Women on the Defensive: Living through Conservative Times by Sylvia Bashevkin
Feminism underwent perhaps its most difficult challenges in the 1980s, when conservatism reached the height of its influence in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. This study explores some beliefs about women and women's movements under Conservative and Republican leaders. By identifying the policies and goals held in common by feminists in all three countries and tracing their collision course with the conservative policies of the three administrations, Sylvia Bashevkin is able to document setbacks but also some progress, despite the right-of-centre leaders. She also seeks to challenge the assumption that organzied interests in the United States are less vulnerable in hard times than those in parliamentary systems, finding that the elections of Ronald Reagan, Brian Mulroney and Margaret Thatcher had similar effects on both sides of the Atlantic. The book is organized thematically rather than by country, describing the difficult relationship between feminists and conservatives during a time of bitter ideological and policy battles when the vibrant social movements of the 1960s and 1970s were seriously threatened.