The Challenge of Local Feminisms

Women’s Movements in Global Perspective


Edited by Amrita Basu

First Edition • July 1, 1995 • 510 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813326283 • $60.00 USD$61.50 CAN

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This pathbreaking book provides for the first time an overview of the genesis, growth, gains, and dilemmas of women’s movements worldwide. Unlike most of the literature, which focuses on the industrialized Western world, this volume devotes greater attention to the postcolonial states of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The book challenges the assumptions that feminism can transcend national differences and, conversely, that women’s movements are shaped and circumscribed by national levels of development. All the authors reject the notion, proposed by its detractors and champions alike, that feminism is of middle-class origins and Western inspiration. Instead they seek to locate women’s movements within the terrain from which they emerge.

Virtually all the authors are from the countries or communities about which they write; the few exceptions are women who have spent lengthy periods studying and living in the region. Most are scholars, often in women’s studies, and many are closely associated with the movements they describe. Thus, these writers share a commitment to the substantive concerns as well as the collective processes of women’s movements. As a key book for the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, this volume will be essential reading for anyone interested in the global scope and implications of feminism.


Amrita Basu is professor of political science and women’s and gender studies at Amherst College.

C. Elizabeth McGrory works as a consultant on reproductive health and women’s rights.

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