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The first wave of feminism in the 19th and early 20th centuries was predominantly western, with US and British women starting to campaign for legal and political rights from the 1840s, and New Zealand and Australian women achieving the first successes in gaining votes for women in national and state elections. Feminism spread during the 19th century to other parts of the world: there were campaigning groups in Turkey, India and especially Japan before 1900. Feminist internationals created around the beginning of the 20th century (one specifically focused on the right to vote) had members in many parts of the world, although the organizations were western dominated. Many women in colonized countries focused their energies on the national liberation struggle, although political involvement could encourage activism on the rights of women. Huda Sharawi, who led a women’s demonstration in support of the nationalist struggle in Cairo in 1919 and became Egypt’s first prominent feminist and suffragist, epitomized this dual commitment. Radical and working class women often supported socialist movements, which endorsed in principle women’s rights, but gave priority to socialist goals; although prominent women could influence party agendas, as Alexandra Kollontai did in Russia in the early years after the Bolshevik Revolution. The first wave of feminist protest in the west helped create better education opportunities for girls and young women, and exerted pressure for legislative change. Feminist activism also included mass demonstrations and (by some in Britain and the US) forms of civil disobedience and direct action. Tactics such as chaining oneself to railings have been taken up by more recent movements.

The experiences of the first wave of feminism had parallels in the second wave which began at the end of the 1960s in English-speaking countries and parts of Europe. These protests occurred in a context where women had already won basic legal and political rights, but where they still faced many forms of legal or de facto discrimination at work, in the family and in their personal lives. The early protests were primarily by young middle class women and included brief symbolic actions to highlight particular issues: against beauty contests and products, and forms of direct action were later sometimes used in a number of countries to challenge restrictions on abortion, tolerance of rape, and promotion of pornography But the political strand of the movement focused primarily on political lobbying, sometimes supplemented by marches and rallies, or using the courts to achieve new rulings in favour of equality.

Although second wave feminism in the west was primarily a middle class movement, there were (as in the first wave) also significant expressions of militancy among working class women, notably in Britain. Many feminist pressure groups sprang up in the 1970s, and pre-existing ones were revitalized. But women’s liberation was also a social movement which grew partly out of the New Left, but criticized male chauvinism on the left. Although, as in its first manifestation, key demands were those of ‘liberal feminism’, e.g. equal pay, equality in the professions, the right to contraception and abortion, Marxists and/or radical feminists were also influential in the movements in many countries.

Second wave feminism’s roots in the 1960s were reflected in its emphasis on consciousness raising, sexual freedom and challenging dominant cultural and theoretical constructions of femininity. A new feminist literature arose, heralded by polemical and widely read books by authors such as Andrea Dworkin, Eva Figes, Shulamith Firestone, Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer, Kate Millet and Juliet Mitchell, and developed into a sustained critique of many academic disciplines.

Indeed one of the lasting impacts of the movement was the rise in feminist publishing and the creation of women’s studies or gender courses in many universities. There were also important feminist experiments in communal organization to complement protest: for example rape counseling centres and refuges for women subject to domestic violence, which often lasted well after protests had subsided and in some countries gained government funding.

Radical feminism was also associated with a strong commitment to an anti-hierarchical mode of organisation. These feminist views influenced many major environmentalist direct action campaigns in the west in the 1970s and campaigns against nuclear weapons in the 1980s (see Epstein, Political Protest and Cultural Revolution: Nonviolent Direct Action in the 1970s and 1980s (A. 6. Nonviolent Action and Social Movements) ).

During the 1980s in Britain and the USA the momentum of feminist campaigning subsided, although some significant new groups representing women in racial minorities emerged. The divisions between different ideological strands of the movements also became more marked. Committed radical feminism emerged in part of the nuclear disarmament movement, symbolized by the Greenham Common camp at the cruise missile base in England and by the Seneca Falls peace camp in the USA Since the rise of feminism in the 19th century, there has been a close (though complex and contested) link between feminist activists and peace movements (a number of feminists in all the combatant countries opposed the First World War), and feminist activism has also emerged in recent decades in protests against a number of wars (see F.5). Since the rise of the Green movement some feminists have also argued that women have a particular role in preserving the environment. This ‘ecofeminism’ has been expressed through theoretical analysis, for example by Vandana Shiva, (298 C.1.a.) as well as by protests, and by promoting constructive roles for women in their local contexts – for example Wangari Maathai’s campaign to plant trees (321 C 1.c.).

Although second wave feminism was waning in some western countries during the 1980s, in many other parts of the world feminism was gaining momentum, though often with different agendas reflecting varied political and cultural contexts. In some countries women have been struggling for the most basic rights. Women have also been active in many movements against repressive political rule, but have not been able to focus specifically on women’s rights until greater political freedom had been achieved. In Spain, for example, a campaign for legislative reform emerged after the death of Franco, whilst in South Africa, it has only been since the end of apartheid in 1994 that major feminist issues, such as violence against women, have come to the fore. The collapse of apartheid gave women an opportunity to influence the new constitution, and an alliance of women’s groups achieved a constitution embodying women’s rights.

In much of the Global South feminist activism was growing in the 1980s and 1990s, encouraged by the UN Decade for Women and its non-governmental conferences, which culminated in the 1985 Nairobi Forum. Established women’s organizations played an important part, but many new groups sprang up and had a prominent role. Feminism internationally was then given a substantial boost by the 1995 UN Conference on Women in Beijing. At an international level tensions had emerged between some western feminists and activists in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, sensitive to neo-imperialist attitudes and assumptions by western spokeswomen and aware of the complexity of their own history and contexts. But one key theme, on which all women were able to unite at Beijing, was that of violence against women, and other issues such as the importance of education and political representation were also unifying.

When feminist campaigning re-emerged in Britain and other western countries in the 21st century, it was part of a wider global movement and awareness of the struggles of women and girls in other parts of the world. This revived feminism has been reflected in the annual Billion Women Rising demonstrations, initiated in 1998; by 2013 protests by dancing women were held in 207 countries, and the protests have strengthened local activists and legislators in the UK and US as well as in countries as diverse as Guatemala and Somalia. Feminist activism in the 21st century is strongly influenced by the new social media: in the UK a number of campaigns have been coordinated by and expressed through the internet or Twitter. Whilst proving a powerful tool for mobilizing protest, the new media also provided widespread opportunities for targeting feminists with hate messages and threats, and revealed the strength of hostility towards women in the most apparently liberal, as well as the more obviously patriarchal, societies.

There is a large literature focusing on women’s general position in society, rather than on movements and protests. This wider literature is not covered here, although some books and chapters of course discuss both. Since this Guide focuses on post-1945 campaigning it does not cover the earlier history of feminism in any detail. But a few books providing a historical perspective on both western and non-western feminism are listed below:

Bouchier, David, The Feminist Challenge: The Movement for Women’s Liberation in Britain and the USA, London, Macmillan, 1983, pp. 252

Traces the course of the feminist movement from its beginnings at a meeting in Seneca Falls, USA, in 1848, through the campaign for voting rights in the early 20th century to the emergence of radical feminism in the 1960s and 1970s.

Cliff, Tony, Class Struggle and Women’s Liberation: 1640 to the Present Day, London, Bookmarks, 1984, pp. 271

Sweeping historical and transnational survey from a socialist standpoint, noting industrial action by working women and criticizing class base and focus of second wave American and British feminism.

Costain, Anne N., Women’s Movements and Nonviolence, PS: Political Science and Politics, Vol. 33, issue 2 (June), 2000, pp. 175-180

Discusses nonviolent direct action by US feminists in both early suffrage movement and the 1970s.

Jaywardina, Kumari, Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World, London, Zed Press (Third World Books), 1986, pp. 288

Study of women’s rights movements in Middle East and Asia from 19th century to 1980s, covering Egypt and Turkey, China, India, Indonesia, Korea and the Philippines. Argues feminism was not an alien ideology but indigenous to these countries.

Offen, Karen, Globalizing Feminisms, 1789-1945, London and New York, Routledge, 2010, pp. 472

Collection of essays providing a comparative history of women’s activism round the world.

Breines, Winifred, The Trouble Between Us: An Uneasy History of White and Black Women in the Feminist Movement, New York, Oxford University Press, 2007, pp. 280

Coote, Anna ; Campbell, Beatrix, Sweet Freedom: The Struggle for Women’s Liberation in Britain, London, Pan Books, 1982, pp. 258

Study of British movement since 1960s, legislative changes and political developments affecting women in work, the family, sex and culture. Chapter 1, pp. 9-47, charts the evolution of the movement in terms of key protests, campaigns and organization, including some examples of nonviolent action.

Duchen, Clare, Feminism in France from May 1968 to Mitterand, London, Routledge, 1986, pp. 165

Chapter 1, ‘Beginnings’ examines role of women in May 1968 and the emergence of the Mouvement de Liberation des Femmes in 1970, laying of a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier to commemorate his wife (leading to arrests), support for women strikers (e.g. in a hat factory in Troyes) and the 5th April 1971 Manifesto by 343 prominent women who had resorted to illegal abortions. Later chapters explore ideological divisions within the movement, theoretical issues and the relationship of feminists to socialist government in France.


Evans, Sara, Personal Politics: The Roots of Women’s Liberation in the Civil Rights Movement and the New Left, New York, Vintage, 1980, pp. 288

Using her personal experience the author examines how women were dismayed by their treatment in radical movements, and how they turned their activist skills to feminist campaigning.

Freeman, Jo, The Politics of Women’s Liberation, New York, Longman, 1975, pp. 268

Examines the evolution of second wave feminism in the USA from the early protests.

Gelb, Joyce, Feminism and Political Action, In Dalton, Russel J.; Kuechler, Manfred , Challenging the Political Order: New Social and Political Movements in Western Democracies Oxford, Oxford University Press, , 1990, pp. 137-156

Comparing the US, British and Swedish movements.

Malagreca, Miguel, Lottiamo Ancora: Reviewing One Hundred and Fifty Years of Italian Feminism, Journal of International Women's Studies, Vol. 7, issue 4 (May), 2006, pp. 69-89

Includes material on the second wave of Italian feminism in 1960s and 1970s and developments on divorce, family law and employment law in the 1970s and 1980s, Ends with some discussion of lesbian and queer struggles for recognition.

Ryan, Barbara, Feminism and the Women’s Movement: Dynamics of Change in Social Movement Ideology and Activism, New York, Routledge, 1992, pp. 272

After looking at earlier history of US feminism, examines 2nd wave and in particular the mobilization around the Equal Rights Act passed in 1975; also explores ideological divisions within the movement.

Steinem, Gloria, My Life On The Road, London, One World Publications , 2016, pp. 310

Autobyography of Gloria Steinem, journalist and prominent activist in feminist campaigns in the USA from the 1960s onward, who was also one of the foundersof Ms Magazine. It provides detailed insights into the early feminist ways of orgsanizing and protesting, and the internal politics of the movement. the book also covers Steinem's earlier two years in India and contact with the Gandhian movement, her links with Native American women, and her continued actvism in varied causes. 

Threlfall, Monica, The Women’s Movement in Spain, New Left Review, issue 151 (May/June), 1985, pp. 44-73

Discusses post-Franco development of feminist movement and legislative results.

Wilson, Elizabeth, What Is to be Done about Violence Against Women?, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1983, pp. 256

Chapter 6, ‘Feminists fight back’ (pp.169-224) covers the protests in Britain against male violence, and also constructive organizational responses and the campaign for legal change and challenges to prevailing attitudes.

This sub-section covers a number of significant strikes by women in Britain. The best known is the 1968 strike at Ford Dagenham by women machinists demanding equal pay with men doing jobs of equivalent skill, which helped to achieve the Labour government’s Equal Pay Act of 1970. The Grunwick strike by Asian immigrant women in 1976-77 against very low pay and enforced overtime was (although ultimately unsuccessful) a landmark in mobilizing white male workers in support of immigrants and gaining widespread sup port, for examples from MPs. There were other strikes by women in very badly paid work, such as cleaners. In addition, wives and mothers of miners engaged in the major 1984 strike became actively involved on the picket lines and in providing practical support, and in the process gained a new sense of empowerment.

Alexander, Sally, The Nightcleaners, In Allen, Sandra ; Sanders, Lee ; Wallis, Jan , Conditions of Illusion: Papers from the Women's Movement Leeds, Feminist Books, , 1974, pp. 309-325

See also: ‘Striking Progress’ a list of strikes involving women 1973-74, pp. 332-48.

Bohanna, John, Finally Making the Grade, Red Pepper, issue Dec/Jan, 2011, pp. 54-55

Recalls that the 1968 Ford Dagenham strike for equal pay, although it achieved a substantial pay rise and eventual parity with men on the same grade, did not recognise the skilled nature of the sewing-machinists work by upgrading them. Provides brief account of later 1984 strike by women machinists demanding upgrading, which led to an independent inquiry, which recognised their claim. A film Making the Grade by the Open Eye Film, Video and Animation Workshop documents this second struggle.

Dromey, Jack, Grunwick: The Workers’ Story, London, Lawrence and Wishart, 1978, pp. 207

The author was secretary of Brent Trades Council in London when the non-unionised women strikers at the mail-order plant contacted him for help in 1976, and became a member of the strike committee. He also wrote an obituary of the inspirational leader of the strike, Jayaben Desia, when she died 23 December 2010 (Guardian, 29 Dec 2010, p.30). (For a celebration of Desia’s role and life see also Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, ‘Remembering an unsung heroine of our modern history’, Independent, 3 Jan 2011, p.5.)

Friedman, Henry ; Meredeen, Sander, The Dynamics of Industrial Conflict: Lessons from Ford, London, Croom Helm, 1980, pp. 386

This is an account and analysis of the 1968 Ford Dagenham women sewing machinists’ strike by two men on opposing sides (trade union convener of plant and Ford negotiating team) involved in the dispute. A lively semi-fictionalized account of the dispute from the women’s viewpoint is the 2010 film ‘Made in Dagenham’.

Miller, Jill, You Can’t Kill the Spirit: Women in a Welsh Mining Village, London, Women's Press, 1987, pp. 177

Rogaly, Joe, Grunwick, Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1977, pp. 199

Account by journalist who gave prominent coverage to the women’s struggle during the strike.

Stead, Jean, Never the Same Again: Women and the Miners’ Strike, London, Women's Press, 1987, pp. 177

See also:

University of Leeds, Striking Women: Resources, for list of articles and books relating to Grunwick.
Audrey Gillan, I was always told I was thick. The strike taught me I wasn'tThe Guardian, Audrey Gillian talking to 1984 activist Betty Cook looking back after 20 years.

Under Soviet-style Socialism women appeared to enjoy rights that women in the west were demanding: for example in higher education and at work, access to affordable child care and the right to maternity leave, and abortion. However they were noticeably under-represented in politics, on average paid less well than men (tending to have less skilled jobs), and patriarchal attitudes meant that women had to undertake all the burdens of shopping, housework and child-rearing in addition to employment outside the home. There was also concern that abortion was used in lieu of contraception, and women were expected to return to work after paid maternity leave, although in the 1960s and 1970s some countries introduced unpaid maternity leave for up to a year and/or child allowances. The possibility of expressing feminist criticisms was limited by the stringent controls on any autonomous protest – a very small feminist group in the USSR in the 1980s immediately came under KGB surveillance. Moreover when in the post- Stalinist era dissent began to emerge, active women were likely to focus on basic human rights rather than women’s issues, although in the ferment of the late 1980s feminist issues began to be voiced. A stronger feminism existed in the GDR in the 1980s, where it tended to be linked to peace issues.

Since 1989 the economic, political and cultural situation has changed radically, and also varies between countries, for example in the political power of the Orthodox or Catholic Churches. In Russia in particular women’s position rapidly worsened: as a result of the new market economy (and ensuing economic chaos, poverty and rise in criminality), many more women than men became unemployed and women’s average wages had by 1995 dropped to 40% of men’s (compared with 70% in the Soviet era). Businesses openly advertised for secretaries who were ‘young, blonde, long-legged and without inhibitions’; and rates for the rape and murder of women soared between 1991 and the mid-1990s.

Feminist organizations emerged in the 1990s in Russia and in other parts of the former Communist bloc, for example to provide aid to raped and battered women, and to promote women’s representation in politics. In the second decade of the 21st century small but well-publicized radical groups like Pussy Riot have challenged the authorities.

Bull, Anna ; Diamond, Hanna ; Marsh, Rosalind, Feminisms and Women’s Contemporary Movements, London, Macmillan, 2000, pp. 286

Covers Europe in the 1990s, including essays on ‘Theorizing Feminism in Postcommunism’, ‘Something Unnatural: Attitudes to Feminism in Russia’, ‘New Mothers’ Campaigning Organization in Russia’, ‘”Its about Helping women to Believe in Themselves”: Grassroots Women’s Organizations in Contemporary Russian Society’ and ‘Women’s Discordant Voices in the Context of the 1998 Elections in the Ukraine’.

Einhorn, Barbara, Socialist Emancipation: The Women’s Movement in the GDR, In Kruks, Sonia ; Rapp, Rayna ; Young, Marilyn B., Promissory Notes: Women in the Transition to Socialism New York, Monthly Review Press, , 1989,

Einhorn, Barbara, Feminism in Crisis: The East German Women’s Movement in the “New Europe”, Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 41, issue 1 (April), 1999, pp. 14-28

Femen, ; Ackerman, Galia, Femen, Cambridge, Polity Press, 2014, pp. 240

Femen was founded in the Ukraine in 2008 by four women to protest against patriarchy embodied in dictatorship, religion and the sex industry. Their well publicised bare-breasted protests have included a dangerous demonstration in Belarus and opposition to President Putin. They have moved to France and this book was first published in French. A film ‘Ukraine is not a Brothel’ claimed that Femen’s protests were orchestrated and the women controlled by a male svengali. This claim is addressed in an addendum to the English version of the book.

Feminist Review, Issue on 'Post-Communism', no. 76, Feminist Review, 2004

The editorial comments on key changes for women in the transition from Communism: political representation had dropped; more women were overrepresented among the unemployed; socialist reproductive rights were being challenged; women’s domesticity promoted as a virtue; and pornography and marketing of women’s bodies seen as ‘freedom’. Women were also more vulnerable to various sorts of violence, including sexual harassment at work, domestic violence and sex trafficking.

Funk, Nanette, Feminism in Former East Germany, Dissent, issue (Spring), 1992, pp. 152-156

Gessen, Masha, Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot, Riverhead Books, 2014, pp. 308

Discusses roots of the group founded in 2011 and their international support, especially among musical celebrities, after their 2012 demonstration in Moscow Cathedral, leading to imprisonment of the three involved. See also:  Pussy Riot, Pussy Riot!: A Punk Prayer For Freedom London, Feminist Press, , 2013, pp. 152 , including letters from prison, court statements, poems and tributes by international admirers.

Graff, Agnieszka, A Different Chronology: Reflections on Feminism in Contemporary Poland, In Gillis; Howie; Munford, Third Wave Feminism: A Critical Exploration (F.4.a. The Third Wave of the 1990s-2000s), New York, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 142-165

Argues ‘wave’ chronology does not apply to Poland.

Guenther, Katja, Making Their Place: Feminism after Socialism in Eastern Germany, Palo Alto CA, Stanford University Press, 2010, pp. 262

Examines feminist activism in two East German cities, Erfurt and Rostock, in context of economic and political upheaval in former socialist bloc, and the trends undermining the rights and status of women.

Haug, Friga, The End of Socialism in Europe: A New Challenge for Socialist Feminism, Feminist Review, issue 39, 1991

Holland, Barbara, Soviet Sisterhood: British Feminists on Women in the USSR, Bloomington IN, Indiana University Press and Fourth Estate, 1986, pp. 272

Includes chapter by Alix Holt, ‘The First Soviet Feminists’ on Leningrad group associated with The Almanach: ‘Women and Russia’ and their club ‘Maria’.

Jancar, Barbara, The New Feminism in Yugoslavia, In Ramet, Pedro ; Martin, Chris ; Hopken, Wolfgang , Yugoslavia in the 1980s Boulder CO, Westview Press, , 1985,

Mamonova, Tatyana, Women and Russia: Feminist Writings from the Soviet Union, Boston MA, Beacon Press, 1984, pp. 272

Mamonova and three others in the group were forced into exile by the KGB.

Marsh, Rosalind, Polish feminism in an east-west context, Women Writing Online, issue 1, 2009, pp. 26-48

Martens, Lorna, The Promised Land: Feminist Writing in the German Democratic Republic, New York, State University of New York Press, 2001, pp. 273

Writings by prominent intellectuals, including Christa Wolf, exploring how far the GDR gave women the equality it proclaimed.

Molyneux, Maxine, The “Woman Question” in the Age of Perestroika, New Left Review, issue 183, 1990, pp. 23-49

Useful overall summary analysis of changing position of women in communist (and post-communist) countries (including China), with detailed references.

Posadskaya, Anastasia, Women in Russia: A New Era of Russian Feminism, London, Verso, 1994, pp. 256

Study spanning women’s position in Tsarist Russia, th e Communist period and immediate aftermath of dissolution of USSR.

Racioppi, Linda ; Lee, Katherine O'Sullivan, Women’s Activism in Contemporary Russia, Philadelphia PA, Temple University Press, 1997, pp. 277

The opening chapters provide historical context, but the focus of the book is on interviews with leading activists, representing the great variety of ideological standpoints and concerns, to develop an analysis of feminism since the later 1980s.

Renne, Tanya, Ana’s Land: Sisterhood in Eastern Europe, Boulder CO, Westview Press, 1997, pp. 256

Includes over 30 contributions from nine countries indicating women’s activism on issues such as reproduction, health and abortion, political and legal change and violence against women.

Western feminism had some impact on women in other parts of the world, even though the western feminist agendas (and the style of protest and rhetoric) often had little relevance to the most pressing problems of women in very different social circumstances.

Western feminist scholars could also be criticized for misunderstanding feminist struggle in other continents and cultures: see for example: Oyewumi, Oyeronke , African Women and Feminism: Reflecting on the Politics of Sisterhood Trenton NJ , Africa World Press, , 2004, pp. 282 .

The strength of feminist groups around the world has varied considerably, depending on the political context, the social, cultural and religious obstacles they had to overcome, and how far there was an earlier history of women’s political activism, although feminism could emerge in very repressive contexts, as in Afghanistan in the 1950s and 1970s. In Latin America there were lively women’s movements in the 1970s and Latin American and Caribbean feminists began to meet regularly at a regional level in 1981. In China feminist protest is constrained by lack of political freedom; in India women do have democratic freedoms and have been campaigning on women’s issues for decades, but as the brutal gang rape and murder of a woman student in Delhi in December 2012, and also the ‘dowry deaths’ of young brides, have illustrated, women in India are threatened by alarming levels of public and sometimes family violence. The position of women in the Middle East has been mixed; women were often prominent in the 2011 Arab uprisings, but also vulnerable to public violence, as in Egypt. In conservative monarchical Saudi Arabia women taking part in a campaign of driving cars on 22 May 2012 were committing an act of civil disobedience; but (after several women challenged their lack of a vote) the King decided in September 2011 to allow women to vote and to stand in municipal elections.

Local and national campaigns have often gained publicity and support from transnational feminist organizations and networks created since the 1980s. These bodies often lobby at the level of the UN and issue policy documents, but many also offer solidarity through transnational conferences, training institutes, research resources, spreading news, issuing action alerts, supporting demonstrations or offering practical help. They also often cooperate with other transnational feminist organizations. For more information and details of current action by a few of these organizations with varied agendas, see:

  • DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era) founded in 1984 to assess crises faced by women and impact of neoliberalism:
  • SIGI (Sisterhood Is Global Institute) created in 1984 as ‘the first international feminist think tank’:
  • WEDO (Women’s Environment and Development Organization) campaigning for ‘a just world, human rights, gender equality and the integrity of the environment’, which supported People’s Climate Change March September 2014 in New York:
  • WLUML (Women Living Under Muslims Laws) is ‘an international solidarity network with groups in about 40 countries and reaching over 110 countries that provides information, support and a collective space’ for women seeking their rights and challenging repressive interpretations of Islam. Their website, available in Arabic, French and English, is:

A recent feminist declaration which has reached a global audience is by the admired Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, author of Half of a Yellow Sun, who debunks stereotypes about feminists and argues feminism is relevant to all women:

  • Adiche, Chimamanda Ngozi, We Should All Be Feminists Fourth Estate, , 2014, pp. 64 . Adapted from her 2013 Tedx talk available on You Tube, and also used in a recording by Beyonce.
Ahmed, Leila, Feminism and Feminist Movements in the Middle East: a Preliminary Exploration, Women' Studies International Forum, Vol. 5, 1982, pp. 153-168

Ahmed, Leila, A Quiet Revolution, Newhaven CT, Yale University Press, 2012, pp. 360

Discusses reasons for the resurgence of veil-wearing among Muslim women, and the social and political implications. Argues (contrary to author’s own earlier position) that Islamists rather than secularists often prominent in struggle for social justice and women’s rights.

Al-Sharmani, Mulki, Feminist Activism, Women’s Rights and Legal Reform, London, Zed Books, 2013, pp. 200

Explores both attempts at legal reform and those reforms achieved in Islamic countries (Palestine, Yemen, Iran and Egypt) and problems of implementing reform, for example the domestic violence law in Ghana.

Alpizar, Lydia ; Duran, Anahi ; Garrido, Anali Russo, Building Feminist Movements: Global Perspectives, London, Zed Books, 2006, pp. 288

The chapters cover a wide range of countries and issues, including: The Korean Women’s Trade Union, the feminist movement in Indonesia, the Algerian ‘Twenty Years is Enough’ campaign, widening the base of the feminist movement in Pakistan, advocacy of women’s rights in Nigeria, re-politicizing feminist activity in Argentina, new modes of organizing in Mexico, and two chapters on Israel, one on an Arab women’s organization.

Alvarez, Sonia E., Advocating Feminism: The Latin American Feminist NGO “Boom”, International Feminist Journal of Politics, Vol. 2, issue 1, 1999, pp. 181-209

Basu, Amrita, The Challenge of Local Feminisms: Women’s Movements in Global Perspective, Boulder CO, Westview Press, 1995, pp. 510

Worldwide overview, but with especial focus on postcolonial states in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Chang, Doris, Women’s Movements in Twentieth Century Taiwan, Champaign IL, University of Illinois Press, 2009, pp. 248

Discusses mixed fortunes of women’s movement in changing political contexts, and how Taiwanese women made selective use of western feminist theory.

Chaudhuri, Maitrayee, Feminism in India, London, Zed Books, 2005, pp. 416

Collection of essays by academics and activists on condition of women in colonial and independent India, and the challenges to Indian feminism from globalization and the Hindu Right. Indicates a vigorous if uneven women’s movement over several decades.

Fiedler, Rachel Nyagondwe ; Hofmeyr, Johannes Wynand, The Conception of Concerned African Women Theologians: Is it African or Western?, Acta Theologica, Vol. 31, issue 1, 2011, pp. 39-57

Discusses origins in 1988 of an Africa-wide group that promotes theological debates between Christians, Muslims, Jews and adherents of African religions, gives African women a voice through numerous publications and has focused on social issues such as the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS. For background and current information:

Loonba, Ania ; Lukose, Ritty A., South Asian Feminisms, Durham NC, Duke University Press, 2012, pp. 432

Building on 40 years of activism and scholarship, contributors assess recent feminist issues and campaigns in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Lynn, Stephen, Women and Social Movements in Latin America: Power from Below, Austin TX, University of Texas Press, 1997, pp. 352

Covers six cases of grassroots activism in Mexico, El Salvador, Brazil and Chile, which use interviews with activists and provide histories of organizations and movements involved. The activists are concerned with economic and health issues, but also stress problems relating to contraception and abortion, rape and domestic violence.

Moghadam, Valentine, Globalizing Women: Transnational Feminist Networks, Baltimore MD, John Hopkins University Press, 2005, pp. 272

Explores pressures of globalization on women and reactions against it and rise of transnational networks, such as DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era), WEDO (Women’s Economic and Development Organization), SIGI (Sisterhood is Global Institute) and WLUML (Women Living Under Muslim Laws).

Molyneux, Maxine, Mobilization without Emancipation? Women’s Interests, the State and Revolution in Nicaragua, Feminist Studies, Vol. 11, issue 2, 1985, pp. 227-252

Morgan, Robin, Sisterhood is Global: The International Women’s Movement Anthology, [1984], New York, City University of New York Feminist Press, 1996, pp. 821

Anthology of essays and documents from women in 70 countries round the world, especially the Global South. Authors are a mix of well known and less well known grass roots activists, politicians and scholars. A global strategy meeting organized to mark publication in 1984 led to the creation of the Sisterhood Is Global Institute (SIGI).

Naples, Nancy A. ; Desai, Manisha, Women’s Activism and Globalization: Linking Local Struggles and Transnational Politics, London and New York, Routledge, 2002, pp. 352

Focuses on women’s inequalities in rural and urban areas, and considers forms of organization and solidarity across borders. Includes a study of women activists in Mali.

Pietila, Hikka ; Vickers, Jeanne, Making Women Matter: The Role of the United Nations, (3rd edition), London, Zed Books, 1996, pp. 224

Assesses critically UN attempts to improve the position of women over half a century.

Salime, Zakia, Between Feminism and Islam: Human Rights and Sharia Law in Morocco, Minneapolis MN, University of Minnesota Press, 2011, pp. 248

Study of both feminist and Islamist organizations in Morocco showing how two have influenced each other’s agendas through decades of activism.

Sternbach, Nancy Saporta ; Navarro-Aranguren, Marysa ; Chuchryk, Patricia ; Alvarez, Sonia E., Feminisms in Latin America: From Bogota to San Bernado, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol. 17, issue 2, 1992, pp. 393-434

Stienstra, Deborah, Making Global Connections Among Women, In Cohen; Rai, Global Social Movements (A. 6. Nonviolent Action and Social Movements), London, Athlone Press, pp. 62-82

Discusses the significance of UN Conferences on Women and the role of both established and newly created women’s organizations in relation to them and the wider movement.

Tripp, Aili Mari, African Women’s Movements: Transforming Political Landscapes, Changing Political Landscapes, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2009, pp. 280

Focuses on Cameroon, Uganda and Mozambique within wider African context.

Woodward, Alison E. ; Bonvin, Jean-Michel ; Renom, Merce, Transforming Gendered Well-Being in Europe, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2011, pp. 308

Primarily examines role of women activists. Part I includes some historical studies from 18th and 19th centuries. But Part II covers period from 1970s -2000s in Netherlands and Poland and examines claims and projects of European movement. Part III examines how women’s movements have embraced global issues and role of minority groups within Europe.

Some brave individuals and movements challenging profound inequalities have caught the attention of mainstream or leftist media and feminists, and therefore have been written about in English. Some accounts are very brief. New Internationalist has published several short accounts of women activists: for example: Mathews, Dylan , Interview with The Rescue Foundation: Liberating Sex Slaves in India New Internationalist, 2006, pp. 33-33 ; New Internationalist, Durga Sob: Nepal’s trailblazing Dalit feminist New Internationalist, 2010, pp. 33-32 ; ‘Making Waves: Interview with Rosi Orozco.on the Fight against Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation in Mexico’ by President of the Special Commission in the Combat of Sexual Trafficking (November 2011, p. 56 - not online); ‘Interview with Khanim Latif’, Iraqi feminist campaigner and director of Kurdistan-based women’s rights organization Asuda (December 2012, p. 42 - not online) A few book length studies are listed below.

Brodsky, Anne E., With All Our Strength: The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, London, Routledge, 2004, pp. 336

Account of feminist organization founded in 1977, which uses literacy classes, underground papers and pamphlets and demonstrations, based on more than 100 interviews with key activists by author, a US feminist scholar. The founder of the Association, who left university in Kabul to struggle for women’s rights, was assassinated in 1987.

Fontanella-Khan, Amana, Pink Sari Revolution: A Tale of Women and Power in India, Oxford, W.W. Norton and One World Publications, 2013, pp. 304

Describes Sampat Pal and the now 20,000 strong Pink Gang she founded, which uses ‘social power’ to defend individual women treated unjustly and to challenge misogyny in general, The women carry sticks and sometimes attack corrupt politicians and policemen. See also: Pal, Sampan ; Berthod, Anne , Warrior in a Pink Sari New Delhi, Zubaan Books, , 2012, pp. 220

Joya, Malalai, Raising My Voice: Story of the Afghan Woman Who Spoke Out, London, Rider, 2010, pp. 288

Explores life of young woman who secretly ran schools for girls in Herat during Taliban rule, was elected to the Afghan parliament in 2005 at the age of 23, but was thrown out of it for raising women’s issues, and who had by 2009 already survived five assassination attempts. When she visited Britain in 2009, where she opposed NATO involvement in Afghanistan, the Independent ran a long interview with her:  Hari, Johann , Malalai Joya: The woman who will not be silenced The Independent, 28/07/2009, pp. 1-5 .

Mam, Somaly, The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine, New York, Random House Circle, 2009, pp. 224

Memoir by a Cambodian activist against sexual slavery, whose organizations have tried to rescue, shelter and teach girls and women escaping from sexual exploitation in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and more generally. She received high level international support, but the credibility of her claims to have been sent to a brothel as a child, and of her most lurid examples of abuse in the sex industry, was challenged in a Newsweek report, 21 May 2014. An interview and report in Marie Claire 16 September 2014 in turn queried some of the allegations and interpretations of the Newsweek story. Mam is still involved in campaigning and fund raising, but controversy continues about her role, management of her campaigns, and the extent of exploitation in the sex industry.

Yousafzai, Malala ; Lamb, Christine, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban, London, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 2013, pp. 288

The schoolgirl Pakistani campaigner for girls’ education who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 tells her story.

In the 1990s and at the turn of the millenium many young women in countries where they enjoyed full access to education, formal equal rights at work and personal freedom seemed to turn against the feminism of the second wave. Some who still believed feminism was important reassessed its relevance to their times and articulated a set of ideas usually labelled ‘third wave feminism’. This was primarily a theoretical tendency, influenced by postmodernism, arguing that ‘women’ could not be understood as a single category and stressing the diverse identities and experiences of women. The third wave also rejected what it saw as the sexual puritanism of the ‘second wave’, engaged with popular culture, including its projections of ‘strong’ women, and tended to prioritise narratives of personal experience. This theoretical strand did reflect a real trend for diverse groups to organize under the banner of feminism – for example African American women in the USA, and some writings explored the position of lesbians and transgenders. But third wave feminism was not primarily a call to action, unlike the ‘fourth’ wave of activism, embracing a new generation of young women, that came to the fore by the second decade of the 21st century.

Findlen, Barbara, Listen Up: Voices from the Next Feminist Generation, [1995], (expanded edition), Settle, Seal, 2001, pp. 300

Collection featuring writers and activists – including Rebecca Walker, Nomy Lama and Inga Musci – and editors of several women’s periodicals – discussing range of issues.

Gillis, Stacy ; Howie, Gillian ; Munford, Rebecca, Third Wave Feminism: A Critical Exploration, (expanded 2nd edition), New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2007, pp. 344

Wide range of theoretical perspectives organized in 3 parts: Generations and Genealogies; Locales and Locations; Politics and Popular Culture. Part II includes essays on ‘Imagining Feminist Futures: The Third Wave, Postfeminism and Eco/feminism’ by N. Moore, and ‘Global Feminism, Transnational Political Economies, Third World Cultural Production’ by W. Woodhull.

Heywood, Leslie ; Drake, Jennifer, Third Wave Agenda: Being Feminist, Doing Feminism, Minneapolis MN, University of Minnesota Press, 1997, pp. 232

Wide range of theoretical perspectives organized in 3 parts: Generations and Genealogies; Locales and Locations; Politics and Popular Culture. Part II includes essays on ‘Imagining Feminist Futures: The Third Wave, Postfeminism and Eco/feminism’ by N. Moore, and ‘Global Feminism, Transnational Political Economies, Third World Cultural Production’ by W. Woodhull.

Snyder, Claire, What is Third Wave Feminism? A New Directions Essay, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Vol. 34, issue 1 (Autumn), 2008, pp. 175-196

Clear critical analysis of third wave feminism, which also provides a list of relevant texts

By 2010 there was evidence of a feminist revival in many parts of the west. In the USA Jennifer Siebel Newsom made the documentary film ‘Miss Representation’ challenging the representation of women in the mainstream media, where very few women hold positions of power, and US students joined Campus Rising, protesting against the high levels of violence experienced by women on university campuses and demanding greater safety. In Italy women began to demonstrate in large numbers against the sexism epitomized by Silvio Berlusconi’s government and promoted by his mass media.

Another manifestation of this feminist consciousness is the SlutWalk Movement, which began in North America but rapidly spread to much of Europe and Australia, but also to Latin America, Asia (e.g. India and South Korea) and to Northern Africa and South Africa. The movement was sparked by a Canadian police officer telling university students that to avoid rape they should not dress like ‘sluts’. The first ‘Slut Walk’ in Toronto April 2011 attracted several thousand protesters, and was followed by Walks in many other cities in 2011 and continued into 2012 and 2013. The movement developed into a wider challenge not only to sexual violence and harassment but patriarchal attitudes and culture, and it has been supported by members of the LGBT community. But it has been criticized, for example by Black Women’s Blueprint in the US and by some feminists doubtful about the message conveyed.

A significant and succesful feminist campaign has taken place in Spain, where women have been priminent in challenging the worst effects of the recession (see A.8.b on Indignados) they faced in 2013 by the decision by the governement to amend in a pejortive way the Organic Law 2/2010  on Sexual and Reproductive Health and the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy. According to this law, abortion may be legally performed within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy at the woman’s request, provided that the woman has been fully informed of her rights and about public benefits and assistance for maternal support, and has waited for a three-day period to pass between the provision of this information and the abortion procedure.

Also, abortions may be legally performed up to 22 weeks for medical reasons, such as after a prior medical assessment issued by a physician other than the one performing the abortion that the pregnancy poses a serious risk to the life or health of the woman (the assessment requirement may be waived in urgent cases); a prior medical assessment issued by two specialist physicians other than the one performing the abortion that there is a serious risk of fetal abnormalities; or following the confirmation by a clinical committee of a report issued by a specialist physician other than the one performing the abortion that the fetus has abnormalities incompatible with life or an extremely serious or incurable illness. All abortion procedures must be performed by a specialist physician or under his or her direction in a public or accredited private hospital, with the written consent of the pregnant woman or her legal representative. Parental consent is required only for girls younger than 16 years of age.  Girls aged sixteen and seventeen have access to abortion but are required to notify at least one parent or legal guardian.  Notification is not required if the teen believes it would result in domestic violence, threats, coercion, abuse, or a situation of estrangement or helplessness.

In 2013, the right wing Partido Popular (or Popular Party), close to the Catholic Church, proposed to restrict radically the right to abortion that they had gained earlier. The practice would only be lawful in the case of rape or when there was a serious (but as yet undefined) health risk to the mother or the fetus. The likelihood of a child being born with disabilities would not be an acceptable justification for abortion. Moreover, women under 18 would require parental consent and parental accompaniment during relevant consultations. Those seeking abortion in Spain would need approval from two independent doctors who would not be permitted to participate in the actual procedure. 

Women protested vigorously, including queues to register symbolically their bodies as their own property, and gained support from some regional and municipal bodies. The Justice Minister initially insisted this manifesto commitment would be kept, but later In September 2014, PM Mariano Rajoy announced that the government would abandon the draft law due to lack of consensus, and that the only reform to the law 2/2010 would be that the government will seek is that 16 and 17-year-old women will require parental consent to have an abortion. In fact, political discussions on abortion law are still being discussed, particularly in regards to parental consent to under 18's, and so it may be subject to change in the future.

For more information on abortion in Spain, these links give a short but comprehensive illustration of the issue:;;

Alongside this revival of feminism, groups representing minorities within western countries, who began to assert their special interests and perspectives in the 1980s, are campaigning on a range of national and global issues, For example, London’s first young poet laureate, Warsan Shire, wrote a poem in February 2014 supporting the campaign against female genital mutilation.

Although this section focuses in particular on the UK, where a surprisingly vigorous array of campaigning groups has sprung up, this rebirth of feminist campaigning around the West is beginning to promote a new literature which has a global dimension and it will be made available whether and when it will be published.

Aune, Kristin ; Redfern, Catherine, Reclaiming the F Word: Feminism Today, [2010], A reprint with a new Preface of their 2010 book: Reclaiming the F Word: The New Feminist Movement, London, Zed Books, 2013, pp. 244

Based on a survey of over 1000 feminists discusses revitalized movement, the areas in which change is necessary, and how to struggle for change. International perspective but especial focus on UK.

Barnard, Kat, The Equality Illusion: The Truth about Women and Men Today, London, Faber and Faber, 2011, pp. 320

In 2012 Barnard founded UK Feminista, which gives support and training to local activists, and together with Object began the campaign in 2013 Lose the Lads’ Mags. Her book argues that feminism is still very necessary in the light of continuing inequality at work, prevalence of sexual harassment, rape and domestic violence, and treatment of women’s bodies in magazines, lap dancing clubs and on the internet. UK Feminista offers workshops for schools:

Carr, Joetta L., The Slutwalk Movement: A Study in Transnational Activism, Journal of Feminist Scholarship, issue 4 (Spring), 2013, pp. 24-37

North American initiative, but taken up in Britain and transnationally.

Cochrane, Kira, All the Rebel Women: The Rise of the Fourth Wave of Feminism, London, Guardian Books, 2013, pp. 71

See also her article Cochrane, Kira , The fourth wave of feminism: meet the rebel women The Guardian, 10/12/2013

Describes wide range of feminist activities and groups (both established like the Fawcett Society, and new) and wider attitudes to feminism in mainstream organizations such as Girl Guides and Mumsnet.

Feminist Review, Special issue on ‘Black British Feminism’, Feminist Review, Vol. 108, issue 1, 2014, pp. 1-114

Looks back at pioneering issue 30 years earlier on black feminism (no. 17, 1984) and examines role of black feminists today and the mobilizing impact of cyber feminism.

Gupta, Rahila, From Homebreakers to Jailbreakers: Southall Black Sisters, London, Zed Press, 2003, pp. 301

Southall Black Sisters was founded by Asian women in 1982 to campaign about issues specific to women in racial minorities in Britain. Over the years it has become the focus for racial and ethnic minorities in Britain and gained an international profile. Issues tackled include: ‘honour’ killings, domestic violence, forced marriages and resistance to deportations. See also: SBS Collective, Against the Grain London, Southall Black Sisters, , 1990 ,: a collection of essays covering the first ten years, and available from SBS. For current activities:

Okolosie, Lola, Go Feminist: Feminism for all, Red Pepper, issue Apr/May, 2012, pp. 66-65

Account of first Go Feminist conference designed to link up and inspire activists.

Feminist campaigns in Britain in 2014 included the following:

  • Daughters of Eve works against female genital mutilation and supports victims:
  • Eaves focuses on trafficking, helping women leave prostitution and on domestic violence, offering practical support as well as engaging in research and campaigning:
  • The End Violence Against Women Coalition, created in 2005, brings together both organizations and individuals to campaign against violence against women in all its forms, lobbies local, regional and national government bodies in the UK and challenges cultural attitudes:
  • The Everyday Sexism Project runs a website encouraging women to add their experiences of sexism ; it aims to show that sexism exists and that it is important to discuss and expose it.

A new feminist magazine, Feminist Times, was launched online in October 2013, with the aim of becoming available in print, but had to close down in July 2014, when it ran its last weekly issue.


Feminist activism since 2017 has marked a significant new stage in the evolution of the struggle for women's rights worldwide, launching new movements, but also seeing the continuation (and in some cases success) of longer term struggles. Women's struggles cover many areas and vary within social and cultural contexts, but crucial issues are: political representation; economic justice (better pay and conditions for millions exploited and underpaid, and equal opportunities at work); women's control over their own bodies (including the right to contraception and to abortion on reasonable terms); and prevention of sexual harassment, rape and violence against women. Important struggles are also occurring to resist various forms of social and religious discrimination and coercive control. There has been increased coverage of women's campaigns in mainstream media, and greater responsiveness by prestigious institutions and some governments as well as international organizations. Recent campaigns have also included a major role for social media.

This new wave of activism was signaled by the 21 January 2017 Women's March in Washington in the US to coincide with President Trump's inauguration, when many thousands demonstrated against the sexist culture personified by Trump. Organizers of the March also promoted the hashtag #ADayWithoutAWoman on March 8, 2017 in the US, when many went on strike or demonstrated in other ways to demand women's rights.  The US protest was part of the International Women's Strike on Women's Day, jointly inspired by Polish women, who had successfully demonstrated in their thousands in 2016 to prevent a stricter abortion law and Argentinian women who in 2016 launched the #NiUnaMenos ('NotOneLess') protests after the murder of a 16-year old girl - protests that spread to Chile, El Salvador, Brazil and other countries. The International Women's Strike (also known as 'Paro International de Mujeres'), coordinated between 30 countries in 2017 and taking place in 50 countries worldwide, has been repeated in 2018 and 2019.  It has antecedents in earlier women's strikes and in the Global Women's Strike launched in 2000. 

Women living in very restrictive regimes have been prevented from demonstrating openly and internet campaigns are closed down. The Chinese government jailed five women who planned to hand out stickers against sexual harassment on public transport on Women's Day 2015. The government bowed to international pressure to release the 'Feminist Five', but has tried systematically to suppress feminist activism since.  However, thousands of women and men signed #MeToo petitions at universities in January 2018, and there is a flourishing feminist network within universities. Public defiance is represented by a woman who worked for state-run TV and is suing a celebrated TV presenter for groping her. 

International bodies have highlighted continuing inequality and the need for action. The UN initiated the #DayoftheGirlChild in 2012 to focus attention on the challenges girls face and to promote their empowerment, and has marked the day on 11 October each year since. Celebrations gained in significance in 2017 and in 2018 world leaders pledged on the day to achieve gender equality by 2030. The Nobel Peace Prize was also awarded in 2018 to draw attention to the brutal and often systematic use of rape as a weapon of war, and to honour the work of the Yazidi human rights activist Naida Murad and the physician and gynaecologist Denis Mukwege from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Naida Murad was abducted in Iraq by ISIS after an attack on her village, as part of the ISIS campaign to exterminate the Yazidi minority, and kept as a sex slave. After her escape she publicized her experiences and campaigned for other women enduring similar horrors.  Mukwege has devoted himself since 1999 to trying to repair the damage caused by violent rapes perpetrated during the civil war in DRC, and has continued despite death threats. The Nobel Prize reflects the spirit of International Women Human Rights Defenders Day on 29 November, backed by the UN Human Rights Council, which honours women who work for human rights of others, despite misogyny and often at risk of violence or death. It also honours men who campaign for equality.

When women have access to education and a wide range of paid work, they tend to have far fewer babies and choose when to have children. This tendency for women to take control of their lives and their bodies has been thwarted both by entrenched male prejudice and also by the political influence of some powerful religious organizations, notably the Catholic Church and right wing Evangelical Churches (which also oppose contraception).  Religious pressure has in the past been complemented by far right political ideology contemptuous of women's rights: Chile enacted a total ban on abortion regardless of the circumstances under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. The current wave of right wing populism is also producing governments keen to control women's bodies. One of President Bolsanaro's first acts after his election in Brazil in 2019 was to replace the department for human rights with a department for 'family values' headed by a rightwing evangelist. The governments in both Hungary and Poland are using financial incentives to keep women at home having babies, to boost the national population and reduce the need for foreign immigrants (As noted earlier, Polish women successfully demonstrated and went on strike in 2016 against the threat of stricter abortion laws).   Trump's presidential victory in 2016 raised fears about the future funding of family planning and (as a result of right wing judicial appointments) a return to restrictive abortion laws.   

Feminists in Catholic countries have campaigned against pressure to reintroduce a ban on abortion (as in Spain - see under F.4.) and against the continuance of abortion laws sometimes (as in Ireland and some countries in Latin America) so restrictive that even raped women and girls cannot be aborted, or the lives of pregnant women who are seriously ill cannot be saved). Chile passed a law on 26 July 2017 to legalise abortion following rape or when a woman's life is in danger. In Ireland , moreover, as the culmination of a 35 year campaign, an historic referendum on 25 May 2018 voted by  64%  to repeal the VIII Amendment of the Constitution, which included a clause that protected the rights of the unborn. In El Salvador, which also has a very restrictive abortion law that could lead to women being jailed for a miscarriage, there was a demonstration for abortion law reform in October 2018.  Subsequently Imelda Cortez, who gave birth to a baby by her stepfather, who had consistently raped her since she was 12, was accused of planning to murder the child because she had not sought medical care; and she faced a 20 year prison sentence.  She was set free by the court in January 2019, which was seen as a signal of hope for a more enlightened policy. Young women in Argentina campaigned in 2018 for a more liberal abortion law - tens of thousands marched on International Women's Day wearing green scarves and carrying the slogan 'Get your rosaries off our ovaries'. A Bill to allow elective abortion within the first 14 weeks of pregnancy passed the lower house in Argentina, but was defeated in the Senate in August 2018       

A policy of enforced sterilization of women from certain social groups is rarer, but has sometimes been the outcome of deep seated prejudice. In Peru Qwuipu women demonstrated in 2017 against the enforced sterilization of over 300,000 women between 1995 and 2000. Women from the Roma community in the Czech Republic are campaigning for official recognition that the Communist regime forcibly sterilized both Roma and disabled women from the 1970s-1990s and that (although this policy was then disavowed) in practice women were still being sterilized without their full consent up to 2007. This issue was taken up by the Czech Ombudswoman in 2014, but the government rejected her proposals.  It is now before the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

Protesting against the prevalence of rape, discriminatory treatment of raped women and the responses of the courts has been central to many women's movements worldwide, as has the broader issue of violence against women, from 2017 onwards.The pivotal character of 2017 is largely due to the global development of the #MeToo movement. This hashtag was originally launched in 2006 by the US activist and community organizer Tamara Burke, to provide support for survivors of sexual violence, especially for Black women and girls and other women of colour from poorer communities. The original ‘MeToo’ campaign promotes digital community building and connects survivors to legal advice and other resources, and promotes research.

Evolution of #MeToo 

The hashtag became widely known after it was used by US actor Alyssa Milano on 15 October 2017, and then spread very rapidly as over 70 women made allegations of sexual abuse against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein. The hashtag was used over 200,000 times by the end of the day and was tweeted more than 500,000 times the following day. It was also used on Facebook by 4.7 million in 12 million posts during the first 24 hours.

Use of #MeToo has helped to broaden discussion about domestic violence and to make it inclusive of women from all backgrounds. It has also raised awareness of sexual harassment and violence in a range of professions, such as the Church, education, politics, the military, the finance sector and sport, and helped to improve media coverage of the incidence of sexual violence and harassment.

The Hollywood scandal unleashed by #MeToo contributed to the launch on 1 January 2018 of the #TimesUp Legal Defence Fund, created by Hollywood celebrities to focus on sexual harassment in the workplace. The purpose was to raise money for legal action by those who have limited or no access to the mass media or finance, and to hold companies that tolerate sexual harassment to account. The Fund collected over $20 million and hired over 200 volunteer lawyers in its first year.     

The ‘MeToo’ campaign has spread to at least 85 countries (that have coined their own hashtags). They include Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mongolia and Palestine.  Women in Morocco, for example, demonstrated in November 2018 against sexual harassment using #Masaktach to raise awareness and organize forms of protest.  

‘MeToo’ has attracted criticism: for example that it risks re-traumatizing women that fact-checking is weak, and that minority women are not properly represented. Tamara Black (the originator of the hashtag) has expressed concern that a movement which focuses on survivors of sexual violence could either be seen as a vindictive plot against men, or could risk neglecting survivors who are not in the limelight.  However, the campaign has improved media coverage of harassment cases. (See the report by the Women’s Media Center –WMC-:

When five men were acquitted on rape charges in Pamplona, Spain, in April 2018, women demonstrated and created the hashtag Cuentalo ('Tell It'). This protest spread to Latin America, where women came onto the streets to denounce the pervasive gender violence in the region (The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean estimates that each day 12 Latin American women are murdered).  Demonstrations took place in Mexico City in March 2018 to demand justice for women survivors of violence (Mexico is one of the most dangerous places in the world for women). A year earlier at the Miss Peru 2017 beauty contest, participants refused to read out their bust and hip measurements and read out instead statistics about violence of various kinds against women and young girls. 

At the other side of the world, women in Nepal demonstrated in 2018 under the slogan RageAgainst Rape, after the rape and murder of a 13 year old girl, protesting against a police culture of victim blaming.  In Africa UN Women launched the #HearMeToo-End Violence Against Women campaign in 2011, which has led to further hashtag campaigns, such as #YourVoiceIsPower in Libya and CountToTen in South Africa, as well as demonstrations and educational initiatives across the continent. Women in Nairobi, Kenya, marked Women's Day in 2019 with a demonstration outside parliament against the rising number of women being killed.

Feminists have also long been challenging the belief that women who are raped may bring it upon themselves by the way they dress. When in November 2018 a jury in Cork, Ireland, acquitted a man accused of raping a 17-year old, because she was wearing a lace front thong that suggested she was willing to have sex, hundreds of women shared photographs of their own underwear on social media with the caption #ThisIsNotConsent; a few women also marched  in underwear to protest.

‘MeToo’ highlighted the prevalence of physical sexual harassment, as well as the widespread promotion of pornographic images of women, and prompted a world-wide response.  Women in Brazil in 2018 used the Rio Carnival (where violence against women had  been rife in previous years) to campaign, giving out stickers with slogans such as 'My Breast, My Rules', 'No is No' and 'Grabbing  me won't get you a kiss'.  Women in Kenya launched the #MyDressMyChoice campaign against sexual harassment and assault. Similar protests took place in Liberia, South Africa and Nigeria. In India, where a widespread culture of sexual harassment and rape is also prevalent, ‘MeToo’ struck a chord and led to many accusations of harassment in the press, politics and the film industry in 2017-18. On 8 September 2018, four nuns went on hunger strike against a bishop, Franco Mullackal, accused of harassment in Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of the Indian state of Kerala. Their protest, which was supported also by other Muslim women, caused bishop Mullackal being deposed after two weeks and put on trial. Women in Mongolia, who had by 2017 already waged a successful four year campaign to make domestic violence a crime, launched a new campaign in 2018 for a law against sexual harassment in the workplace. 

‘MeToo’ also prompted a wave of activism in South Korea, with regular demonstrations in the capital. Issues included opposition to spycam videos of women secretly filmed in public spaces: women marched in August 2018 under the slogan 'I Am Not Your Porn'.  Women also began to protest in December 2018 against the very restrictive dress and beauty standards imposed on them - one in three women have had plastic surgery and are criticised for wearing spectacles in public. Demonstrators destroyed make-up and a woman TV presenter wore her glasses.  Invasion of personal privacy to produce porn was an issue also taken up in Britain by Gina Martin, who was the victim of a man at a festival who secretly photographed up her skirt and shared the picture with friends.  She launched the campaign #StopSkirtingtheIssue, and lobbied for a law against upskirting.  After a Private Member's bill was defeated in the Commons, the government backed legislation covering England and Wales, which was passed early in 2019 (Scotland already had a law against it). 

Political and Economic Developments 

The ‘MeToo’ movement has drawn renewed attention to the long struggles by women round the world to gain political influence and power.  Prejudice and harassment may undermine women in politics even after they have established their presence at the top. In Australia two women MPs resigned from the ruling Liberal Party in the Federal parliament in 2018-19, complaining about gender bias and a culture of bullying and intimidation. But the primary struggle is to secure political representation.

Women's presence in national parliaments and in government has generally lagged behind their getting the vote and gaining social and economic freedoms. But it has often also reflected progress in other spheres, as in Scandinavia, where parliamentary representation has tended to be relatively good (for example 44% in Sweden's lower house in 2016). The existence of an active women's movement may also have an impact.  For example, Spain got its first female-majority government in June 2018, when 11 women and six men were appointed to the Prime Minister's cabinet: the major demonstration on Women's Day on March 8 is seen as contributing to this result. 

Nevertheless, there is not a straightforward correlation between women's general progress, or women's activism, and their presence at the top of national politics.  National contexts vary widely. The astonishing fact that in in 2016 women represented 64% of the lower house of Rwanda's legislature (the highest percentage in the world), but only 19% of the US House of Representatives, reflects special circumstances in both countries. The mobilization of women in both politics and the economy in Rwanda, encouraged by the military head of state Paul Kagame, is a consequence of the appalling genocide of the Tutsi by the Hutu in 1994 and many perpetrators then fleeing the country. As a result, an estimated 60 to 70 per cent of the remaining population was women, who began to play a new role in the economy, despite lack of education and strong social prejudice.

Sometimes women are promoted politically within undemocratic regimes to signal (perhaps token) ideological support for women's rights and add legitimacy. President Bokassa in the Central African Republic, who seized power in a coup in 1972, offered the new post of prime minister in January 1975 to Elisabeth Domitien, who became the first African woman prime minister.  She had been active and respected in the independence movement and in public life since independence, so Bokassa sought both to broaden his popular support and to gain internationally by marking UN International Women's Year. Domitien was, however, dismissed by Bokassa in 1976, when she opposed his plan to become emperor. The importance of political dynasties in mobilizing loyalty in some political contexts has also enabled a number of wives or daughters to become prime minister or president. Three well known examples from Asia are: Sri Lanka (Sirima Bandaranaike, who took over when her husband was assassinated in 1960 and became the first woman prime minister in the world); India (Indira Gandhi - Nehru's daughter, elected 1966); and Pakistan (Benazir Bhutto - daughter of Zulfikar Bhutto, elected in 1988). All were strong and able women, but family was their pathway to power. 

But when women do rise to the top of government entirely on their own merits, especially where women in general still suffer widespread forms of discrimination, it is a significant advance.  Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia became the first elected African woman President in 2006, backed by a major women's peace movement which had arisen out of 14 years of brutal civil war, and held office for 12 years, during which she managed to keep the peace and promote the shattered economy, but did little directly for women (a stringent rape law was introduced, but watered down). Since then a number of women heads of state have been selected in Africa. Ethiopia appointed its first woman President in October 2018. Sahle-Work Zedwe holds a mostly ceremonial post, but she has a high profile from her role at the UN and in peacekeeping in Africa, and her symbolic significance is strengthened by the fact that the Prime Minister also gave half his cabinet posts to women. She has promised to work for Ethiopian women, who have made gains in education, but are still seriously disadvantaged in the economy and by lack of health care. 

The celebration in the UK in 2018 of 100 years since women in principle gained the vote (though they were only enfranchised on the same terms as men in 1928), was an opportunity to honour past struggles, and press for better representation in the future. To mark the anniversary of women also gaining the right to stand for parliament, 209 women MPs from every parliament in the world gathered in a government sponsored conference at Westminster in November 2018 to pledge to fight internationally against gender inequality in politics (women on average make up only 24% of  legislatures). Despite the fact the 2017 general election brought a record number of 208 women MPs into the UK House of Commons (up from 196 in 2015), they are only 32% of the total.  Women's difficulty in becoming MPs has been due in part to the electoral system and the dominance of two major parties, with the Labour Party selecting more women candidates in winnable seats. 

Similar electoral and party constraints help to explain the low representation of women in the US Congress. But the recent rise of women's activism in the US led to their playing a prominent role in the 2018 mid-term elections, and the election of a record 102 women to the House of Representatives (89 Democrats and 13 Republicans). Nancy Pelosi was selected the first woman Speaker of the House. Women also won nine governorships of states.  In both the UK and the US elections there was also a significant increase in the representation of women from minority communities - including African American, Latina and Native American women in the US. When President Trump inaugurated the new Congress in January 2019, women representatives wore white, the suffragette colour, to celebrate 100 years since Congress passed the 19th Amendment (ratified by states in 1920) giving women in principle the vote (In practice state control of often restrictive electoral provisions, and entrenched racial discrimination, meant that many women, especially Blacks and Native Americans, were still excluded). January 2019 also saw millions join in the Women's March in Washington (two years after the first); which was estimated to be the largest single-day protest in North American history.     

Women's access to paid employment outside the home is central to their gaining greater independence and social status.  But women have also been vulnerable to exploitation in the work place, both because of prevailing attitudes which have devalued and underpaid 'women's work', and because very often they desperately need their jobs to maintain their children.  Even in economically advanced countries women have had to campaign hard for equal pay (and equal pay for equivalent work). Moreover, even when the principle has been recognised in law - as it was in Iceland in 1976 after a historic strike on 24 October 1975, when 90 per cent of women in both paid and unpaid work went on strike until midnight - the reality tends to be different. Icelandic women went on strike again on 24 October 2018, leaving work at 2.55pm, the estimated time their day should end if they were paid the same as men. (Activists in France took up this idea for Women's Day in March 2019 - a work stoppage at 3.40pm to dramatise an average 26% pay gap).  Thousands of women in Glasgow (Scotland) also went on strike and demonstrated on 24 October 2018 (to coincide with the Icelandic women) as part of a 12 years campaign for equal pay for low paid council employees such as cleaners and caterers. 

Women often need work even more desperately in poorer parts of the world, but are also even more likely to be underpaid and exploited. Some are fighting back. For example, an eight year struggle by shop workers in Kerala (India), who often worked a 12 hour day with only a 30 minute lunch break and were forced to stand all day - leaning against a wall could lead to a pay cut - finally ended in victory in July 2018. The Kerala state government amended the labour laws to direct employers to introduce an eight hour day and to allow the workers to sit on a chair or stool. Over 50,000 garment workers in Bangladesh, who have fought a long campaign against very long hours and minimal pay, shut down 52 factories and blocked a road near Dhaka in two weeks of protest in January 2019. Nevertheless, the overall position of women in the economy in Bangladesh is getting stronger: the proportion of women in the workforce rose from 4% in 1974 to 36% by 2016 (quite largely due to the rise of the garment industry), and this is having  social repercussions, for example making it easier for some women to consider divorce.

Culture and Sport

Although the spheres of culture and sport are less central to most women's lives, women's presence and treatment in both do have great symbolic significance, and also influence the range of opportunities open to girls and women. Since the ‘MeToo’ campaign took off in 2017 from a scandal about Hollywood, it is not surprising that the role of women in film became an immediate focus of feminist and media attention. At the 70th Cannes Film Festival in 2017 American actress and producer Jessica Chastain protested about the way women were represented in over 20 movies she had watched. The response in 2018 was for the first time to appoint a majority of women to the jury. There was also a protest by 82 women in the film industry; they processed in silence on the red carpet to highlight the lack of female directors in the program. In its 71 years the Festival had shown 82 films directed by women, compared with 1,645 by men. The Oscar Academy Awards ceremony has also sparked controversy about the tendency to exclude films by both women (only five nominated over 91 years) and Black directors - although changes have recently been made to those eligible to vote. In 2019 no women were nominated for best director (the BBC listed five who could have qualified) though in other categories films with female leads were nominated.  

The year 2018 did see significant advances in women's participation in sports previously seen as a male preserve, and also in the proportion of women taking part in world competitions and receiving equal treatment. Twitter launched a new emoji in May 2018 to celebrate the growing influence of women working in the football industry as part of the Women in Football campaign #WhatIf. The World Surf League announced equal pay for men and women from 2019, following on the US body announcing equal pay the previous year - the first sport in the USA to do so. At the Olympic Winter Games in February 2018 in South Korea, over 43 percent of competitors were female, a record number; and at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October  2019 half  the athletes will be women for the first time ever. There were however controversies in women's tennis which raised questions over equality of judging standards. A well publicized incident occurred when the champion Serena Williams (who had recently had serious health problems after giving birth) was banned from playing at the 2018 French Open when wearing  a suit specially designed to prevent blood clots.

The chance to take part in sport for women in societies tending to segregate women, or to impose strict dress codes, is obviously limited. However, Muslim Morocco hosts the 10km Course Feminine held in Casablanca each year, which allows girls and women of different ages, whether clothed in shorts or in robes and veils, to run or walk the course and to join in a collective event and claim public space.

Women have often been deprived of the most basic freedoms, such as freedom to be educated, walk the streets or travel, or to have some say in whom they marry, by strong social traditions in patriarchal societies. Women are also harmed by certain cultural customs, such as female genital mutilation (FGM), early marriage and child pregnancies and lack of sexual education. These issues have been addressed in Africa by both women's activism and international organizations. For example the SAUTI Project in Tanzania works to protect adolescent girls from early marriage and pregnancies. There have also been serious efforts to reduce the practice of FGM, which is now officially illegal in some countries (though this does not guarantee it is not still practised). The BMJ Global Health study in 2018 found that the prevalence of FGM has dropped significantly in both East Africa (from 71.4% in 1995 to 8% in 2016 among  girls of 14 and under), in West Africa (from 73.6% in 1996 to 25.4% in 2017),  and also in North Africa (from 57.7% in 1990 to 14.1% in 2015). But there is caution about the figures. Amref Health Africa, which works to reduce FMG, responded positively, but noted that FMG still occurs among girls over 14, and that there are wide variations within countries, with some communities having rates of 80-90%.

Social pressure restricting women's rights is often reinforced by conservative or extremist interpretation of religious doctrine. Therefore, whilst economic modernization and social change tends to promote women's freedom, this can be counteracted by a rise in dogmatic religious control of politics.  In Islamic countries the political power of extreme movements among both Shia and Sunni Muslims has had devastating effects on women's rights, as in Iran since the Revolution of 1979, in Afghanistan under the Taliban, and - most extreme of all - under the brief rule of ISIS in parts of Iraq/Syria. Women have however mounted resistance.  In Iran, for example, there has been a growing campaign against compulsory wearing of the hijab in public since 2013, resulting in the arrest of at least 35 women; and in Teheran in March 2018 women engaged in a series of actions in which they very publicly removed their head scarves and waved them. In Afghanistan, under the Taliban women's defiance was mostly organized in secret, but since the end of Taliban rule in 2001 they have campaigned for inclusion in public sphere, including politics, despite ongoing violence, threats, and the killing of several of their leaders. In the light of US peace negotiations with the Taliban, a coalition of Afghan women and young people launched an appeal for women (and other excluded groups in society) to be included in the negotiations, which has also been signed by prominent international figures and Nobel Laureates, including Margaret Atwood (author of the Handmaid's Tale) and Arundhati Roy (novelist and political activist). They called in February 2019 for 'global solidarity to keep women's voices alive'.

Saudi Arabia has long been one of the countries where women are least free. Women have campaigned since 1990 for the right to drive (they were initially prosecuted or socially ostracized) and also protested against 'guardianship' laws that give men in the family control over women's actions. When the Crown Prince ended the driving ban in September 2017 (as part of his campaign for economic and social reform), with support from religious authorities, women rejoiced.  However, the regime, though prepared to initiate limited reform from above, will not tolerate independent protest, and over a dozen women activists were arrested in May 2018. Amnesty International reported they had faced sexual harassment and torture during interrogation.  Saudi women's lack of protection against abuse was highlighted at the end of 2018, when 18 year old Rahah Mohammed as-Qunun was granted asylum by the Canadian government, after she barricaded herself in a Thai hotel room after fleeing abuse. She has publicized her story on Twitter to encourage other Saudi women.                                                     

Other religions also promote discrimination and penalize women, as dramatically illustrated in Kerala in January 2019, when an estimated 3 million women formed a 620km human chain to challenge a ban on (menstruating) women under 50 entering the Hindu Sabarimala Temple, one of Hinduism's holiest sites. Although India's Supreme Court overturned the ban in 2018, some women who then tried to enter were attacked by mobs, and women were still officially denied access by the Temple with the support of many conservative men. The 'women's wall' was initiated by the leftwing government of Kerala, and the demonstration was backed by some men.


The relationship between women and war is of course complex; sometimes, as in liberation wars, they have actively supported armed resistance; but in many wars they become victims and survivors; sometimes they actively try to promote peace and cross ‘enemy’ lines. The emphasis in this section is on resistance to war. Opposing wars has in recent decades quite often been linked to broader feminist commitments and campaigns, although sometimes women are prompted to act simply by the urgency of ending brutal and devastating wars. In both cases wider theoretical issues arise about whether women are particularly disposed to resist war and about links between militarism and patriarchy. The theoretical debates are not central to this Guide, which focuses primarily on examples of resistance, but a few relevant theoretical references are included below.

Cockburn, Cynthia, The Women’s Movement: Boundary Crossing on Terrains of Conflict, In Cohen; Rai, Global Social Movements (A. 6. Nonviolent Action and Social Movements), London, Athlone Press, pp. 46-61

Focuses on action-research project Women Building Bridges in Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine and Bosnia Hercegovina, and comments on role of transnational women’s networks, including Women in Black.

Cockburn, Cynthia, From Where We Stand: War, Women’s Activism and Feminist Analysis, London and New York, Zed Books, 2007, pp. 288

Examines women’s resistance to war in many parts of the world, including Sierra Leone, Colombia and Gujarat, India. It also covers women’s cooperation across enemy lines in the former Yugoslavia and in Israel/Palestine, and resistance in the west to imperialist war, and develops theoretical questions about gender and militarism. See also:  Cockburn, Cynthia , Women in Black: The Stony Path to “Solidarity” In Clark, People Power: Unarmed Resistance and Global Solidarity (A. 1.b. Strategic Theory, Dynamics, Methods and Movements)London, Pluto Press, 2009, pp. 156-163

Cook, Alice ; Kirk, Gwyn, Greenham Women Everywhere, London, Pluto Press, 1983, pp. 127

Elshtain, Jean Bethke ; Tobias, Sheila, Women, Militarism and War: Essays in History, Politics and Social Theory, [1990], 2nd edn. (with new epilogue), Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1995, pp. 318

Evans, Jodie ; Benjamin, Medea, Stop the Next War Now: Effective Responses to Violence and Terror, Novat CA, New World Library, 2005, pp. 256

The editors were among the women who launched the campaign Code Pink: Women for Peace in November 2002, which has since undertaken a wide range of nonviolent direct action protests in the United States and forged links with women in many other countries. (For details see: The book is a collection of essays by peace activists and scholars exploring a range of issues but including an emphasis on dissent and movement building.

Giles, Wenona ; de Alwis, Malathi ; Klein, Edith ; Silva, Neluka, Feminists Under Fire: Exchanges Across War Zones, Toronto, Between the Lines, 2003, pp. 238

Examines role of women’s organizations in civil wars in former Yugoslavia and Sri Lanka.

Harford, Barbara ; Hopkins, Sarah, Greenham Common: Women at the Wire, London, The Women's Press, 1984, pp. 171

Jones, Lynne, Keeping the Peace, London, The Women's Press, 1983, pp. 162

Gives transnational examples of women's peace activism.

Korac, Maja, Linking Arms: Women and War in Post-Yugoslav States, Uppsala, Life and Peace Institute, 1998, pp. 91

Krasniewicz, Louise, Nuclear Summer: The Clash of Communities at the Seneca Women’s Peace Encampment, Ithaca NY, Cornell University Press, 1992, pp. 276

Kwon, insook, Gender, Feminism and Masculinity in Anti-Militarism, International Feminist Journal of Politics, Vol. 15, issue 2 (June), 2013, pp. 213-233

Feminist analysis of the conscientious objection movement in South Korea in which women activists challenge dominant militarized conception of masculinity.

Liddington, Jill, The Long Road to Greenham: Feminism and Militarism in Britain since 1820, London and Syracuse NY, Virago and Syracuse Press, 1991, pp. 341

Mama, Amina ; Okazawa-Reis, Margo, Militarism, Conflict and Women’s Activism in the Global Environment: Challenges and Prospects for Women in three West African Countries, Feminist Review, issue 101 (July), 2012, pp. 97-123

Focus on examples from Nigerian, Sierra Leone and Liberian civil wars over several decades.

Natanel, Katherine, Resistance and the Limits: Feminist Actions and Conscientious Objection in Israel, Feminist Review, issue 101 (July), 2012, pp. 78-100

Assesses effectiveness of feminist resistance on movement to refuse the draft, looking primarily at experience of individual feminist COs, rather than organized women’s groups.

Roseneil, Sasha, Disarming Patriarchy: Feminism and Political Action at Greenham, Buckingham, Open University Press, 1995, pp. 225

This PhD thesis is a detailed account of the history and everyday life at Greenham, based on participation in the peace camp and interviews with other women. See also Roseneil, Sasha , Common Women, Uncommon Practices: The Queer Feminism of Greenham London, Cassell, , 2000, pp. 352 , which explores life-style and lesbian issues connected with the camp.

Ruddick, Sara, Maternal Thinking: Towards a Politics of Peace, London, Women's Press, 1989, pp. 297

Influential, but also much criticized, argument linking women’s inclination towards peace with their role as mothers.

Ruiz-Navarro, Catalina, A feminist peace in Colombia?, ReliefWeb, , ReliefWeb, 14/02/2019,

Ruiz-Navarro provides an analysis of the 2016 Colombia Peace agreement that incorporates the inclusion of women within the peace talk process. He also discusses the mobilisation in the country in support of the agreement, the role of Norway and Sweden in supporting this goal, the role played by women and the obstacles to the implementation of the agreement.

Sjoberg, Laura, Viewing Peace through Gender Lenses, Ethics and International Affairs, Vol. 27, issue 2 (Summer), 2013, pp. 175-187

See also:

Lepa Mladjenovic; Vera Litricin, Belgrade Feminists 1992: Separation, Guilt and Identity Crisis, (E.3. Opposing Other Wars and Occupations),  – for further material on women in ex-Yugoslavia opposing the war, and the Belgrade ‘Women in Black’ campaign
Meg Coulson, Looking behind the Violent Break-up of Yugoslavia, (E.3. Opposing Other Wars and Occupations),  – for further material on women in ex-Yugoslavia opposing the war, and the Belgrade ‘Women in Black’ campaign
Barbara Epstein, Political Protest and Cultural Revolution: Nonviolent Direct Action in the 1970s and 1980s, (A. 6. Nonviolent Action and Social Movements), , esp. pp. 160-68, which briefly describe the Women’s Pentagon Action and Seneca Falls Peace Camp in USA