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Sisterhood Questionedassesses the nature and impact of divisions in the twentieth-century American and British women's movements. Until 1920, feminists had been united in the struggle for suffrage, and the sisterhood of women had been taken for granted. But after the end of the First World War, differences within and between the feminist movements became increasingly apparent, especially in the areas of race, class and internationalism. In this lucidly written study, Christine Bolt sheds new light on these differences, which flourished in an era of political reaction, economic insecurity, polarising nationalism and resurgent anti-feminism. The author reveals how the conflicts were seized upon and publicised by contemporaries, and how the activists themselves were forced to confront the increasingly complex tensions. In particular, the American and British women's movements grew further apart as British women became more conscious of American money, expectation of influence and opposition to the existence of Britain's empire.
Drawing on a wide range of sources, the author demonstrates that women in the twentieth century continued to co-operate despite these divisions, and that feminist movements remained active right up to and beyond the reformist 1960s. This readable and informative survey, including both new research and synthesis, provides the first close comparison of race, class and internationalism in the British and American women's movements during this period. It is invaluable reading for all those with an interest in American history, British history or Women's Studies.
Christine Bolt is Emeritus Professor of American History at the University of Kent. Her books include The Anti-Slavery Movement and Reconstruction, Victorian Attitudes to Race, and The Women's Movements in the United States and Britain, from the 1790s to the 1920s.