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Feminism Unfinished

Eschewing the conventional wisdom that places the origins of the American women’s movement in the nostalgic glow of the late 1960s, Feminism Unfinished traces the beginnings of this seminal American social movement to the 1920s, in the process creating an expanded, historical narrative that dramatically rewrites a century of American women’s history. Also challenging the contemporary “lean-in,” trickle-down feminist philosophy and asserting that women’s histories all too often depoliticize politics, labor issues, and divergent economic circumstances, Dorothy Sue Cobble, Linda Gordon, and Astrid Henry demonstrate that the post-Suffrage women’s movement focused on exploitation of women in the workplace as well as on inherent sexual rights. The authors carefully revise our “wave” vision of feminism, which previously suggested that there were clear breaks and sharp divisions within these media-driven “waves.” Showing how history books have obscured the notable activism by working-class and minority women in the past, Feminism Unfinished provides a much-needed corrective.

Dishing It Out:Waitresses and Their Unions in the Twentieth Century

Dishing It Out

"Rich in detail, studded with telling anecdotes, Dishing It Out is just as vivid and evocative as its title suggests. . . . This book speaks with clarity and good sense to the major debates in the history of work and gender and will become a landmark in our growing understanding of the relationships between the two."
-- Susan Porter Benson, author of Counter Cultures

"In this imaginative study of waitresses, work, and unionism, Cobble challenges us all to rethink the conventional wisdom about the relationship between craft unionism and the possibilities for women workers' collective action. Women's labor history will never be the same."
-- Ruth Milkman, author of Gender at Work: The Dynamics of Job Segregation by Sex during World War II

A volume in the series The Working Class in American History.

The Other Women's Movement

The Other Women's Movement

  • View the Table of Contents.
  • Read the praise for The Other Women's Movement.
  • Read the Abstract.
  • Read the Roundtable discussion. 
  • Philip Taft Book Prize for the Best Book Published in Labor History in 2005.
  • Honorable Mention, Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award for 2004.
  • A Choice Outstanding Academic Book for 2004. Princeton University’s Noteworthy Books in Industrial Relations List, 2004.
  • New Jersey Council for the Humanities Noteworthy Booklist, 2005.

American feminism has always been about more than the struggle for individual rights and equal treatment with men. There's also a vital and continuing tradition of women's reform that sought social as well as individual rights and argued for the dismantling of the masculine standard. In this much anticipated book, Dorothy Sue Cobble retrieves the forgotten feminism of the previous generations of working women, illuminating the ideas that inspired them and the reforms they secured from employers and the state. This socially and ethnically diverse movement for change emerged first from union halls and factory floors and spread to the "pink collar" domain of telephone operators, secretaries, and airline hostesses. From the 1930s to the 1980s, these women pursued answers to problems that are increasingly pressing today: how to balance work and family and how to address the growing economic inequalities that confront us. The Other Women's Movement traces their impact from the 1940s into the feminist movement of the present.

Women and Unions

Women and Unions

Fundamental economic and social transformations have catapulated women onto the front lines of social change. Women are the new proletariat worldwide and the contradictions women are articulating and experiencing now drive workplace reform. The needs of women workers will significantly inform the agenda of any successful labor movement of the future.

"There is no other collection of essays that covers the same range of topics, that has a union perspective, and that has been researched and written by such an outstanding assemblage of scholars and activists. The research has been comprehensive and conscientious, the analysis is sophisticated; the commentary is insightful." - Joyce L. Kornbluh, University of Michigan

"This volume is essential reading for anyone who cares about where our labor movement is heading and wants to help steer it in a direction which is consonant with the best of its traditions." - Roberta Till-Retz, University of Iowa

The Sex of Class:Women Transforming American Labor

Sex of Class

Women now comprise the majority of the working class. Yet this fundamental transformation has gone largely unnoticed. This book is about how the sex of workers matters in understanding the jobs they do, the problems they face at work, and the new labor movements they are creating in the United States and globally. In The Sex of Class, twenty prominent scholars, labor leaders, and policy analysts look at the implication of this “sexual revolution” for labor policy and practice.

In clear, crisp prose, The Sex of Class introduces readers to some of the most vibrant and forward-thinking social movements of our era: the clerical worker protests of the 1970s; the emergence of gay rights on the auto shop floor; the upsurge of union organizing in service jobs; worker centers and community unions of immigrant women; successful campaigns for paid family leave and work redesign; and innovative labor NGOs, cross-border alliances, and global labor federations. The Sex of Class reveals the animating ideas and the innovative strategies put into practice by the female leaders of the twenty-first-century social justice movement.

The contributors to this book offer new ideas for how government can help reduce class and sex inequalities; they assess the status of women and sexual minorities within the traditional labor movement; and they provide inspiring case studies of how women workers and their allies are inventing new forms of worker representation and power.

Monica Bielski Boris, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Eileen Boris, University of California, Santa Barbara
Dorothy Sue Cobble, Rutgers University
Marion Crain, University of North Carolina and the Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity
Nicola Dones, Labor Project for Working Families
Janice Fine, Rutgers University and the Center for Community Change
Netsy Firestein, Labor Project for Working Families
Heidi Hartmann, Institute for Women's Policy Research and George Washington University
Gerald Hunt, Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada)
Jennifer Klein, Yale University
Vicky Lovell, Institute for Women's Policy Research
Leslie McCall, Northwestern University
Ruth Milkman, University of California, Los Angeles
Karen Nussbaum, Working America, AFL-CIO
Maria Ontiveros, University of San Francisco School of Law
Katie Quan, University of California, Berkeley
Lydia Savage, University of Southern Maine
Vanessa Tait, University of California, Berkeley
Leah Vosko, York University (Toronto, Canada)
Misha Werschkul, SEIU