Cover: Feminism’s Forgotten Fight: The Unfinished Struggle for Work and Family, from Harvard University PressCover: Feminism’s Forgotten Fight in HARDCOVER

Feminism’s Forgotten Fight

The Unfinished Struggle for Work and Family

Product Details


$35.00 • £30.95 • €31.95

ISBN 9780674986411

Publication Date: 11/05/2018


352 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

21 photos


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Uncovers the all-but-lost history of the women’s movement’s advocacy for mothers.—Alice B. Lloyd, The Weekly Standard

Chronicles in careful detail the efforts by feminist activists both male and female to remold the structures of family and work life that had historically contributed to a thankless and even punishing existence for most women.—Ashley Fetters, The Atlantic

Swinth’s point is that the history of post-WWII feminism is far more complex than today’s pundits make it out to be, and that we accept reductionist sloganeering at the risk of losing important lessons from our past… It achieves the goal of depicting a rich and varied movement, full of difference, diversity, and idealism.—Hans Rollmann, PopMatters

Swinth makes the case that second-wave feminism was never about ‘having it all’—it was about freeing women from the straitjacket of narrow gender roles and the economic penalties associated with all the unpaid labor that keeps society going.—Natalie Shure, Jacobin

Explores how and why our society is structured to make motherhood so hard… [Swinth] documents second-wave feminists’ push for systemic changes to marriage, the workweek, childcare, and welfare that would make being a parent, and a worker, more sustainable and rewarding… Illustrates that policy shifts just don’t happen without cultural shifts.—Rebecca Stoner, Pacific Standard

Swinth persuasively argues that second-wave feminists advocated work–family balance for women and changed the social fabric in ways that benefit them. This is a smart, nimble corrective history of a rousing fight for societal equality.Publishers Weekly

Swinth systematically dismantles the myths and stereotypes about second-wave feminism that pervade our culture. Based on rigorous and extensive research, her book traces the numerous ways that feminists of all stripes worked to fight the dilemmas facing working mothers.—Sara Evans, author of Tidal Wave: How Women Changed America at Century’s End

Mommy wars and lean-ins step aside! You have met your match in this sweeping, very readable book which recovers the lost feminist vision that equality requires structural transformation of both work and family to become real. Kirsten Swinth shows not only that ‘having it all’ was a myth but that ‘second wave’ feminists were not responsible for selling such an impossible dream to U.S. women during the last third of the twentieth century.—Eileen Boris, coauthor of Caring for America: Home Health Workers in the Shadow of the Welfare State

‘Have it all’ was a marketers’ slogan, not a feminist one. Instead, as Swinth describes in rich detail, women’s groups thoughtfully debated how to reorganize personal relationships and work arrangements in ways that were fair to women, men, children, and families of different racial and economic backgrounds. We might do well to revisit some of their ideas.—Stephanie Coontz, author of A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s

Swinth reveals the ‘having it all’ myth for what it truly is—a backlash against feminism masquerading as feminism. In its place, she unearths what feminists actually fought for, and sometimes, against great odds, achieved. Her brilliant reconstruction of the wide-ranging activism of 1960s and 1970s feminists rescues their work from contemporary parodies and enables it to serve, once again, as a template for the fairer world that we may yet achieve.—Beryl Satter, author of Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America

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