The Women's Movements of the United States and Western Europe

Consciousness, Political Opportunity, and Public Policy

Edited by Carol McClurg Mueller, and Mary Fainsod Katzenstein
Book Cover

PB: $29.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-012-5
Publication: Jul 92

HC: $37.95
EAN: 978-0-87722-463-1
Publication: Jun 87

366 pages
6 x 9

Fills a gap in feminist scholarship by focusing on women’s movements and the different opportunities their political environments provide


Although many of the social movements born in the 1960s and 1970s have expired, the feminist movement is one of the few survivors. Yet the relative infrequence of protests, demonstrations, and marches, the dissolution of the earlier consciousness-raising groups and the more audible self-criticism within the movement has signaled to some movement-watchers that contemporary feminism has spent its force. Obviously, there is a need to gauge exactly where the women’s movement stands today. This book seeks to fill a gap in feminist scholarship by focusing on the women’s movements and the different opportunities their political environments provide. Offering comparisons of the feminist movements in seven countries, the essays seek to assess the power and potential of the feminist movement in Western Europe and the United States.


"An excellent collection of papers covering the feminist movements in seven Western democracies (the United States, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Britain, West Germany and Sweden) at the beginning of the 1980s." —International Affairs

"The collection includes a variety of approaches and methods for examining the problems proposed by the editors, including descriptions of policymaking processes, elite interviewing, and opinion surveys. The various papers are all well-conceived.... A rare common perspective, or consciousness, (is) shared by the authors and indicates careful preparation by the editors."Women and Politics

Table of Contents

Introduction: Comparing the Feminist Movements of the United States and Western Europe: An Overview – Mary Fainsod Katzenstein

Part I: Changing Consciousness
1. The Diffusion of Consciousness in the United States and Western Europe – Ethel Klein
2. How Women Become Involved in the Women's Movement of the Netherlands – Martien Briët, Bert Klandermans, and Frederike Kroon
3. Changing Discourse, Changing Agendas: Political Rights and Reproductive Policies in France – Jane Jenson
4. Collective Consciousness, Identity Transformation, and the Rise of Women in Public Office in the United States – Carol McClurg Mueller

Part II: Political Parties and the Structure of Opportunity
5. Women's Struggle in a Workers' City: Feminist Movements in Turin – Judith Adler Hellman
6. Feminism and the Model of Militancy in an Italian Communist Federation: Challenges to the Old Style of Politics – Stephen Hellman
7. Response to Feminism in the Italian Parliament: Divorce, Abortion, and Sexual Violence Legislation – Karen Beckwith
8. Equality and Autonomy: Feminist Politics in the United States and West Germany – Myra Marx Ferree
9. Strategy and Tactics of the Women's Movement in the United States: The Role of Political Parties – Anne N. Costain and W. Douglas Costain
10. Whom You Know versus Whom You Represent: Feminist Influence in the Democratic and Republican Parties – Jo Freeman

Part III: The State and Feminist Policy Outcomes
11. Workers' Movements and Women's Interests: The Impact of Labor-State Relations in Britain and Sweden – Mary Ruggie
12. Social Movements "Success": A Comparative Analysis of Feminism in the United States and the United Kingdom – Joyce Gelb
13. Women Made a Difference: Comparable Worth in San Jose – Janet A. Flammang

About the Contributors

About the Author(s)

Mary Fainsod Katzenstein is Associate Professor of Government at Cornell University.

Carol McClurg Mueller is Associate Professor of Sociology at Arizona State University, West.


In the Series

  • Women in the Political Economy edited by Ronnie J. Steinberg

    No longer active. Women in the Political Economy, edited by Ronnie J. Steinberg, includes books on women and issues of work, family, social movements, politics, feminism, and empowerment. It emphasizes women's roles in society and the social construction of gender and also explores current policy issues like comparable worth, international development, job training, and parental leave.