The history of the second wave of feminism in the United States demonstrates the potential for both serious social change and seemingly intractable divisions among women. Race, ethnicity, social class, sexual orientation, and religion have all been dividing influences among women, shaping their various perspectives on and relations to the women's movement. Yet collectively, women's efforts-identified as second wave feminism-are seen as having made a difference. This book highlights the lives and work of fifty second wave feminists, women who have served as catalysts in the developing feminist movement. A diverse group-playwrights and politicians, grassroots organizers and scientists, poets and theologians-they provide the reader with compelling stories of individual women's lives, collective feminist struggles, and the possibilities of feminist social change. Each woman's story provides inspiration to those interested in the power of one, and collectively, the stories show the range of motivations, activities, and accomplishments of feminist thinkers and activists today. Each entry contains three parts: a biographical portrait of the individual, including information about education, family life, and early activism; an analytical discussion, highlighting the person's accomplishments and her relationship to U.S. feminism; and a bibliographical section containing a selective list of the subject's publications and writings about her and her work.
JENNIFER SCANLON is Associate Professor of Women's Studies at Bowdoin College. She is the author of Inarticulate Longings: The Ladies' Home Journal, Gender, and the Promises of Consumer Culture (1995) and co-author of American Women Historians, 1700s-1990s: A Biographical Dictionary (Greenwood, 1996).