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American Women on the Move: The Inside Story of the National Women's Conference, 1977 (Hardback)
  • American Women on the Move: The Inside Story of the National Women's Conference, 1977 (Hardback)
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American Women on the Move: The Inside Story of the National Women's Conference, 1977 (Hardback)

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£52.95
Hardback 192 Pages / Published: 19/10/2016
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This is the inside story of the National Women's Conference held in Houston in 1977. Although the federally funded meeting was featured on the cover of Time magazine twice, participant Gloria Steinem now describes it as "the most important event nobody knows about." In fact, the International Women's Year (IWY) Conference was America's most democratic, representative, and inclusive congress of citizens in our history. Conference delegates had been elected by 150,000 women at open meetings in every state and territory where they discussed the range of barriers to women's full equality, debated solutions, and proposed remedies. Anti-feminists also had their say. Despite heated disagreements over issues such as the ERA, abortion, lesbian rights, child care, and other hot topics of the day, the Houston delegates united to approve a National Plan of Action to achieve full equality for all women. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of that unique gathering, the high water mark of the "Second Wave" of American feminism, Shelah Leader and Pat Hyatt draw on their personal files and notes from their days on the staff of the IWY National Commission to share their behind-the-scenes account of how a very diverse group of Republican and Democratic feminists achieved consensus in the face of determined opposition from political and religious conservatives. Since that landmark event, there has been marked progress in many aspects of women's lives, but a number of key goals in the IWY Plan of Action remain unfulfilled. As American politics and popular culture have grown more polarized, sexist, and toxic, it became clear to Leader and Hyatt that they were compelled to share their eyewitness story of "American Women on the Move." The book's final chapter assesses what strides have been made, what's yet undone, and lessons learned.

Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 9781498535991
Number of pages: 192
Weight: 458 g
Dimensions: 237 x 159 x 21 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
It's impossible to ignore the most democratically-elected, representative by race and class national body this country has ever seen-unless it was composed of women. Then, unlike a meeting of our all-white Founding Fathers, it can be ignored. That's why I'm so grateful to Shelah Leader and Patricia Hyatt for American Women on the Move. From now on, no understanding of this country or the global women's movement can be complete without it. -- Gloria Steinem
Shelah Gilbert Leader and Patricia Rusch Hyatt offer a vivid insider account of the only federally funded National Women's Conference in U.S. history. They capture, with immediacy and authenticity, the abundance of excitement and expectation that so many brought to Houston in 1977. Their bird's eye view goes beyond memoir and is sharpened by historical research and participant interviews. One is left with a newfound awareness of why the Houston Conference mattered then and which agenda items of the National Plan of Action remain unfulfilled. -- Leandra Zarnow, University of Houston
This book is the authoritative insiders' account and an essential complement to The Spirit of Houston, the official report from the National Women's Conference. -- Cynthia Harrison, George Washington University
Kudos to Shelah Gilbert Leader and Patricia Rusch Hyatt for documenting the Houston conference, a unique and sadly unheralded landmark in American history. Try to imagine the federal government today funding a gathering for delegations from every state to discuss, debate, argue, and agree or disagree on an expansive agenda of policies to advance women's status and rights! Fortunately, the authors have captured that unparalleled moment, providing a signpost to mark where women were in the Mad Men days and measuring the distance we've moved since then. -- Ruth B. Mandel, Rutgers University
This book is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the immense challenges faced by the organizers of the National Women's Conference and their creative responses that culminated in the most diverse and comprehensive attention to gender inequality in the United States. Its analysis of the conference goals and the degree to which they have been met is both sobering and inspiring. -- Susan Hartmann, Ohio State University
American Women on the Move is a behind-the-scenes account of the work of the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year that, from 1975 to 1978, played a central role in the modern women's movement. The commission, operating during the Ford and Carter presidencies, was tasked with producing recommendations for federal policy that would enhance the status of women in the United States. During Carter's presidency and under Bella Abzug's leadership, the commission and its staff organized the massive National Women's Conference of November 1977 at which thousands of delegates formulated a National Plan of Action in the glare of international publicity. As key staff members, Shelah Gilbert Leader and Patricia Rusch Hyatt know the inside story of these important events and the colorful characters involved, and they tell it fully and well. Anyone interested in women's history and/or political history will find the book fascinating. -- Marjorie J. Spruill, University of South Carolina

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