number of feminist organizations is increasing, and feminists are beginning to articulate a distinctly Polish feminism.
 
Article
The emergence of new technologies for determining the sex of children again brings to the forefront the disquieting preference for male offspring evidenced in most societies. After a brief discussion of the cultural underpinnings of this predilection, I examine three societies where the use of selective abortion is well documented: India, South Korea, and China. The relevance of these data for abortion policy in the United States is discussed. Following this is an evaluation of some of the biological, social, and psychological arguments for and against the use of sex selection. The paper then turns to the central question: whether or not the state ought to regulate sex selection, including both pre- and post-conception techniques. After reviewing the arguments in favor of regulation, the essay concludes that regulation would jeopardize the very rights it was designed to protect.
 
Article
During the second half of the nineteenth century women from all over the world went to Swiss universities to study medicine. The first female doctors to practice in most European countries received their medical education in Switzerland. This article examines possible reasons to explain why Switzerland opened its doors to female medical students when universities in other countries rejected women. Cultural, political and economic motivations are suggested.
 
Article
This article focuses on the way concepts of feminism and femininity, often considered oppositional, intersect within two contemporary Turkish women's magazines, Kim and Kadınca. The methodology is derived from feminist critical theory and cultural studies, and includes textual analysis of the magazines as well as structured interviews with their editors. A range of potentially competing interests is identified in the production of the magazines, those of editors, owners, and advertisers, and the ways in which these are managed and negotiated is explored. It is argued that the incorporation of feminist discourses with patriarchal and commercial discourses offers a repertoire of subjectivities to women readers, some complementary and others contradictory.
 
Article
To the foreign observer, Turkish women constitute an anomaly amongst Muslim societies. Since the creation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, Turkey has engaged in a project of modernization and secularization. As part and parcel of this process of modernization, Turkish women have been granted social, political, and legal rights. Despite Kemalist reforms of the 1920s, the basics of male domination stayed intact. It is this paradoxical character of Kemalist reforms that this article emphasises. The legal equality granted to Turkish women did not succeed in their emancipation. The image of Turkey as the only modern, secular, democratic country in the Islamic Middle East has been an effective distortion, concealing many truths about Turkey. The author proposes that the Mediterranean culture, the Islamist traditions, and the Kemalist ideology act together in perpetuating the oppression of women in Turkey and keep patriarchy intact.
 
Article
This paper is focussed upon mothers who stay at home to care for their children, in the context of the Australian child care debate between mothers at home and mothers at work. The doctoral research on which it is based was carried out between 1996 and 2000. One aspect of this qualitative research was interviews with 20 mothers at home in suburban Perth, as one of several sites of exploration of the child care debate. In these interviews, the phrase “being there” recurred. “Being there” is also part of public child care rhetoric. While the phrase could be regarded as a version of “quantity time,” as opposed to “quality time” invoked by mothers in paid work, the term also points to the emotional dimension of child care. “Being there” is bio-social and political. It must be reviewed as such, for new discussions, beyond division (beyond work/home, public/private and male/female) to take place.
 
Article
This paper examines the witch craze in 16th- and 17th-century England, arguing that a revolutionary feminist theoretical framework provides a particularly useful analysis and explanation of the craze. By using such an approach the witch craze may be seen as an example of the use of violence against women to ensure the social control of women by men, reliant on a particular construct of female sexuality. The witch craze is not a unique event to be filed as the historical and unrepeatable past. Rather, this phenomenon is part of the dynamic process whereby men actively attempt to maintain dominance over women, who are rarely passively compliant.
 
Article
A debate concerning the “surplus women” problem identified by the 1851 Census took place, between women and men, between radicals and concervatives. Both the debate, and the actuality, of surplus women was influential for feminism and the women's suffrage movement. This paper examines this debate through the 1850s and 1860s published voices of both sides.
 
Article
The history of sex in the last 100 years has generally been represented as a triumphant march from Victorian prudery into the light of sexual freedom. From a feminist perspective the picture is different. During the last wave of feminism women, often represented as prudes and puritans by historians, waged a massive campaign to transform male sexual behaviour in the interests of women. They campaigned against the abuse of women in prostitution, the sexual abuse of children, and marital rape. This article describes the women's activities in the social purity movement, and the increasingly militant stance taken by some pre-war feminists who refused to relate sexually to men, in the context of the developing feminist analysis of sexuality. The main purpose of the paper is to show that in order to understand the significance of this aspect of the women's movement we must look at the area of sexuality not merely as a sphere of personal fulfilment but as an arena of struggle in which male dominance and women's subordination can be most powerfully reinforced and maintained or fundamentally challenged.
 
Article
This paper examines the threats to the health of women who worked in particular industrial occupations, which became the focus for public agitation and state intervention from the 1880s onwards into the 20th century. These “dangerous trades” represented a shift from concern with working conditions generally to those occupations where particular health hazards could be identified. Using lead poisoning as an example, the paper argues that intervention by the state was based on an assumption that there was sex-specific susceptibility, and that this resulted in measures of surveillance, restriction, and exclusion of women, and not the elimination of poisoning itself. The paper critically assesses the consequences of this approach for women themselves, and in terms of its effectiveness in eliminating the threats to health in general.
 
Article
This article provides a feminist critical psychological analysis of the psychological literature on lesbian parenting. Rather than offer an overview of the findings and methods and an evaluation of the scientific merit of the literature, the aim of this article is to examine the construction of lesbians as parents and the evolving history of the category ‘lesbian mother’ in psychological research. The period under analysis begins with the construction of lesbians as outsiders to motherhood in the work of early sexologists and ends with the construction of lesbians as reinventing the family in the work of lesbian and gay psychologists. Five phases of research are identified and the analysis explores what research in each phase reveals about the social and political meanings of lesbians raising children. The article concludes by charting the emergence of feminist critiques of the psychological literature. These critiques raise important questions about the regulatory role of psychology and the (re)production of heteronormativity in research on lesbian parenting.
 
Article
In a bold protest, women in 1915 took collective action across political boundaries during time of war to establish peace. These courageous women from both warring and neutral nations, committed to suffrage and to peace, made a major contribution for reconceptualizing society as a global system and in enabling the concept of the solidarity of women to hold fast during the turbulent years of World War I. Feminists today can draw upon the teachings of these foremothers: working for peace in times of threat to nationalism will bring censure and penalties. Intensified efforts for peace, as was true in 1915, will release passionate nationalism from many women who do not acknowledge or accept the psychological and ideological link between the forces against peace and those found in other forms of exploitation of women. The theory that peace can be maintained by competing armaments is a fallacy. Peace is more than the absence of war; it requires social change toward economic, social and political justice. Women must refuse to sanction a form of patriotism based on hatred between nations and authority dependent upon force and violence.
 
Article
This paper illuminates the process by which those disciplines which are dominated by women—education, library science, nursing, social welfare, public health and home economics— become low in status, power and prestige. Further, this paper intends to show how these departments are prone to determination in times of crisis and structural reorganization of the university. This study therefore analyses the administrative behavior of a coeducational university towards a department which consisted mainly of women. I will argue that gender is a relevant, indeed critical variable, to consider when analysing the organization of higher education because universities structurally exclude women.
 
Article
A careful examination of the circumstances surrounding the suppression, within a few months of each other, of Radclyffe Hall's The Well of Loneliness and Norah C. James's Sleeveless Errand offers a way of reading Hall's novel as rather more than the scandalous lesbian novel or a portrait of the novelist. Studying the (disallowed) depositions of witnesses in the Well trial, and Sleeveless Errand (banned, ostensibly, for ‘excessive’ use of ‘bad language’) helps illustrate the degree to which the patriarchy felt itself threatened. The suppression of the novels suggests a paradigm for the ways in which the establishment has controlled/controls women by forcing us into a single category of ‘likeness’. A reading of the relation between the two novels involves juxtaposing contemporary accounts of the two prosecutions, legal papers, biography, diaries … and Shakespeare.
 
Article
This article examines the “lost generation” from French feminism, women who were young in the 1930s and 1940s. It takes a sample of 44 women active in anti-fascist politics in the 1930s, whose life histories are known from the Maitron biographical dictionary, and surveys their backgrounds and circumstances, concluding that this generation had assimilated feminist demands while explicitly giving priority to anti-fascist politics over issues such as the right to vote.
 
Article
This article examines the discourses and debates about women's emigration from Ireland in the 1930s. Drawing upon some of the numerous discussions of emigration in the Irish national and provincial press, I argue that women's emigration was represented through the lens of sexuality, reproduction, and maternity. The sexualisation of female emigration took place on three distinct but interconnected levels. First, the exodus of thousands of young, unmarried women was represented as a loss of ‘breeding stock’. A second related discourse focused on the sexual behaviour of these women when they arrived in Britain. My research also has uncovered a third, less-vocalised discourse. Some commentators claimed that a considerable number of Irish young women were being forced to emigrate because they were pregnant or had committed some other breach of sexual mores. Such ‘sexual deviance’ did not fit with the narrow sexual morality propounded by the Catholic Church and the state. To understand the discourses surrounding Irish women's emigration in the 1930s, I draw upon Floya Anthias and Nira Yuval-Davis's theorisation of the biological reproduction of the nation. I also suggest that women's role as ‘mothers of the nation’ was central to the nation-building project in the newly established Irish Free State. However, the image of the domestic, motherly Irish ‘woman’ simplifies the complexities of Irish women's experiences and their roles within various collectivities. A broader examination of women's role in relation to familial and local communities, as well as the nation, may help to illuminate some of the complexities around women's high rate of emigration.
 
Top-cited authors
Sue Wilkinson
  • Loughborough University
Wendy Faulkner
  • The University of Edinburgh
Diane Reay
  • University of Cambridge
Carrie Paechter
  • Nottingham Trent University
Maria Humphries
  • Auckland University of Technology