History Theory

The Rights and Wrongs of Women

The Rights and Wrongs of WomenJuliet Mitchell, Ann Oakley (eds)Penguin Books1976

Are the rights of women any more recognized today than they ever were, and are their wrongs any less? The authors of this book – historians, sociologists, educationalists and literary critics – have, from many different political positions, set out to answer the question. Their contributions show that the world hjas changed but that the relative position of women in it has not. They show that from the days of Mary Wollstonecraft’s struggles, through to the work of Harriet Martineau and Simone de Beauvoir, little or nothing has happened. In education, work, even in the clearly female province of childbearing, male attitudes, male controls and male structures still rule the roost.

Liberal democracy has clearly made life easier; oppression and the responses to it have both become more subtle and that demand for subtlety is reflected in the differing responses from the authors. But throughout this carefully researched and excitingly written book, one message comes through clearly: whatever ‘sisterhood’ may come to mean, the women’s movement still has its greatest battle before it.

Table of Contents:

Introduction/Juliet Mitchell and Ann Oakley
1. Wisewoman and Medicine Man: Changes in the Management of Childbirth/Ann Oakley
2. Women’s Work in Nineteenth-Century London; A Study of the Years 1820-50/Sally Alexander
3. Women and Nineteenth-Century Radical Politics: A Lost Dimension/Dorothy Thompson
4. Landscape with Figures: Home and Community in English Society/Leonore Davidoff, Jean L’Esperance and Howard Newby
5. Femininity in the Classroom: An Account of Changing Attitudes/Pauline Marks
6. The Education of Girls Today/Tessa Blackstone
7. Woman and the Literary Text/John Goode
8. Women in American Trade Unions: An Historical Analysis/Rosalyn Baxandall
9. Looking Again at Engel’s ‘Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State’/Rosalind Delmar
10. Women in Revolutionary China/Delia Devin
11. The Rights and Wrongs of Women: Mary Wollstonecraft, Harrier Martineau, Simone de Beauvoir/Margaret Walters
12. Women and Equality/Juliet Mitchell

‘The Widow: I’, a woodcut by K├Ąthe Kollwitz from the ‘War’ series (1923)