Tidal Wave

Tidal Wave

How Women Changed America at Century's End

As recently as 1960 few women worked outside the home, married women could not borrow money in their own names, schools imposed strict quotas on female applicants, and sexual harassment did not exist as a legal concept. In Tidal Wave, Sara M. Evans, one of our foremost historians of women in America, draws on an extraordinary range of interviews, archives, and published sources to tell for the first time the incredible story of the past forty years in women's history.
Encompassing the so-called Second Wave of feminism (1960s and 1970s) and the Third Wave (1980s and 1990s), Evans challenges traditional interpretations of women's history at every turn. Covering politics, economics, popular culture, marriage, and family, and including the perspectives of women ranging from leaders of NOW to little-known women who simply wanted more out of their lives, Tidal Wave paints a vast canvas of a society in upheaval. The movement's shocking success is evinced, Evans notes, by the simple fact that we now live in a country in which all women are feminists, in practice if not in name.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743255028 | 
  • March 2004
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: The Way We Were; The Way We Are

The "first wave" of women's rights activism in the United States built slowly from its beginnings in the middle of the nineteenth century, finally cresting in 1920 with the passage of the nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing women the most fundamental right of citizenship, the vote. It swelled slowly and steadily, riding this single, symbolic issue. By contrast, a "second wave" of women's rights activism in the last half of the century arose almost instantly in a fast-moving and unruly storm, massive from the very outset. This driving storm, with shifting winds and... see more

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