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date: 01 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

U.S. women’s peace and anti-war activism grew from their involvement in the abolition and suffrage movements of the nineteenth century, and some have continued to foster women-focused organizations in the twenty-first century. This chapter examines the relationship between the historical development of women’s peace activism and a U.S. political system that frequently excluded women from international relations. Women enlarged the U.S. peace movement’s objectives to include issues of gender, but while some also advocated for racial and class equality, minority activists often faced prejudice and discrimination within the movement. Several tensions in women’s peace activism are explored, including the ideological debate between essentialists and social constructionists about the relationship of gender to war, as well as strategic and tactical debates between proponents of institutional politics and proponents of radical protest tactics. Involvement in this movement helped enhance women’s political and organizing skills and often nourished other activism, especially feminist activism.

Keywords: activism, peace, anti-war movement, gender, women

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