Feminism’s origins have often been framed around a limited cast of mostly white and educated foremothers, but the truth is that feminism has been and continues to be a global movement. For centuries, women from all walks of life have been mobilizing for gender justice. As the last decade has reminded even the most powerful women, there is nothing “post-feminist” about our world. And there is much to be learned from the passion and protests of the past.
Historian Lucy Delap looks to the global past to give us a usable history of the movement against gender injustice—one that can help clarify questions of feminist strategy, priority and focus in the contemporary moment. Rooted in recent innovative histories, the book incorporates alternative starting points and new thinkers, challenging the presumed priority of European feminists and ranging across a global terrain of revolutions, religions, empires and anti-colonial struggles.
In Feminisms, we find familiar stories—of suffrage, of solidarity, of protest—yet there is no assumption that feminism looks the same in each place or time. Instead, Delap explores a central paradox: feminists have demanded inclusion but have persistently practiced their own exclusions. Some voices are heard and others are routinely muted. In amplifying the voices of figures at the grassroots level, Delap shows us how a rich relationship to the feminist past can help inform its future.