This chapter, which examines the issues of gender and women's rights during the Cold War, discusses how the United States and the Soviet Union used the status of women as a measure of national progress. It explains that the United States promoted women's domesticity and consumerism while the Soviet Union maintained that the measure of woman's status was her equality to men, which should be measured in terms of equal pay and the number of women in the workforce. The chapter also discusses the factors that led to the breakdown of the Cold War paradigms for women's rights, and describes how non-aligned countries challenged the early Cold War agenda and worked toward a more nuanced approach to the global improvement of women's status.
In 1939, an Ojibwe woman named Naynaabeak was involved in a conflict that shows some of the complexities that American Indians experienced throughout the history of settler colonialism in the United States. Her family did not live on a reservation, but they were Ojibwe people and tribal citizens and her home and fishing spot were historically Ojibwe places. The complex legal world defined by borders disrupted Naynaabeak’s ability to make a living, and her conflict was simply part of everyday existence for many Ojibwe women. This chapter considers the hurdles that Naynaabeak’s generation overcame in their determination to make a living, and how their efforts to remain on their lands, fishing grounds, forests, hills, and mountains—and especially their sacred places—enabled their descendants to maintain indigenous communities which still exist. The chapter reviews the literature about gender and labor in American Indian history to illuminate its major themes.