International Women's Year: The Greatest Consciousness-Raising Event in History

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Oxford University Press, Jun 1, 2017 - History
Amid the geopolitical and social turmoil of the 1970s, the United Nations declared 1975 as International Women's Year. The capstone event, a two-week conference in Mexico City, was dubbed by organizers and journalists as "the greatest consciousness-raising event in history." The event drew an all-star cast of characters, including Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, Iranian Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, and US feminist Betty Friedan, as well as a motley array of policymakers, activists, and journalists. International Women's Year, the first book to examine this critical moment in feminist history, starts by exploring how organizers juggled geopolitical rivalries and material constraints amid global political and economic instability. The story then dives into the action in Mexico City, including conflicts over issues ranging from abortion to Zionism. The United Nations provided indispensable infrastructure and support for this encounter, even as it came under fire for its own discriminatory practices. While participants expressed dismay at levels of discord and conflict, Jocelyn Olcott explores how these combative, unanticipated encounters generated the most enduring legacies, including women's networks across the global south, greater attention to the intersectionalities of marginalization, and the arrival of women's micro-credit on the development scene. This watershed moment in transnational feminism, colorfully narrated in International Women's Year, launched a new generation of activist networks that spanned continents, ideologies, and generations.

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Dramatis Personae
WINGO Politics
Choosing Battles in the Cold
Getting to Mexico City
Follow the Money
Opening Acts
The First Rule of Fight Club
Coming Out Party
Chaos in the Tribune
Domitila a la Tribuna
The Final Push
Unceremonious Closing
Beyond Mexico City

Betty Friedan versus the Third World
This Is an Illegitimate Delegation
Other Kinds of Problems
The Politics of Peace
Notes on Sources Theories and Methods

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About the author (2017)

Jocelyn Olcott is associate professor of History and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University. She is the author of Revolutionary Women in Postrevolutionary Mexico and the co-editor of Sex in Revolution: Gender, Politics, and Power in Modern Mexico.

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