|Feminism and Politics|
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Two experiences inspired me to write this book. The first was research undertaken for a book on women and public policies in the United States during the years 1976-80. The second was a visit to the United Kingdom in 1980 during a sabbatical semester. At that time I became fascinated by the very different direction the British feminist movement seemed to have taken, and I wanted to learn why the divergent British structures and values had emerged. Over the next six years I visited England for research three times; and on a separate trip I also visited Sweden, a nation noted for progressive egalitarian policies. Meanwhile I continued to follow events and interview principals in the American women's movement. It is my hope that the unique contribution of this book is to provide a comparative political framework for analysis of the context and evolution of feminist movements, thus augmenting the fine work that has been done by other scholars who have studied disparate aspects of feminist politics in various nations.
The list of people and organizations to whom I owe a debt of thanks for helping to make this research possible is almost too long to record. I am particularly grateful to those who provided financial support for the project.
Significant among these was the Fulbright Commission, which provided me with a three-month grant-in-aid to the United Kingdom in 1982. This opportunity to conduct interviews and undertake firsthand research, with the kind cooperation of the Institute of Education at the University of London (thanks to the gracious invitation of a colleague, Margherita Rendel), proved absolutely crucial. Additional financial support for overseas research was made available by the Faculty Senate of the City College of New York and the financial office of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
I would also like to thank the Henry A. Murray Research Center at Radcliffe College of Harvard University, where I spent part of the fall semester of 1985. The opportunity to share my ideas with other visiting scholars and the staff was invaluable and helped sharpen much of my thinking. I owe particular thanks to the Rockefeller Foundation for providing me with the wonderful opportunity to spend an idyllic and highly productive month at the Villa Serbelloni in Bellagio, Italy, in the fall of 1985. The beautiful surroundings, unlimited time to work uninterruptedly, and stimulating colleagues provided me with a work experience that I shall never forget. My great appreciation is extended also to the Arbetslivcentrum in Stockholm, which generously gave me an office and research assistance during my stay in Sweden in May and June of 1986. I am grateful, too, for the help of the Swedish Institute, which arranged all my appointments in such an efficient and helpful fashion.
Good feedback and stimulating suggestions emerged when I had the opportunity to present excerpts from this book to the academic community -128; -148;at Radcliffe, Columbia University, the Center for European Studies at
Harvard University, Augsberg College, the University of California at San Diego, and the University of Minnesota, as well as at a City College Women's Faculty seminar and a symposium sponsored by the Center for the Study of Women in Society at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York -128; -148;and when I presented papers at American Political Science Association and International Political Science Association conventions.
In addition to thanking these institutions for their support and assistance (and of course the people who make them possible), some individuals deserve special thanks and deep affection. Annika Baude of the Arbetslivcentrum not only arranged my stay at the center but also provided me with wonderful housing and, even more importantly, her moral and intellectual support and expertise during my stay in Sweden. Barbara Hobson, then of the Murray Research Center, helped me to rethink many of my ideas and finally to arrange the trip to Sweden that proved to be so instructive. Ethel Klein of Columbia University helped analyze data and gave willingly of her time. Norman and Barbara Gelb provided unlimited hospitality on my several visits to London; Alice Kessler-Harris made my first trip to Britain memorable. John Mollenkopf of the Department of Political Science of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and Maud Eduards and Diane Sainsbury of the Department of Political Science at the University of Stockholm have my heartfelt thanks for their efforts. Diane Sainsbury was especially helpful in providing data and many stimulating comments. Marna Feldt of the Swedish Information Service answered innumerable queries with unfailing good humor and expertise as did the staff of the British Information Service. The many individuals in the United States, Sweden,
and the United Kingdom who gave unstintingly of their time in interviews and often afterwards must be recognized here as well. It has been a happy experience to learn that there is an international women's network, and I am proud to have been able to meet so many active and vital members of it.
An extraordinary debt is owed to my family. My husband, Joe, and two sons, Andrew and Jonathan Gelb, have lived with this research project since its inception. Andrew deserves special thanks for help to a computer novice. They have lovingly borne my absences from the family and cheerfully accepted the long hours necessary to complete the project (they have also, happily, occasionally reaped the benefit of cross-cultural research by accompanying me on the travels the research entailed). An essential word of gratitude goes to my two typists, Audre Procter and Chris Pritchard, whose patience and help were invaluable. Finally, my thanks to Naomi Schneider and Mary Lamprech of the University of California Press and to copy editor Liese Hofmann.
While only I bear responsibility for the research and analysis presented in this volume, I hope that the many individuals and institutions who helped to support it will not be disappointed.