Women Of The Century And The United States
Women of the Century is an awesome book by feminist journalist, organizer, and activist,izons Journalist, Wendy Martin. This book covers many different topics including; women’s rights, history of women’s organizing, politics, personal relationships and so much more. I especially like how she examines women’s leadership, what makes a great organizer, what the definition of a “good” organizer is, and more. This book will definitely give you many new ideas on how to improve your own organizing skills and how you can empower other women.
Within this collection, Martin provides a history of organizing, historical organizing movements, and highlights some of the pioneers of today’s cooperative movement. The contributors also discuss alternative sources of energy, food, medicine, child care, money, art, literature, and politics. I particularly enjoyed her discussions on politics and personal relationships, where she discusses the importance of organizing to create healthy bonds between people, and how organizing can also benefit our economy. There were even several sections that provided information on the history of the suffrage movement, and how organizing differs from suffragism. The archives also provide background information on famous women, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Betty Shabazz, and Ida Ranks, and the role they played during the Suffragette movement.
Another aspect of Women of the Century that interested me was the section on organizing, where Martin provides an introduction to managing editors and amplifies on the concept of management/administrative skills. I especially found the discussion of what she calls the “shift manager” interesting, and how she uses animals in organizing to get things done. The editors she uses include: Karen Bass, Linda Ellis, Bethany Blank, Les Frankel, Karen Porter, and Carol Washburn. In this volume, each chapter is self-explanatory.
Another aspect of Women of the Century that impressed me was the editors’ comment on what the 19th amendment meant for organizing the workforce. According to them, the amendment gave management more power than ever before, and management was beginning to abuse this power. This is a sensible point, and I agree with them. Further, the fact that the amendment gave black citizens the right to own property, and therefore, have an economic stake in the system made this aspect especially relevant.
What struck me as interesting, and what we will be discussing in later chapters, is that although the suffragists made important points about equal rights and justice, and the importance of preserving the social welfare state, they also made some mistakes. For example, in the paragraphs that follow after the first paragraph, Martin quotes Black suffragist organizer,etta Hampton regarding the white men who did not sign on the 19th Amendment. She states, “white men who didn’t sign the guarantee were either afraid of white men, or afraid of black men.” This comment makes a very big mistake, and shows a lack of understanding on the part of the author. Obviously, she doesn’t have the slightest idea of what she’s talking about, and that’s unfortunate.
In addition, she also seems to forget the part of the 19th amendment that allowed for the Representation of the People by Women, which is another mistake that could have been avoided. The second half of the amendment says: ” Neither shall any person be denied the right of fair trial, nor shall any person be imprisoned for any crime, unless by the law of the state.” There is no reference to the blacks having any right to be confined in any way, nor to any actual sentence. Had these facts been corrected, there would have been no need to bring up the issue of black civil rights during the Women’s Rights Movement.