As the 20th century dawned, visionary women from all backgrounds were imagining new worlds. Kirsty Doole reviews Sheila Rowbotham’s history of these movements, groups and individuals
In 1914, Marie Jenny Howe, the creator of the Greenwich Village Heterodoxy Club, said:
Feminism is woman’s struggle for freedom. Its political phase is women’s wish to vote. Its economic phase is woman’s revaluation of outgrown customs and standards… Feminism means more than a changed world. It means a changed psychology, the creation of a new consciousness.
Over the previous 40 years or so, women from all walks of life and on both sides of the Atlantic had been beginning to question their roles in life, the home and society in general, and were starting to imagine ways in which their lives could be improved and how those improvements might be accomplished.
It was a mammoth task, and it is a mammoth project that renowned historian Sheila Rowbotham has taken on in documenting the many and varied imaginings of this “new day”.